Free Legal Advice Philippines

Disclaimer: This web site is designed for general information only and does not create attorney-client relationship. Persons accessing this site are encouraged to seek independent counsel for legal advice regarding their individual legal issues.

Log in

I forgot my password




You are not connected. Please login or register

PROPOSED RULE ON MANDATORY LEGAL AID SERVICE FOR PRACTICING LAWYERS

View previous topic View next topic Go down  Message [Page 1 of 1]

Ponente


Arresto Menor
Republic of the Philippines
SUPREME COURT
Manila

B.M. No. 2012 February 10, 2009


PROPOSED RULE ON MANDATORY LEGAL AID SERVICE FOR PRACTICING LAWYERS


[center]RULE ON MANDATORY LEGAL AID SERVICE


[ALIGN=right]SECTION 1. Title. - This Rule shall be known as "The Rule on Mandatory Legal Aid Service."

SECTION 2. Purpose. - This Rule seeks to enhance the duty of lawyers to society as agents of social change and to the courts as officers thereof by helping improve access to justice by the less privileged members of society and expedite the resolution of cases involving them. Mandatory free legal service by members of the bar and their active support thereof will aid the efficient and effective administration of justice especially in cases involving indigent and pauper litigants.

SECTION 3. Scope. - This Rule shall govern the mandatory requirement for practicing lawyers to render free legal aid services in all cases (whether, civil, criminal or administrative) involving indigent and pauper litigants where the assistance of a lawyer is needed. It shall also govern the duty of other members of the legal profession to support the legal aid program of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines.

SECTION 4. Definition of Terms. - For purposes of this Rule:

(a) Practicing lawyers are members of the Philippine Bar who appear for and in behalf of parties in courts of law and quasi-judicial agencies, including but not limited to the National Labor Relations Commission, National Conciliation and Mediation Board, Department of Labor and Employment Regional Offices, Department of Agrarian Reform Adjudication Board and National Commission for Indigenous Peoples. The term "practicing lawyers" shall exclude:

(i) Government employees and incumbent elective officials not allowed by law to practice;

(ii) Lawyers who by law are not allowed to appear in court;

(iii) Supervising lawyers of students enrolled in law student practice in duly accredited legal clinics of law schools and lawyers of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and peoples� organizations (POs) like the Free Legal Assistance Group who by the nature of their work already render free legal aid to indigent and pauper litigants and

(iv) Lawyers not covered under subparagraphs (i) to (iii) including those who are employed in the private sector but do not appear for and in behalf of parties in courts of law and quasi-judicial agencies.

(b) Indigent and pauper litigants are those defined under Rule 141, Section 19 of the Rules of Court and Algura v. The Local Government Unit of the City of Naga (G.R. No.150135, 30 October 2006, 506 SCRA 81);

(c) Legal aid cases are those actions, disputes, and controversies that are criminal, civil and administrative in nature in whatever stage wherein indigent and pauper litigants need legal representation;

(d) Free legal aid services refer to appearance in court or quasi-judicial body for and in behalf of an indigent or pauper litigant and the preparation of pleadings or motions. It shall also cover assistance by a practicing lawyer to indigent or poor litigants in court-annexed mediation and in other modes of alternative dispute resolution (ADR). Services rendered when a practicing lawyer is appointed counsel de oficio shall also be considered as free legal aid services and credited as compliance under this Rule;

(e) Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) is the official national organization of lawyers in the country;

(f) National Committee on Legal Aid (NCLA) is the committee of the IBP which is specifically tasked with handling legal aid cases;

(g) Committee on Bar Discipline (CBD) is the committee of the IBP which is specifically tasked with disciplining members of the Bar;

(h) IBP Chapters are those chapters of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines located in the different geographical areas of the country as defined in Rule 139-A and

(i) Clerk of Court is the Clerk of Court of the court where the practicing lawyer rendered free legal aid services. In the case of quasi-judicial bodies, it refers to an officer holding an equivalent or similar position.

The term shall also include an officer holding a similar position in agencies exercising quasi-judicial functions, or a responsible officer of an accredited PO or NGO, or an accredited mediator who conducted the court-annexed mediation proceeding.

SECTION 5. Requirements. -

(a) Every practicing lawyer is required to render a minimum of sixty (60) hours of free legal aid services to indigent litigants in a year. Said 60 hours shall be spread within a period of twelve (12) months, with a minimum of five (5) hours of free legal aid services each month. However, where it is necessary for the practicing lawyer to render legal aid service for more than five (5) hours in one month, the excess hours may be credited to the said lawyer for the succeeding periods.

For this purpose, a practicing lawyer shall coordinate with the Clerk of Court for cases where he may render free legal aid service. He may also coordinate with the IBP Legal Aid Chairperson of the IBP Chapter to inquire about cases where he may render free legal aid service. In this connection, the IBP Legal Aid Chairperson of the IBP Chapter shall regularly and actively coordinate with the Clerk of Court.

The practicing lawyer shall report compliance with the requirement within ten (10) days of the last month of each quarter of the year.

(b) A practicing lawyer shall be required to secure and obtain a certificate from the Clerk of Court attesting to the number of hours spent rendering free legal aid services in a case.

The certificate shall contain the following information:

(i) The case or cases where the legal aid service was rendered, the party or parties in the said case(s) for whom the service was rendered, the docket number of the said case(s) and the date(s) the service was rendered.

(ii) The number of hours actually spent attending a hearing or conducting trial on a particular case in the court or quasi-judicial body.

(iii) The number of hours actually spent attending mediation, conciliation or any other mode of ADR on a particular case.

(iv) A motion (except a motion for extension of time to file a pleading or for postponement of hearing or conference) or pleading filed on a particular case shall be considered as one (1) hour of service.

The Clerk of Court shall issue the certificate in triplicate, one (1) copy to be retained by the practicing lawyer, one (1) copy to be retained by the Clerk of Court and one (1) copy to be attached to the lawyer's compliance report.

(c) Said compliance report shall be submitted to the Legal Aid Chairperson of the IBP Chapter within the court�s jurisdiction. The Legal Aid Chairperson shall then be tasked with immediately verifying the contents of the certificate with the issuing Clerk of Court by comparing the copy of the certificate attached to the compliance report with the copy retained by the Clerk of Court.

(d) The IBP Chapter shall, after verification, issue a compliance certificate to the concerned lawyer. The IBP Chapter shall also submit the compliance reports to the IBP�s NCLA for recording and documentation. The submission shall be made within forty-five (45) days after the mandatory submission of compliance reports by the practicing lawyers.

(e) Practicing lawyers shall indicate in all pleadings filed before the courts or quasi-judicial bodies the number and date of issue of their certificate of compliance for the immediately preceding compliance period. Failure to disclose the required information would cause the dismissal of the case and the expunction of the pleadings from the records.

(f) Before the end of a particular year, lawyers covered by the category under Section 4(a)(i) and (ii), shall fill up a form prepared by the NCLA which states that, during that year, they are employed with the government or incumbent elective officials not allowed by law to practice or lawyers who by law are not allowed to appear in court.

The form shall be sworn to and submitted to the IBP Chapter or IBP National Office together with the payment of an annual contribution of Two Thousand Pesos (P2,000). Said contribution shall accrue to a special fund of the IBP for the support of its legal aid program.

(g) Before the end of a particular year, lawyers covered by the category under Section 4(a)(iii) shall secure a certification from the director of the legal clinic or of the concerned NGO or PO to the effect that, during that year, they have served as supervising lawyers in a legal clinic or actively participated in the NGO�s or PO�s free legal aid activities. The certification shall be submitted to the IBP Chapter or IBP National Office.

(h) Before the end of a particular year, lawyers covered by the category under Section 4(a)(iv) shall fill up a form prepared by the NCLA which states that, during that year, they are neither practicing lawyers nor covered by Section (4)(a)(i) to (iii). The form shall be sworn to and submitted to the IBP Chapter or IBP National Office together with the payment of an annual contribution of Four Thousand Pesos (P4,000) by way of support for the efforts of practicing lawyers who render mandatory free legal aid services. Said contribution shall accrue to a special fund of the IBP for the support of its legal aid program.

(i) Failure to pay the annual contribution shall subject the lawyer to a penalty of Two Thousand Pesos (P2,000) for that year which amount shall also accrue to the special fund for the legal aid program of the IBP.

SECTION 6. NCLA. -

(a) The NCLA shall coordinate with the various legal aid committees of the IBP local chapters for the proper handling and accounting of legal aid cases which practicing lawyers can represent.

(b) The NCLA shall monitor the activities of the Chapter of the Legal Aid Office with respect to the coordination with Clerks of Court on legal aid cases and the collation of certificates submitted by practicing lawyers.

(c) The NCLA shall act as the national repository of records in compliance with this Rule.

(d) The NCLA shall prepare the following forms: certificate to be issued by the Clerk of Court and forms mentioned in Section 5(e) and (g).

(e) The NCLA shall hold in trust, manage and utilize the contributions and penalties that will be paid by lawyers pursuant to this Rule to effectively carry out the provisions of this Rule. For this purpose, it shall annually submit an accounting to the IBP Board of Governors.

The accounting shall be included by the IBP in its report to the Supreme Court in connection with its request for the release of the subsidy for its legal aid program.

SECTION 7. Penalties. -

(a) At the end of every calendar year, any practicing lawyer who fails to meet the minimum prescribed 60 hours of legal aid service each year shall be required by the IBP, through the NCLA, to explain why he was unable to render the minimum prescribed number of hours. If no explanation has been given or if the NCLA finds the explanation unsatisfactory, the NCLA shall make a report and recommendation to the IBP Board of Governors that the erring lawyer be declared a member of the IBP who is not in good standing. Upon approval of the NCLA�s recommendation, the IBP Board of Governors shall declare the erring lawyer as a member not in good standing. Notice thereof shall be furnished the erring lawyer and the IBP Chapter which submitted the lawyer�s compliance report or the IBP Chapter where the lawyer is registered, in case he did not submit a compliance report. The notice to the lawyer shall include a directive to pay Four Thousand Pesos (P4,000) penalty which shall accrue to the special fund for the legal aid program of the IBP.

(b) The "not in good standing" declaration shall be effective for a period of three (3) months from the receipt of the erring lawyer of the notice from the IBP Board of Governors. During the said period, the lawyer cannot appear in court or any quasi-judicial body as counsel. Provided, however, that the "not in good standing" status shall subsist even after the lapse of the three-month period until and unless the penalty shall have been paid.

(c) Any lawyer who fails to comply with his duties under this Rule for at least three (3) consecutive years shall be the subject of disciplinary proceedings to be instituted motu proprio by the CBD. The said proceedings shall afford the erring lawyer due process in accordance with the rules of the CBD and Rule 139-B of the Rules of Court. If found administratively liable, the penalty of suspension in the practice of law for one (1) year shall be imposed upon him.

(d) Any lawyer who falsifies a certificate or any form required to be submitted under this Rule or any contents thereof shall be administratively charged with falsification and dishonesty and shall be subject to disciplinary action by the CBD. This is without prejudice to the filing of criminal charges against the lawyer.

(e) The falsification of a certificate or any contents thereof by any Clerk of Court or by any Chairperson of the Legal Aid Committee of the IBP local chapter where the case is pending or by the Director of a legal clinic or responsible officer of an NGO or PO shall be a ground for an administrative case against the said Clerk of Court or Chairperson. This is without prejudice to the filing of the criminal and administrative charges against the malfeasor.

SECTION 8. Credit for Mandatory Continuing Legal Education (MCLE). - A lawyer who renders mandatory legal aid service for the required number of hours in a year for the three year-period covered by a compliance period under the Rules on MCLE shall be credited the following: two (2) credit units for legal ethics, two (2) credit units for trial and pretrial skills, two (2) credit units for alternative dispute resolution, four (4) credit units for legal writing and oral advocacy, four (4) credit units for substantive and procedural laws and jurisprudence and six (6) credit units for such subjects as may be prescribed by the MCLE Committee under Section 2(9), Rule 2 of the Rules on MCLE.

A lawyer who renders mandatory legal aid service for the required number of hours in a year for at least two consecutive years within the three year-period covered by a compliance period under the Rules on MCLE shall be credited the following: one (1) credit unit for legal ethics, one (1) credit unit for trial and pretrial skills, one (1) credit unit for alternative dispute resolution, two (2) credit units for legal writing and oral advocacy, two (2) credit units for substantive and procedural laws and jurisprudence and three (3) credit units for such subjects as may be prescribed by the MCLE Committee under Section 2(g), Rule 2 of the Rules on MCLE.

SECTION 9. Implementing Rules. - The IBP, through the NCLA, is hereby given authority to recommend implementing regulations in determining who are "practicing lawyers," what constitute "legal aid cases" and what administrative procedures and financial safeguards which may be necessary and proper in the implementation of this rule may be prescribed. It shall coordinate with the various legal chapters in the crafting of the proposed implementing regulations and, upon approval by the IBP Board of Governors, the said implementing regulations shall be transmitted to the Supreme Court for final approval.

SECTION 10. Effectivity. - This Rule and its implementing rules shall take effect on July 1,2009 after they have been published in two (2) newspapers of general circulation.

View user profile

Ponente


Arresto Menor
By now, we should have heard of this new rule of our beloved Supreme Court, which mandates us to render free legal service. I cannot question the noble intentions of the proponent of this rule except for its practicality.

While it may be true that pauper litigants need more access to free legal service. I believe this new rule will only clogged the courts with more cases, anticipating that lawyers will be in such haste to comply. Further, this might as well defeat the purpose of mediation proceedings considering that lawyers will be more interested in FILING cases in order to comply than do mediation. Take note we should FILE cases and APPEAR in court as required by this new rule.

This rule will also put modest lawyers, (particulary in the provinces) in disadvantage since they will be spending their own money to reach out to pauper litigants in other areas, moreso if there not just enough litigants in their area of practice. This might also amount to involuntary servitude.

Moreover, this wil create more expenses since we already have to comply with MCLE.

My opinion is that we should rather invest in PAO and create more decent courts. Invest in facilities and personnel and minimize corruption. Unified and simple rules for lawyers.

My point is that we should first comply with the basics before we dwell on these gobbledygook rules.

You can check the ff: for more varied reactions (incl. mine): http://attyatwork.com/rule-on-mandatory-legal-aid-service-issued-by-supreme-court/#more-870

Your reactions.

View user profile

prettylaw


Arresto Mayor
I like the idea but Id rather spend my time at this site giving free legal advice

View user profile

b_9904


Prision Correccional
madaming issues pala yung mandatory legal aid service eh.

maybe someone needs to fila a case in court or perhaps try to protest this rule by asking senators to pass a law that would better regulate the whole thing.

i mean, lawyers should instead get incentives (ei: tax breaks) instead of being forced to do this kind of service.

View user profile

attyjonathanpong


Arresto Menor
I think we should raise all our concerns now, before the Rule becomed operative. Once it does, we might be barred from doing so. I think that the rule is unconstitutional because it passes on to us the duty of the state to provide free access to the courts to those who have no means. Moreover, it charges non-practicing lawyers the amount of P4,000.00 each year to support our brethren who provide free legal aid/service. What are we paying taxes for? We already comply with the MCLE requirements, by enrolling in MCLE courses, then now we have to provide what the state should be providing, and pay for it at the same time. Wow!!! Talk about being cooked in your own fat. I hope that ou fellow lawyers realize this soon.

View user profile

attyjonathanpong


Arresto Menor
And, I forgot to add, take note also of the very exorbitant filing fees that we have to pay now not only for civil cases, but criminal cases as well. Where does the money go???!!!!

View user profile

fbsensei


moderator
Personally, I think the intention is noble but the manner of implementing that intention is just flawed. I really hope the SC would take action to amend this rule.

Does anybody have any news if the IBP took action on this issue?

View user profile

Ponente


Arresto Menor
I do also hope that the IBP shoul make a stand this early and not wait for July ( the effectivity date of this rule). I remember, when the Rule mandating our MCLE compliance certificate number to be indicated in pleadings, the IBP took quite a long time to react. It, nevertheless, requested for the suspension ( for several months) of the implementation date of the said rule.

URGENT ATTENTION IBP.

View user profile

Kitty_QT88


Arresto Menor
I agree with what SlaveLawyer commented in http://martelinolaw.wordpress.com/2009/02/25/bar-matter-2012-rule-on-mandatory-legal-aid-service/

"This rule is a Mess!

We’ve discuss this rule- private lawyers, PAO, prosecutors, and even Judges, and all are unanimous- THIS SHOULD NOT BE IMPLEMENTED!

First, the definition of free legal aid service simply means appearance in court, and not just consultation. Yes, the PAO lawyers and prosecutors deal with indigent litigants everyday, and their work cannot be considered as compliance with the rule because they are being paid by the government, hence, not free. If they would comply with this rule, they should do this over and above their government work, and appear on their own time and not on government time.

Second, govt in-house counsels who are not exempted by the rule, and are working mon-fri, 8-5 would comply with the rule by working after office hours or on weekends. And just like the PAO Lawyers/prosecutors, they must also appear in court without pay.

Third, this is purely INVOLUNTARY SERVITUDE. We’ve worked hard to earn our title only to be taken away due non-compliance with the rule by the very court who by law must protect the constitutional right of the citizens of the state.

Fourth, we are now being forced to be ambulance chasers, in defiance of what was taught in legal ethics.

Fifth, the dockets of the court will again be clogged by senseless cases because lawyers will need the docket numbers to comply with his reportorial requirements.

Sixth, by giving an incentive of awarding several units of MCLE, it defeats the very purpose of the MCLE- of keeping lawyers abreast with legal developments.

Seventh, by being mandatory, the compassion to serve indigent litigants out of the goodness of one’s heart will be replaced by half-hearted lawyers whose intention is to simply comply with the rule.

Eight, the seemingly small percentage of practicing lawyers would further shrink by mandating them to comply with the rule.

Ninth, it isn’t really true that lawyers earn filthy amounts of cash. Hence, struggling lawyers would rather shift to another profession, even being a caregiver, since the rule will take away from them their title for failure to comply with the rule.

Tenth, why am I going to pay an annual fee of P2000 when the law itself barred me from appearing in court!!!

As aptly put by one of the bloggers, this rule is simply MALAS! (MAndatory Legal Aid Service)." Embarassed Mad

View user profile

Kitty_QT88


Arresto Menor
This is a good insight regarding free legal service by Atty Teddy Te. Exclamation

http://tedte.multiply.com/journal/item/112

You can't legislate compassion or passion. . . Feb 17, '09 10:37 AM
for everyone

. . . and I'm afraid that BM 2012 proposing a Rule on Mandatory Legal Aid Service for Practising Lawyers will serve only to do the reverse--get everyone so pissed off at the rule that all possible loop holes will be scoured and exploited. In the end, you have half and half of one thing and nothing of the other.

Don't get me wrong--I would be the first to welcome more legal aid lawyers in this country. I have been in free legal aid service since 1991, when I passed the bar and officially (because before then I had been a paralegal) joined FLAG, which merited specific mention in the rule. I continue to render free legal aid and even if I am exempt from this rule because of my membership in FLAG, I would still continue to render free legal aid.

I would be the first to say, however, that free legal aid is not for everyone. There are people that I would not unleash on an unsuspecting and needy public; there are some lawyers I would not trust with anything, let alone life, liberty and property of those already deprived of opportunities and resources.

So while I do welcome the initiative of the Supreme Court to make lawyering more meaningful, I see so much that needs to be clarified or changed in the proposed rule.

1. The proposed rule seeks to cover "practising lawyers" which is defined quite restrictively as only those appearing in courts and quasi-judicial agencies, where appearance includes also filing of pleadings and motions. If this is the case, this would effectively apply only to litigators and not to lawyers engaged in other practice like corporate, tax, alternative, and chamber (joke). As I said, I don't mind but I know other litigators would mind simply because it smacks of discrimination that has no substantial distinctions.

Remember Cayetano v. Monsod? The Court, with many dissents, promulgated a rule that defined "Practice of Law" as understood in relation to the constitutional requirement for the Chair of the COMELEC. In that case, "practice of law" was defined as including even membership in corporate boards and negotiating contracts--which was largely the extent of Christian Monsod's practice. As a result of this Decision, Christian Monsod became a "practising lawyer" as contemplated by the Constitution and also COMELEC Chair.

Are we now to understand that the Cayetano rule is now abandoned in favor of a more restrictive meaning of "practice"? By that token, corporate, tax and alternative lawyers are no longer engaged in "practice of law" because they are not included in "practising lawyers"? So, what are they now? Potted plants?

Before my tax and corporate friends get all het up, I am not proposing to include you in the rule. I think you would be more dangerous in the court room simply because of lack of practice and/or interest and I would prefer that you simply stay in the board room. But because the Rule is so unclear, it is incumbent for the Court to define if you are still engaged in the "practice of law."

There, as the bard would put it, is the rub.

It is not so much involuntary servitude as many would protest but actually incomprehensible discrimination.

I think the Court could have done a better job of defining who are covered by avoiding altogether the phrase "practising lawyers" in view of the Cayetano ruling. Perhaps they could just have directly said "litigators" and expressly excluded corporate and tax lawyers and all those who do not appear in court nor are inclined or qualified to appear in court.

2. It is unclear if an employee or a partner who does not litigate but nonetheless belongs to a firm that does is covered. Again, "practising lawyer" is defined as including the drafting and filing of pleadings and motions. Such pleadings and motions are signed in the name of the firm and not in the names of the partners or associates. If this is the case, should the corporate and tax lawyers be covered by this rule then--as "practising lawyers"?

3. The Rule proposes to punish lawyers who fail to comply by effectively stripping them of license to practice as well as paying a fine of P4,000 which, incidentally, will go to a special fund for the National Committee on Legal Aid of the IBP--I guess "racket" is now spelled differently.

As Mr. Spock would say, "illogical." The Court passes a rule that effectively mandates all litigators to appear in court but would then penalize those who fail to comply with deprivation of license to practice. Du-u-u-h! Instead of providing more lawyers, that lessens the number, right? Where's the logic there?

4. The Rule does not specify minimum qualifications for litigators to render free legal service. As a Judge in Calamba famously said, to his detriment, "not all law schools are created equal." And so too, not all lawyers practice equally well.

I think it is the height of disservice for indigent and poor litigants to be given the ultimate dole out, i.e., petulant, unwilling, coerced and even downright hostile lawyers who not only will drag their feet under this rule but perhaps even, for those who just shouldn't be appearing in court, drag their clients down.

The poor have already been deprived of opportunities, they shouldn't be given less than the best. And that would include lawyers who are unwilling to serve them.

5. Is it just me or is the SC and the IBP actually encouraging solicitation? That is the net effect of this rule--effectively legitimating ambulance chasing. Because lawyers all over the country will now need to comply, they will pound the courts looking for "clients."

It is ironic that the duty to render legal service for free or without consideration is part of the ethical duty of a lawyer but this Rule would effectively court a circumvention of ethics by encouraging solicitation.

6. The poor and indigent are also statistics in the country's economic profile. They do not need to be further objectified and made into yet another set of statistics--this time for lawyers to substantially comply with this rule. But that is what this Rule will do.

I can go on but I won't. I think I have made my point. The rule is far from perfect though the intentions are laudable. But you cannot legislate compassion for another nor passion to serve others. This comes from the heart; and if one's heart is incapable of compassion, then a change of heart must be encouraged. But forcing lawyers to render free legal aid will ensure most certainly resentment, anger, and hostility and the indigent and the poor are not better served by this.

If the Court and the IBP really want to help indigents and also instill better character in lawyers, let me add my depreciated twenty centavos worth--

(1) Make it mandatory in all law schools to teach Legal Ethics; make it a five unit course with a clinical component to observe what judges and justices do.

(2) Make Legal Ethics the FIRST bar exam subject and give it at least a 15% weight not the 2.5% it shares now with Legal Forms.

(3) Scrap Rule 141 as amended, which is the onerous schedule of filing and docket fees for litigants which has led copycats like the DOJ to also collect fees for everything filed with it.

(4) Do not just take the IBP's word for it. Consult with lawyers who practice in the real world. I have been a legal aid lawyer since 1991 and I have been supervising lawyer and Director of OLA and I found out about the rule as everyone did--through the papers. I do not know who they consulted but certainly I never got to put in my two centavos worth.

(5) Give lawyers and the public better and more inspiring examples of lawyering. Walk your talk.

(6) You cannot legislate compassion, you can't force passion. These are caught, not taught. Be good teachers.

May this please the Court . . .

View user profile

disbarred lawyer


Arresto Menor
good thing Im no longer covered by this proposed rule banghead banghead

View user profile

b_9904


Prision Correccional
^ouch... dont say that dude.

sooner or later you'll be covered by the fracking rules. hehehe

View user profile

Ponente


Arresto Menor
Our fear is now a reality. The SC has approved the Proposed Mandatory Legal Aid Service.

See this link: http://sc.judiciary.gov.ph/publications/benchmark/2009/02/020902.php

SC Approves Rule on Mandatory Legal Aid Service

By Jay B. Rempillo



Effective July 1, every practicing lawyer will be mandated to render a minimum of 60 hours of free legal aid services to indigent litigants yearly.

This is provided in the Rule on Mandatory Legal Aid Service, which the Supreme Court has approved last February 10, aimed at enhancing “the duty of lawyers to society as agents of social change and to the courts as officers thereof by helping improve access to justice by the less privileged members of society and expedite the resolution of cases involving them.”

Under the Rule, a practicing lawyer, among others, shall coordinate with the Clerk of Court or the Legal Aid Chairperson of one’s Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) Chapter for cases where the lawyer may render free legal aid service. The 60 hours shall be spread within a period of 12 months, with a minimum of five hours of free legal aid services each month. A practicing lawyer shall also be required to secure and obtain a certificate from the Clerk of Court attesting to the number of hours spent rendering free legal aid services in a case.

At the end of every calendar year, any practicing lawyer who fails to meet the minimum prescribed 60 hours of legal aid service each year shall be required by the IBP, through the National Committee on Legal Aid (NCLA), to explain why the lawyer was unable to render the minimum prescribed hours. The NCLA shall make a report and recommendation to declare a lawyer “not in good standing” if a lawyer fails to give an explanation for said failure or the NCLA finds the explanation unsatisfactory.

The “not in good standing” declaration shall be effective for a three-month period from the receipt of the erring lawyer of the notice from the IBP Board of Governors. During said period, the lawyer cannot appear in court or any quasi-judicial body as counsel.

The IBP Committee on Bar Discipline shall motu proprio institute disciplinary proceedings on a lawyer who fails to comply with one’s duties under this Rule for at least three consecutive years.

The complete text of the Rule, which has already been published in two newspapers of general circulation, can be viewed by logging on to the SC website http://sc.judiciary.gov.ph.

The Court has directed the IBP, through its National Committee on Legal Aid (NCLA), to promptly coordinate with the various chapters of the IBP in drafting the regulations for implementing the Rule.It further directed the NCLA to present the draft implementing regulations to the members of the Bar during the 12th National Convention of Lawyers on March 26-28, 2009 in a session specifically devoted to that purpose and to furnish all IBP chapters with a copy of the draft not later than March 30, 2009. In turn the IBP chapters are required to submit their comments on the draft not later than April 30, 2009. Voluntary organizations of lawyers may also submit their comments on the draft within the same period. The final draft shall be submitted not later than May 15, 2009 to the IBP Board of Governors for approval, while approved final draft of the IBP Board of Governors shall be submitted not later than May 25, 2009 for the final approval of the Court.

Membership in the IBP, the national organization of lawyers, is mandatory for all lawyers. (Res., BM 2012, Proposed Rule on Mandatory Legal Aid Service for Practicing Lawyers, February 10, 2009; BM 2012 – Re: Proposed Rule on Mandatory Legal Aid Services for
Practicing Lawyers, February 17, 2009).

View user profile

Sponsored content


View previous topic View next topic Back to top  Message [Page 1 of 1]

Permissions in this forum:
You cannot reply to topics in this forum