You are on page 1of 4

CANON 17 - A LAWYER OWES FIDELITY TO THE CAUSE OF HIS misconduct for violating the Lawyer’s Oath and the

olating the Lawyer’s Oath and the Code of Professional


CLIENT AND HE SHALL BE MINDFUL OF THE TRUST AND Responsibility, and for appropriate administrative sanctions to be imposed.
CONFIDENCE REPOSED IN HIM.
In its Report and Recommendation dated September 12,
CASE: ALCID VS PENILLA 2008, the IBP-CBD recommended the suspension of respondent from the
practice of law for six months "for negligence within the meaning of Canon 18
CANON 18 - A LAWYER SHALL SERVE HIS CLIENT WITH
and transgression of Rule 18.04 of the Code of Professional Responsibility".
COMPETENCE AND DILIGENCE.

Rules 18.01 - A lawyer shall not undertake a legal service which he knows or On December 11, 2008, the IBP Board of Governors
should know that he is not qualified to render. However, he may render such issued Resolution No. XVIII-2008-646, adopting and approving the
service if, with the consent of his client, he can obtain as collaborating counsel a recommendation of the IBP-CBD.
lawyer who is competent on the matter.
ISSUE:
Rule 18.02 - A lawyer shall not handle any legal matter without adequate Whether or not Atty. Alcid's proven acts and omissions
preparation. constitute gross misconduct.

Rule 18.03 - A lawyer shall not neglect a legal matter entrusted to him, and his
negligence in connection therewith shall render him liable. HELD:
Yes, Atty. Alcid's violation of Canons 17 and 18 and
Rule 18.04 - A lawyer shall keep the client informed of the status of his case and Rules 18.03 and 18.04 of the Code of Professional Responsibility, and the
shall respond within a reasonable time to the client's request for information. Lawyer’s Oath, constitute gross misconduct.

Quote: "The leading rule for the lawyer, as for the man of every other calling, is Complainant correctly alleged that respondent violated his
diligence. Leave nothing for to-morrow [sic] which can be done to-day [sic]. oath under Canon 18 to "serve his client with competence and diligence" when
Never let your correspondence fall behind. Whatever piece of business you have respondent filed a criminal case for estafa when the facts of the case would have
in hand, before stopping, do all the labor pertaining to it which can then be warranted the filing of a civil case for breach of contract. To be sure, after the
done." The Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln edited by Roy P. Basler, complaint for estafa was dismissed, respondent committed another similar
Volume II, "Notes for a Law Lecture" (July 1, 1850), p. 81. blunder by filing a civil case for specific performance and damages before the
RTC. The complaint, having an alternative prayer for the payment of damages,
Case: ALCID VS PENILLA
should have been filed with the Municipal Trial Court which has jurisdiction
over complainant’s claim which amounts to only P36,000.

PENILLA vs. ATTY. ALCID, JR. Rule 18.03 of the Code of Professional Responsibility
A.C. No. 9149 September 4, 2013 enjoins a lawyer not to ‘neglect a legal matter entrusted to him, and his
negligence in connection therewith shall render him liable.’ He must constantly
keep in mind that his actions or omissions or nonfeasance would be binding
FACTS: upon his client. Similarly, under Rule 18.04, a lawyer has the duty to apprise his
Complainant Julian Penilla entered into an agreement client of the status and developments of the case and all other information
with Spouses Garin for the repair of his Volkswagen automobile. Despite full relevant thereto. He must be consistently mindful of his obligation to respond
payment, the spouses defaulted in their obligation. Thus, complainant decided to promptly should there be queries or requests for information from the client.
file a case for breach of contract against the spouses where he engaged the Hence, despite the efforts exerted and the vigilance exhibited by complainant,
services of respondent as counsel. respondent neglected and failed to fulfill his obligation under Rules 18.03 and
18.04 to keep his client informed of the status of his case and to respond within a
reasonable time to the client’s request for information.
The respondent advised complainant that he would file a
criminal case for estafa against said spouses. Respondent charged P30,000 as
attorney’s fees and P10,000 as filing fees. Respondent then filed the complaint Canon 17 of the Code states that "a lawyer owes fidelity
for estafa before the Office of the City Prosecutor of Quezon City. After the to the cause of his client and he shall be mindful of the trust and confidence
hearing, complainant paid another P1,000 to respondent as appearance fee. reposed in him." The legal profession dictates that it is not a mere duty, but an
obligation, of a lawyer to accord the highest degree of fidelity, zeal and fervor in
Asst. City Prosecutor Fortuno later issued a resolution the protection of the client’s interest. The most thorough groundwork and study
dismissing the estafa case against the spouses. On February 18, 2002, the motion must be undertaken in order to safeguard the interest of the client. Respondent
for reconsideration filed by the respondent was denied for lack of merit. has defied and failed to perform such duty and his omission is tantamount to a
Respondent presented the option of filing a civil case for specific performance desecration of the Lawyer’s Oath.
against the spouses for the refund of the money plus damages. Complainant paid
an additional P10,000 to respondent which he asked for the payment of filing Hence, the Supreme Court sustained the findings of the
fees. Complainant claims that respondent never gave him any update thereafter. IBP that respondent committed professional negligence under Canon 18 and
Following the advice he gathered from other lawyers, complainant went to the Rule 18.04 of the Code of Professional Responsibility, with a modification that
Office of the Clerk of Court of the Caloocan City Metropolitan Trial Court and we also find respondent guilty of violating Canon 17 and Rule 18.03 of the Code
Regional Trial Court (RTC). Complainant learned that a civil case for Specific and the Lawyer’s Oath.
Performance and Damages was filed on June 6, 2002 but was dismissed on June
13, 2002. He also found out that the filing fee was only P2,440 and not P10,000
as earlier stated by respondent.

On January 9, 2006, complainant filed before the


Integrated Bar of the Philippines-Commission on Bar Discipline (IBP-CBD) the
instant administrative case praying that respondent be found guilty of gross
FIDELITY TO CLIENT’S CAUSE Lawyers’ Negligence

General Rule:

Statutory Basis Client is bound by attorney’s conduct, negligence and mistake in handling case
or in management of litigation and in procedural technique, and he cannot be
Canon 17. A lawyer owes fidelity to the cause of his client and he shall be heard to complain that result might have been different had his lawyer
mindful of the trust and confidence reposed in him. proceeded differently.

When a lawyer takes a client’s cause, he thereby covenants that he will exert all Exceptions:
effort for its protection until its final conclusion. The failure to exercise due
diligence and the abandonment of a client’s cause make such a lawyer unworthy (1) Where it results in outright deprivation of client’s liberty or property or
of the trust which the client has reposed on him. [Cantilller v. Potenciano where interest of justice so requires (2) Where
(1989)]
error by counsel is purely technical
No lawyer is obliged to act either as adviser or advocate for every person who
may wish to become his client. He has the right to decline employment, except which does
as prescribed in Canon 14 of the Code of Professional Responsibility. But once
he agrees to take up the cause of the client…No fear or judicial disfavor or not affect substantially client’s cause
public unpopularity should restrain him from the full discharge of his duty.
[Santiago v. Fojas (1995)] (3)

Ignorance, incompetence or inexperience

COMPETENCE AND DILIGENCE of lawyer is so great and error so serious that client, who has good cause is
prejudiced and denied a day in court (4)
Statutory Basis
Gross negligence
Canon 18: Serve client with competence and diligence.
of lawyer (5)
Adequate Protection
Lack of acquaintance with technical part
Rule 18.02 . A lawyer shall not handle any legal matter without adequate
preparation. of procedure.

Lawyer should safeguard his client’s rights and interests by thorough study and Some examples of negligence of attorneys.
preparation; mastering applicable law and facts involved in a case, regardless of
the nature of the assignment; and keeping constantly abreast of the latest —
jurisprudence and developments in all branches of the law. [Agpalo]

A lawyer should give adequate attention, care and time to his cases. This is the
reason why a practicing lawyer should accept only so many cases he can handle. (1) Failure of counsel to ask for additional time to answer a complaint resulting
Once he agrees to handle a case, he should undertake the task with dedication in a default judgment against his client [
and care. If he should do any less then he is not true to his oath as a lawyer.
[Legarda v. CA, (1991)] Mapua v. Mendoza (1993)

]. (2) Failure to bring suit immediately. When the belated suit was filed, the
defendant had already become insolvent and recovery could no longer be had.
Negligence The lawyer was declared liable to the client [

Rule 18.03. Filinvest Land v. (1990)

A lawyer shall not neglect a legal matter entrusted to him, and his negligence in ] (3) Failure to ascertain date of receipt from post office of notice of decision
connection therewith shall render him liable. If by reason of the lawyer’s resulting in the non-perfection of the
negligence, actual loss has been caused to his client, the latter has a cause of
action against him for damages. However, for the lawyer to be held liable, his appellant’s appeal [
failure to exercise reasonable care, skill and diligence must be proximate cause
Joven-De Jesus v. PNB (1964)
of the loss. [Callanta]

]. (4) Failure to file briefs within the reglementary period [


Every case a lawyer accepts deserves his full attention, diligence, skill and
competence, regardless of its importance or whether he accepts for a fee or free.
People v. Cawili (1970)
By agreeing to be someone’s counsel, he represents that he will exercise
ordinary diligence or that reasonable degree of care and skill demanded of the
]. Failure to attend to trial
business he undertakes to do, to protect the client’s interests and take all steps or
do all acts necessary thereof [Uy v Tansinin, AC No. 8252 (2009)].

A client is entitled to the benefit of any and every remedy and defense
authorized by law, and is expected to rely on the lawyer to assert every such
remedy or defense [Garcia V. Bala (2005)].
UP COLLEGE OF LAW LEGAL ETHICS BAR OPERATIONS PHHC v. Tiongco (1964)
COMMISSION
]. (4)

Application of the rule, “results in the outright deprivation of one’s property


PAGE 28 through a technicality.”

without filing a motion for postponement or without requesting either of his two [
partners in the law office to take his place and appear for the defendants [
Escudero v. Dulay (1988)
Gaerlan v. Bernal (Jan. 28, 1952)
] (5) In the case of an irresponsible lawyer who totally forgot about the case and
]. Failure to appear at pre-trial [ failed to inform his client of the decision, the Supreme Court held that the client
should not be bound by the negligence of the counsel. [
Agravante v. Patriarca (1990)
Republic vs. Arro, et al.,(1987)
]. (5) Failure of counsel to notify clients of the scheduled trial which prevented
the latter to look to another lawyer to represent them while counsel was in the ]
hospital [V
Collaborating Counsel
entura v. Santos (1993)

]. (6) Failure to appear simply because the client did not go


Rule 18.01.
to counsel’s office on the date of the trial as was
A lawyer shall not undertake a legal service which he knows or should know
agreed upon [ that he is not qualified to render. However he may render such service if, with
the consent of his client, he can obtain as collaborating counsel a lawyer who is
Alcoriza v. Lumakang, Adm. Case No. 249, (1978) competent on the matter. When a lawyer accepts a case, whether for a fee or not,
his acceptance is an implied representation: (1) That he possess the requisite
]. (7) Failure to pay the appellate docket fee after receiving the amount for the degree of academic learning, skill and ability in the practice of his profession;
purpose [ (2) That he will exert his best judgment in the prosecution or defense of the
litigation entrusted to him; (3) That he will exercise reasonable and ordinary
Capulong v. Alino (1968) care and diligence in the pursuit or defense of the case; and (4) That he will take
steps as will adequately safeguard his
].
client’s interests. [
I
Islas v. Platon, 47 Phil. 162
nstances where the client is not bound by counsel’s
] However, whatever good intentions he may have,
negligence
a lawyer cannot ask another lawyer to collaborate with him in a particular case
without the consent of the client

(1) In the case of an irresponsible lawyer who totally forgot about the case and . The fiduciary nature of attorney-client relationship prohibits this. [
failed to inform his client of the decision, the Supreme Court held that the client
should not be bound by the negligence of the counsel. [ Aguirre

Republic v. Arro (1987) ] Some cases involve specialized fields of law and require special training.

] (2) A party is not bound by the actions of his counsel in case the gross A lawyer should not accept an undertaking in specific area of law which he
negligence of the counsel resulted in the knows or should know he is not qualified to enter.

client’s deprivation of his property without due process

[ [

Legarda v. CA (1991) Agpalo

]. (3) ]

“Where there is something fishy and suspicious about Duty to Apprise Client

the actuations of the former counsel of petitioners in the case at bar, in the case
he did not give any significance at all to the processes of the court, which has
proven prejudicial to the rights of said clients, under a lame and flimsy Rule 18.04.
explanation that the courts processes just escaped his attention, it is held that the
said lawyer deprived his clients of their day in court [
A lawyer shall keep the client informed of the status of his case and shall
respond within a reasonable

period of time to the client’s request for information.

It was unnecessary to have complainants wait, and hope, for six long years on
their pension claims. Upon their refusal to co-operate

, respondent should have forthwith terminated their professional relationship


instead of keeping them hanging indefinitely

Blanza v. Arcangel (1967)