Book on Legal and Judicial Ethics-Cosico

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LEGAL ETHICSIntroductionThe historical lineage of Rule 6.03 of the Code of Professional Responsibility is instructive. 1 Thus, the history, growth and development of legal ethics in England and other parts of Europe as well as in America are recorded as narrated hereunder. In England and other parts of Europe, ethical standards for lawyers were pervasive in the post-medieval era. The main concern of these standards was directed towards the litigation conduct of lawyers, underscoring the central duty of truth and fairness in litigation as superior to any obligation to the client. On the other hand, the forms of lawyer regulation in the early post-revolutionary America have no marked di!erence with those in England and other parts of Europe. Only three of the traditional core duties can be fairly characterized as pervasive in the formal, positive law of the post-revolutionary period: the duties of litigation fairness, competency and reasonable fees. Toward the end of the nineteenth century, a new form of ethical standards began to guide lawyers in their practice: the bar associations code of legal ethics. The bar codes were detailed ethical standards serving as guide for lawyers. In the Philippines, the Canons of Professional Ethics, based on the American version, was adopted in 1917 upon recommendation of the Philippine Bar Association. These Canons served as the ethical compass of lawyers in the Philippines for seven decades. On June 21, 1988, the Philippine Supreme Court promulgated the Code of Professional Responsibility which became the principal source of ethical rules for lawyers in this jurisdiction. Signicantly, the Code ofSee Andrews, Standards of Conduct for lawyers: An 800-year Revolution, 57 SMU l. Rev. 1385 (2004).1

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BOOK ON LEGAL AND JUDICIAL ETHICS

Professional Responsibility is not only a signicant contribution of the Supreme Court in the growth, development and improvement of legal education but also a signicant milestone towards the growth, development and improvement of legal ethics in the Philippines.

DenitionLegal Ethics is dened as that branch of moral science which treats of the duties which a member of the legal profession owes to the public, to the court, to his professional brethren, and to his client.2

Nature and scope of legal ethicsAs a member of the legal profession, the lawyer is burdened with duties and responsibilities. First and foremost, a lawyer is an o"cer of the court. He is part of the machinery for the administration of justice.3 As a vanguard of our legal system, the lawyer is expected to maintain not only legal prociency but also a high standard of morality, honesty, integrity and fair dealing. In so doing, the peoples faith and condence in the judicial and legal system is ensured.4 He must at all times faithfully perform his duties to society, to the bar, to the courts and to their clients. (Ibid.) Membership in the legal profession is a privilege and it demands a high degree of good moral character, not only as a condition precedent to admission, but also as a continuing requirement for the practice of law. (Ibid.) Hence, at all times a lawyer is bound by ethical principles in his public and private life.5 The rules which govern the ethical behavior of a lawyer are as follows: 1. 2.2

The Philippine Constitution (Sec. 5, Art. VIII); The Rules of Court (Rules 137-139 A and B);

Blacks Law Dictionary 894 (6th ed.). Fudot v. Cattleya Land, Inc. 570 SCRA 86 (2008). 4 Yu v. Palana, 558 SCRA 21 (2008). 5 Mangahas v. Court of Appeals, 566 SCRA 373 (2008).3

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LEGAL ETHICS

3. 4. 5. 6. 7.

The Civil Code; Special Statutes; The Code of Professional Responsibility; The New Code of Judicial Conduct; and Supreme Court decisions.

Included in No.6 are the Canons of Judicial Ethics adopted in 1936 with the birth of the Philippine Republic and the 1989 Code of Judicial Conduct inspired by the American Bar Associations Code of Judicial Conduct. On the other hand, included in No. 7 are Supreme Court orders and circulars which must be followed by all members of the legal profession. The legal profession is a necessity in a democratic country like the Philippines. In our jurisdiction, the rights of individuals are determined in accordance with laws and established principles. For an orderly administration of justice, persons knowledgeable in substantive and procedural law must handle cases in court. Although an ordinary layman has the right to defend his case in a court of law or tribunal, he is not knowledgeable in law and procedure and may be taken advantaged of by his adversary who is a lawyer. Thus, courts ordinarily advise a litigant to engage the services of an experienced practicing lawyer.

The Legal Profession is not a trade or businessTime and again, lawyers are reminded that the practice of law is a profession and not a business. Lawyers should not advertise their talents as merchants advertise their wares.6 In our jurisdiction, lawyers are prohibited from soliciting cases for the purpose of gain, either personally or through paid agents or brokers, an actuation which constitutes malpractice, a ground for disbarment. (Ibid.) Ambulance chasing is likewise abhorred in our jurisdiction. Ambulance chasing is the solicitation of almost any kind of legal6

Linsangan v. Tolentino, 598 SCRA 133 (2009).

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Book on Legal and Judicial Ethics

Justice Rodrigo V. CosicoRetired Associate Justice, Court of Appeals Associate Dean, University of Perpetual Help Rizal Professorial Lecturer, Philippine Judicial Academy (PHILJA) Professor, San Beda College Alabang, Law School

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856 Nicanor Reyes, Sr. St. Tel. Nos. 736-05-67 735-13-64 1977 C.M. Recto Avenue Tel. Nos. 735-55-27 735-55-34 Manila, Philippines www.rexpublishing.com.ph i

Philippine Copyright 2011 by

RODRIGO V. COSICO ISBN 978-971-23-6071-8No portion of this book may be copied or reproduced in books, pamphlets, outlines or notes, whether printed, mimeographed, typewritten, copied in different electronic devices or in any other form, for distribution or sale, without the written permission of the author except brief passages in books, articles, reviews, legal papers, and judicial or other ofcial proceedings with proper citation. Any copy of this book without the corresponding number and the signature of the author on this page either proceeds from an illegitimate source or is in possession of one who has no authority to dispose of the same. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED No. _______________ISBN 978-971-23-6071-8

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Republic of the Philippines

Supreme CourtManila

FOREWORDThe new Book on Legal Ethics (Part I) and Judicial Ethics (Part II) authored by retired Associate Justice RODRIGO V. COSICO of the Court of Appeals is a welcome addition to the wealth of law books and legal reading materials published in the Philippines. This new book will serve the needs not only of the present crop of law students and bar reviewees but also legal practitioners and trial court judges. The history of Legal Ethics in the Philippines dates back to 1917 when the Canons of Professional Ethics, based on the American version, were adopted upon the recommendation of the Philippine Bar Association. These Canons served as the ethical compass of lawyers in the Philippines for seven decades. On June 21, 1988, the Philippine Supreme Court promulgated the Code of Professional Responsibility which became the principal source of ethical rules for lawyers in this jurisdiction. Signicantly, the Code of Professional Responsibility is not only a signicant milestone towards the growth, development and improvement of Legal Education but also a signicant milestone towards the growth, development and improvement of Legal Ethics in the country. On the other hand, the historical lineage of Judicial Ethics can be traced back to the birth of the Philippine Republic in 1946 when the Department of Justice, which iii

had jurisdiction then over all judges adopted the Canons of Judicial Ethics prepared by the Philippine Bar Association but still based on the American version. This was followed four decades later by the 1989 Code of Judicial Conduct. The New Code of Judicial Conduct which became effective on June 1, 2004 is now the prevailing Code of Judicial Conduct as it has superseded the Canons of Judicial Ethics and the 1989 Code of Judicial Conduct. The New Code was adopted by the Supreme Court in response to the clamor for a universal code of judicial conduct. The history of the New Code of Judicial Conduct dates back to November 22-26, 2002 when the Round Table Meeting of Chief Justice was held at the Peace Palace, the Hague, at which the Philippine Supreme Court was represented by former Chief Justice Hilario G. Davide, Jr. and then Senior Associate Justice Reynato C. Puno. After deliberation, the Bangalore Draft of the Code of Judicial Conduct was adopted and following renements in the Philippines, the New Code of Judicial Conduct was nally adopted by the Supreme Court en banc. Having been a professor of law teaching Legal Ethics and Legal Profession in San Beda College of Law, Alabang School of Law, since 2005, retired Justice Rodrigo V. Cosico is an authority on Legal Ethics. Likewise, having served the judiciary for 21 long years and being a lecturer of the Philippine Judicial Academy (PHILJA) on the Code of Judicial Conduct, the author is the best available authority we can commission to write on Judicial Ethics. June 1, 2011.

RENATO C. CORONA Chief Justice

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REVELA OCULOS MEOS, ET CONSIDERABO MIRABILIA DE LEGE TUA

OFFICE OF THE DEAN 1 July 2011

FOREWORDThe study of