Legal Ethics Chapter III – The Lawyer and the Courts
The Lawyer and the Courts
CANON 10 – A Lawyer owes candor, fairness and good faith to the court.
Rule 10.01 – A lawyer shall not do any falsehood, nor consent to the doing of any in court; nor shall he mislead or allow the court to be mislead by any artifice.
Rule 10.02 – A lawyer shall not knowingly misquote or misrepresent the contents of the paper, the language or the argument of opposing counsel, or the text of a decision of authority, or knowingly cite as law a provision already rendered inoperative by repeal or amendment, or assert as a fact that which has not been approved.
Rule 10.03 – A lawyer shall observe the rules of procedure and shall not misuse them to defeat the ends of justice.
- Judge-lawyer relationship: based on independence and self-respect.
- Lawyer’s duty to the court:
- respect and loyalty
- fairness, truth and candor
- no attempt to influence courts
- Cases of falsehood:
- stating in the Deed of Sale that property is free from all liens and encumbrances when not so
- encashing check payable to a deceased cousin by signing the latter’s name on the check
- falsifying a power of attorney and using it in collecting the money due to the principal
- alleging in one pleading that the clients were mere lessees and in another pleading that the same clients were owners
- presenting falsified documents in court which he knows to be false
- filing false charges on groundless suits
- using in pleadings the IBP number of another lawyer
- unsolicited appearances
- use of fictitious residence certificate
- citing a repealed or amended provision
- asserting a fact not proved
- verbatim reproductions down to the last word and punctuation mark
- slight typo mistake: not sufficient to place him in contempt
CANON 11 – A lawyer shall observe and maintain the respect due to the courts and to judicial officers and should insist on similar conduct by others.
Rule 11.01 – A lawyer shall appear in court properly attired.
- A lawyer may NOT wear outlandish or colorful clothing to court.
- As an officer of the court and in order to maintain the dignity and respectability of the legal profession, a lawyer who appears in court must be properly attired. Consequently, the court can hold a lawyer IN CONTEMPT of court if he does not appear in proper attire. Any deviation from the commonly accepted norm of dressing in court (barong or tie, not both) is enough to warrant a citing for contempt.
Rule 11.02 – A lawyer shall punctually appear at court hearings.
Rule 11.03 – A lawyer shall abstain from scandalous, offensive, or menacing language or behavior before the courts.
Rule 11.04 – A lawyer shall not attribute to a judge motives not supported by the record or having no materiality to the case.
Rule 11.05 – A lawyer shall submit grievances against a judge to the proper authorities already.
- A lawyer is an officer of the court. He occupies a quasi-judicial office with a tripartite obligation to the courts, to the public and to his clients.
- The public duties of the attorney take precedence over his private duties. His first duty is to the courts. Where duties to the courts conflict with his duties to his clients, the latter must yield to the former.
- Lawyers must be respectful not only in actions but also in the use of language whether in oral arguments or in pleadings.
- Must exert efforts that others (including clients, witnesses) shall deal with the courts and judicial officers with respect.
- Obedience to court orders and processes.
- Criticisms of courts must not spill the walls of decency. There is a wide difference between fair criticism and abuse and slander of courts and judges. Intemperate and unfair criticism is a gross violation of the duty to respect the courts. It amounts to misconduct which subjects the lawyer to disciplinary action.
- A mere disclaimer of any intentional disrespect by appellant is not a ground for exoneration. His intent must be determined by a fair interpretation of the languages employed by him. He cannot escape responsibility by claiming that his words did not mean what any reader must have understood them to mean.
- Lawyer can demand that the misbehavior of a judge be put on record.
- Lawyers must be courageous enough to expose arbitrariness and injustice of courts and judges.
- A lawyer may submit grievances against judges in the Supreme Court, Ombudsman, or Congress (for impeachment of SC judges only).
CANON 12 – A lawyer shall exert every effort and consider it his duty to assist in the speedy and efficient administration of justice.
Rule 12.01 – A lawyer shall not appear for trial unless he has adequately prepared himself with the law and the facts of his case, the evidence he will adduce and the order of its preference. He should also be ready with the original documents for comparison with the copies.
- Newly hired counsel: must acquaint himself with all the antecedent proceedings and processes that have transpired in the record prior to his takeover.
- If presenting documentary exhibits, he must be ready with the originals for the purpose of comparison with copies thereof.
Rule 12.02 – A lawyer shall not file multiple actions arising from the same cause.
- Forum shopping – omission to disclose pendency of appeal or prior dismissal of his case by a court of concurrent jurisdiction.
- Forum shopping exists when as a result of an adverse opinion in one forum:
- a party seeks favorable opinion (other than by appeal or certiorari) in another; or
- when he institutes two or more actions or proceedings grounded on the same cause, on the gamble that one or the other would make a favorable disposition (Benguet Electric Corp. vs. Flores, 287 SCRA 449, March 12, 1998).
- The most important factor in determining the existence of forum-shopping is the VEXATION caused the courts and party-litigants by a party who asks different courts to rule on the same related causes, asking the same relief.
- Forum shopping constitutes DIRECT CONTEMPT of court and may subject the offending lawyer to disciplinary action.
Rule 12.03 – A lawyer shall not, after obtaining extensions of time to file pleadings, memoranda or briefs, let the period lapse without submitting the same or offering an explanation for his failure to do so.
- Asking for extension of time must be in good faith.
Rule 12.04 – A lawyer shall not unduly delay a case, impede the execution of a judgment or misuse court processes.
Rule 12.05 – A lawyer shall refrain from talking to his witness during a break or recess in the trial, while the witness is still under examination.
Rule 12.06 – A lawyer shall not knowingly assist a witness to misrepresent himself or to impersonate another.
Rule 12.07 – A lawyer shall not abuse, browbeat or harass a witness nor needlessly inconvenience him.
Rights and obligations of a witness – a witness must answer questions, although his answer may tend to establish a claim against him. However, it is the right of a witness:
- to be protected from irrelevant, improper, or insulting questions and from harsh or insulting demeanor;
- not to be detained longer than the interest of justice requires;
- not to be examined except only as to matters pertinent to the issue;
- not to give any answer which will tend to subject him to a penalty for an offense unless otherwise provided by law, or
- nor to give answer which will tend to degrade his reputation, unless it be to the very fact at issue or to a fact from which the fact in issue would be presumed. But a witness must answer to the fact of his previous final conviction for an offense. (Rule 132, Sec. 3, RRC)
Rule 12.08 – A lawyer shall avoid testifying in behalf of his client, except:
- a. on formal matters, such as the mailing, authentication or custody of an instrument and the like:
- b. on substantial matters, in cases where his testimony is essential to the ends of justice, in which event he must, during his testimony, entrust the trial of the case to another counsel.
CANON 13 – A lawyer shall rely upon the merits of his cause and refrain from any impropriety which tends to influence, or gives the appearance of influencing the court.
Rule 13.01 – A lawyer shall not extend extraordinary attention or hospitality to, nor seek opportunity for, cultivating familiarity with judges.
Rule 13.02 – A lawyer shall not make public statements in the media regarding a pending case tending to arouse public opinion for or against a party.
Rule 13.03 – A lawyer shall not brook or invite interference by another branch or agency of the government in the normal course of judicial proceedings.
- The judge has the corresponding duty not to convey or permit others to convey the impression that they are in a special position to influence the judge.
- Discussing cases with the judge privately should be avoided.
- Test when public statement is contemptuous: The character of the act done and its direct tendency to prevent and obstruct the discharge of official duty.
- To warrant a finding of “prejudicial publicity”, there must be an allegation and proof that the judges have been unduly influenced, not simply that they might be, by the “barrage” of publicity.
- Lawyer is equally guilty as the client if he induces the latter to cause the publicity.
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Posted on January 30, 2012, in Legal Ethics and tagged Legal Ethics Chapter III - The Lawyer and the Courts. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.