Basic Legal and Judicial EthicsQuiz and Finals
1. What is the obligation of a lawyer who withdraws or is discharged by the court?
According to Rule 22.02, a lawyer who withdraws or is discharged shall, subject to a retainer lien, immediately turn over all papers and property to which the client is entitled, and shall cooperate with his successor in the orderly transfer of the matter, including all information necessary for the proper handling of the matter.
(pp. 28-29, Rule 22.02, Two concepts of attorneys fees)
2. When may a lawyer decline to accept a case? If the case is not meritorious, what should the lawyer do or advise his client?
A lawyer may decline to accept a case if it will violate his oath as a lawyer such as when a conflict of interest exists. If the case is not meritorious, the lawyer should be candid enough to his client and should decline the case. He should instead advise the litigant to settle the case.
(p. 29, Duty to decline a case)
3. When is there misrepresentation of conflicting interest?
There is representation of conflicting interests if the acceptance of a new retainer will require the lawyer to do anything which will injuriously affect his first client on any matter which he represents.
(p. 30, Appearing for conflicting interests)
4. What is the confidentiality rule in a client-attorney relationship and what is its coverage and duration?
The rule is that, without his clients consent, a lawyer cannot divulge any confidential information made by his client to him in the course of his employment as counsel. The prohibition covers his secretary, stenographer, or clerk (or even his driver.) The duration of prohibition is perpetual. It lasts even after the termination of the case and even after the death of his client.
(p. 31, Preservation of clients confidential information)
5. What is the rule on termination of attorney-client relationship?
The client has right to terminate or discharge his attorney at any time with or without cause. The right of the client to terminate or discharge his lawyer is based on trust and confidence. A lawyer is aware that he can be discharged by his client at any stage of the proceedings at any time the client loses his confidence in him. The rule is based on the principle of a personal and highly confidential nature of relationship of the attorney and the client. The only limitation of the right of the client to discharge his lawyer is the payment of services rendered by the lawyer.
On the other hand, the lawyer may terminate his relationship with his client only for good cause as enumerated under Rule 22.01 of the Code of Professional Responsibility. (pp. 31-32, Termination of attorney-client relationship)
6. What is quantum meruit? When does it apply?
Quantum meruit is a basis for determining the amount of service fees. Quantum meruit means much as what the lawyer deserves to be paid. It applies in the following cases:
a. when there is no express contract;b. the contract is for unconscionable amount;c. the contract is void; or,d. the lawyer did not finish the case.
(p.33, Quantum meruit)
7. What are the kinds of liabilities of a lawyer? When may a lawyer be held criminally liable?
In the performance of his duties, the lawyer can be held liable civilly and criminally, as well as administratively, for various acts.
Lawyers are criminally liable, under Arts. 208 and 209 of the Revised Penal Code, for dereliction of duty and betrayal of public trust.They are also liable for knowingly introducing falsified documents in a judicial proceeding under Art. 172 of the Revised Penal Code;and for estafa for misappropriating the funds of their clients.
(p. 35, Liabilities of the lawyer)
8. What is contempt of court? What are the kinds of contempt of court? Define each of them.
Contempt of court means the power to punish for contempt against any lawyer or person for gross disrespect of the court, open defiance of court order, or obstruction of justice. The lawyer runs the risk of being held liable for contempt of court in the performance of his duties.
Contempt of court may either be direct or indirect.
Direct contempt, or contempt in facie curiae, is misbehavior committed in the presence of or so near a court or judge so as to obstruct or interrupt the proceedings before the same, including disrespect toward the court, and can be punished summarily without hearing, as in the case of Encinas v. National Bookstore, Inc. 464 SCRA 572 .
An indirect contempt of court is an act committed outside the court such as disobedience to lawful court order or tending to degrade or obstruct administration of justice. In such a case, the lawyer is given a chance to defend himself in a hearing held for the purpose.
On the other hand, civil contempt is committed by a lawyer by his failure to do something ordered by the court which is for the benefit of a party. And criminal contempt consists of any conduct directed against the authority or dignity of the court.
(pp. 35-36, Contempt of Court)
9. What is the IBP? Is membership in the IBP mandatory or discretionary?
The IBP is an official unification of the entire lawyer population in order that all persons admitted to the practice of law shall comply with their duties under their oath. Membership in the IBP is mandatory.
(p. 38, IBP membership)
10. What are the MCLE requirements of completion?
Members of the IBP, unless exempted under Rule 7, shall complete, every three years, at least 36 hours of continuing legal education activities.
(p.43, Requirements of Completion of MCLE)
11. Is a law or professor who has teaching experience for 9 years exempt from the MCLE requirements of completion?
No. Under Rule 7, to be exempted from the MCLE, incumbent deans, bar reviewers, and professors of law need to have teaching experience of at least 10 years in accredited law schools.
(p.43, Requirements of Completion of MCLE)
12. What is now the prevailing 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.
(p. 50, Introduction)
13. Is the filing of an administrative case against a judge a ground for disqualification on the ground of bias and prejudice?
No, the mere filing of an administrative case against a judge is not a ground for disqualification on the ground of bias and prejudice, according to the cases of Aparicio v. Andal (175 SCRA 569 ) and Mantaring v. Roman, Jr. (254 SCRA 158 .)
(p. 58, Canon 3, Sec. 5)
14. A judge did not recuse herself in a criminal case where the accused was her brother-in-law because the accused became her brother-in-law after the case had been submitted for decision. Did the judge violate the rule on compulsory disqualification?
Yes, a judge violated the rule on compulsory disqualification when she did not recuse herself in a criminal case where the accused was her brother-in-law even if only after the case had been submitted for decision that the accused became her brother-in-law, according to the case of Ubarra v. Mapalad (220 SCRA 226.)
Canon 4, Section 4 states that judges shall not participate in the determination of a case in which any member of their family represents a litigant or is associated in any manner with the case.
(p. 61, Canon 4, Sec. 4)
15. On the occasion of the birthday of Judge Cruz, a neighbour, Mr. Tamayo, gave the former a birthday cake as a sign of friendship. Will judge Cruz violate any rule or law if he accepts the birthday cake of Mr. Tamayo? Please explain your answer.
No, Judge Cruz will not violate any rule or law if he accepts the birthday cake of Mr. Tamayo because Canon 4, Section 15 allows judges to accept token gifts, awards, or benefits when given as a consequence of a special occasion.
(p. 64, Canon 4, Sec. 15)
16. Are gifts in the nature of scholarship or fellowship grant by foreign countries allowed in the Philippines?
Yes, Sec. 7(d) of RA No. 6173 allows gifts from foreign countries in the nature of scholarships, fellowship grants, or medical treatments, among others, if their acceptance is consistent with the interest of the Philippines, and permitted by the head office, branch, or agency to which the judge belongs.
(p. 64, Canon 4, Sec. 15)
17. Are judges liable for every erroneous order or decision they render? What are sufficient defences to charges of ignorance of the law?
No, judges are not liable for every erroneous order or decision; otherwise, the judicial office becomes unbearable and they will be the objects of endless harassment, as in the case of Dantes v. Caguioa (461 SCRA 236, 245 .)
Good faith and absence of malice or corruption are sufficient defenses to charges of ignorance of the law, according to the case of Chan v. Lantion (468 SCRA 37 .)
(p. 68, Canon 6, Sec. 3)
18. What are the two principal sources of international law?
The Constitution incorporates the two principal sources of international law: general or customary norms, and conventional norms. Subject to conditions set forth in the fundamental law, both customary and conventional norms of international law are part of Philippine law.
(p. 68, Canon 6, Sec. 4)