Legal Ethics – Special Disabilities of Lawyers and Judicial Ethics

Special Disabilities of Lawyers

            The following persons are prohibited from acquiring property under litigation by reason of the relation of trust or their peculiar control either directly or indirectly and even at a public or judicial auction:

  1. 1.      guardians;
  2. 2.      agents
  3. 3.      administrators
  4. 4.      public officers and employees
  5. 5.      judicial officers and employees
  6. 6.      prosecuting attorneys and lawyers (Art 1491, NCC)
  7. 7.      those specially disqualified by law (Rubias vs. Batilles, 31 SCRA 120)
  • Elements of Article 1491 (Civil Code; Laig vs. CA, 82 SCRA 294)
  1. there must be an attorney-client relationship
  2. the property or interest of the client must be in litigation
  3. the attorney takes part as counsel in the case
  4. the attorney by himself or through another purchases such property or interest during the pendency of the litigation.
  • General Rule: A lawyer may not purchase, even at a public or judicial auction, in person or through the mediation of another, any property or interest involved in any litigation in which he may take part by virtue of his profession. This prohibition is entirely independent of fraud and such need not be alleged or proven.


  1. malpractice on the part of the lawyer and may be disciplined for misconduct
  2. transaction is null and void
  • Exceptions:
  1. property is acquired by lawyer through a contingent fee arrangement
  2. any of the 4 elements of Art. 1491 is missing


Judicial Ethics

  • Sources of Judicial Ethics:
  1. Code of Judicial Conduct
  2. Constitution (Art VIII, Art IX and Art III)
  3. New Civil Code (Articles 9, 20, 27, 32, 35, 739, 1491, 2005, 2035, 2046)
  4. Revised Rules of Court (Rules 71, 135, 137, 139B, 140)
  5. Revised Penal Code (Articles 204, 205, 206, 207)
  6. Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act (RA 3019)
  7. Canons of Judicial Ethics (Adm. Order No. 162)
  8. Code of Professional Responsibility
  9. Judiciary Act of 1948 (RA 296)

10. Judiciary Reorganization Act of 1930 (BP129)

11. Supreme Court Decisions

12. Foreign Decisions

13. Opinions of authorities

14. Other Statutes

15. SC Circulars

  • Court –a board or other tribunal which decides a litigation or contest (Hidalgo v. Manglapus, 64 OG 3189)
  • Judge –a public officer who, by virtue of his office, is clothed with judicial authority, a public officer lawfully appointed to decide litigated questions in accordance with law.
  • De Jure Judge –one who is exercising the office of judge as a matter of right; and officer of a court who has been duly and legally appointed, qualified and whose term has not expired.
  • De Facto Judge –an officer who is not fully vested with all the powers and duties conceded to judges, but is exercising the office of a judge under some color of right.
  • Qualification of Supreme Court Members:
  1. Natural born citizen of the Philippines;
  2. At least 40 years of age;
  3. Must have been at least for 15 years, a judge of a lower court or engaged in the practice of law (Sec 7(2), Art. VIII, 1987 Constitution).



Legal Ethics Reviewer



About Magz

First of all, I am not a lawyer. I'm a graduate of AB Political Science and went to the College of Law but stopped going to law school for some reasons. I'm a passionate teacher who has been teaching English to speakers of other languages and a person who likes writing and blogging. I lost some important files and software when my computer broke down so the reason I created this website is to preserve the notes, reviewers and digests I collected when I was at the law school and at the same time, I want to help out law students who do not have enough time to go and read books in the library.

Posted on January 30, 2012, in Legal Ethics and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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