PHILIPPINE LAWYER’S ASSOCIATION VS. CELEDONIO AGRAVA,in his capacity as Directorof the Philippines Patent OfficeFACTS:
A petition was filed by the petitioner for prohibition and injunction against CeledonioAgrava, in hiscapacity as Director of the Philippines Patent Office. On May 27, 1957, respondentDirector issued acircular announcing that he had scheduled for June 27, 1957 an examination forthe purpose of determining who are qualified to practice as patent attorneys before thePhilippines Patent Office. The petitioner contends that one who has passed the bar examinationsand is licensed by theSupreme Court to practice law in the Philippines and who is in goodstanding, is duly qualified topractice before the Philippines Patent Office and that the respondentDirector’s holding anexamination for the purpose is in excess of his jurisdiction and is in violationof the law. Therespondent, in reply, maintains the prosecution of patent cases “ does not involve entirely orpurelythe practice of law but includes the application of scientific and technical knowledge andtraining as amatter of actual practice so as to include engineers and other individuals who passedthe examinationcan practice before the Patent office. Furthermore, he stressed that for the longtime he is holdingtests, this is the first time that his right has been questioned formally.ISSUE:Whether or not the appearance before the patent Office and the preparation and theprosecution of patent application, etc., constitutes or is included in the practice of law.HELD:The Supreme Court held that the practice of law includes such appearance before thePatent Office,the representation of applicants, oppositors, and other persons, and theprosecution of theirapplications for patent, their opposition thereto, or the enforcement of theirrights in patent cases.Moreover, the practice before the patent Office involves the interpretation andapplication of otherlaws and legal principles, as well as the existence of facts to be established inaccordance with thelaw of evidence and procedure. The practice of law is not limited to the conduct of cases orlitigation in court but also embraces all other matters connected with the law and any workinvolvingthe determination by the legal mind of the legal effects of facts and conditions. Furthermore,the lawprovides that any party may appeal to the Supreme Court from any final order or decision of thedirector. Thus, if the transactions of business in the Patent Office involved exclusively ormostlytechnical and scientific knowledge and training, then logically, the appeal should be takennot to acourt or judicial body, but rather to a board of scientists, engineers or technical men, whichis not the case.
In re Cunanan
In the Matter of the Petitions for Admission to the Bar of Unsuccessful Candidates of 1946 to 1953; ALBINO CUNANANResolution March 18, 1954Facts:Congress passed Republic Act Number 972, commonly known as the “Bar Flunkers’ Act of 1953.” In accordance withthe said law, the Supreme Court then passed and admitted to the bar those candidates who had obtained an average of 72 per cent by raising it to 75 percent.After its approval, many of the unsuccessful postwar candidates filed petitions for admission to the bar invoking itsprovisions, while other motions for the revision of their examination papers were still pending also invoked theaforesaid law as an additional ground for admission. There are also others who have sought simply the reconsiderationof their grades without, however, invoking the law in question. To avoid injustice to individual petitioners, the court firstreviewed the motions for reconsideration, irrespective of whether or not they had invoked Republic Act No. 972.Issue:WON RA No. 972 is constitutional and valid? NOHeld:RA No. 972 has for its object, according to its author, to admit to the Bar, those candidates who suffered frominsufficiency of reading materials and inadequate preparation.In the judicial system from which ours has been evolved, the admission, suspension, disbarment and reinstatement of attorneys at law in the practice of the profession and their supervision have been indisputably a judicial function andresponsibility. We have said that in the judicial system from which ours has been derived, the admission, suspension,disbarment or reinstatement of attorneys at law in the practice of the profession is concededly judicial. The power of admitting an attorney to practice having been perpetually exercised by the courts, it having been sogenerally held that the act of the court in admitting an attorney to practice is the judgment of the court, and an attemptas this on the part of the Legislature to confer such right upon any one being most exceedingly uncommon, it seemsclear that the licensing of an attorney is and always has been a purely judicial function, no matter where the power todetermine the qualifications may reside.On this matter, there is certainly a clear distinction between the functions of the judicial and legislative departments of the government.