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Basic Principles on the Role of Lawyers

Adopted by the Eighth United Nations Congress on the Prevention of


Crime and the Treatment of Offenders, Havana, Cuba
27 August to 7 September 1990

Whereas in the Charter of the United Nations the peoples of


the world affirm, inter alia , their determination to establish
conditions under which justice can be maintained, and
proclaim as one of their purposes the achievement of
international cooperation in promoting and encouraging
respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms without
distinction as to race, sex, language or religion,
Whereas the Universal Declaration of Human Rights
enshrines the principles of equality before the law, the
presumption of innocence, the right to a fair and public
hearing by an independent and impartial tribunal, and all the
guarantees necessary for the defence of everyone charged
with a penal offence,
Whereas the International Covenant on Civil and Political
Rights proclaims, in addition, the right to be tried without
undue delay and the right to a fair and public hearing by a
competent, independent and impartial tribunal established by
law,
Whereas the International Covenant on Economic, Social
and Cultural Rights recalls the obligation of States under the
Charter to promote universal respect for, and observance of,
human rights and freedoms,
Whereas the Body of Principles for the Protection of All
Persons under Any Form of Detention or Imprisonment
provides that a detained person shall be entitled to have the
assistance of, and to communicate and consult with, legal
counsel,
Whereas the Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of
Prisoners recommend, in particular, that legal assistance and
confidential communication with counsel should be ensured
to untried prisoners,
Whereas the Safeguards guaranteeing protection of those
facing the death penalty reaffirm the right of everyone
suspected or charged with a crime for which capital
punishment may be imposed to adequate legal assistance at all
stages of the proceedings, in accordance with article 14 of the
International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights,
Whereas the Declaration of Basic Principles of Justice for
Victims of Crime and Abuse of Power recommends measures
to be taken at the international and national levels to improve
access to justice and fair treatment, restitution, compensation
and assistance for victims of crime,
Whereas adequate protection of the human rights and
fundamental freedoms to which all persons are entitled, be
they economic, social and cultural, or civil and political,
requires that all persons have effective access to legal services
provided by an independent legal profession,
Whereas professional associations of lawyers have a vital
role to play in upholding professional standards and ethics,
protecting their members from persecution and improper
restrictions and infringements, providing legal services to all
in need of them, and cooperating with governmental and other

institutions in furthering the ends of justice and public


interest,
The Basic Principles on the Role of Lawyers, set forth
below, which have been formulated to assist Member States in
their task of promoting and ensuring the proper role of
lawyers, should be respected and taken into account by
Governments within the framework of their national
legislation and practice and should be brought to the attention
of lawyers as well as other persons, such as judges,
prosecutors, members of the executive and the legislature, and
the public in general. These principles shall also apply, as
appropriate, to persons who exercise the functions of lawyers
without having the formal status of lawyers.
Access to lawyers and legal services
1. All persons are entitled to call upon the assistance of a
lawyer of their choice to protect and establish their rights and
to defend them in all stages of criminal proceedings.
2. Governments shall ensure that efficient procedures and
responsive mechanisms for effective and equal access to
lawyers are provided for all persons within their territory and
subject to their jurisdiction, without distinction of any kind,
such as discrimination based on race, colour, ethnic origin,
sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or
social origin, property, birth, economic or other status.
3. Governments shall ensure the provision of sufficient
funding and other resources for legal services to the poor and,
as necessary, to other disadvantaged persons. Professional
associations of lawyers shall cooperate in the organization and
provision of services, facilities and other resources.
4. Governments and professional associations of lawyers
shall promote programmes to inform the public about their
rights and duties under the law and the important role of
lawyers in protecting their fundamental freedoms. Special
attention should be given to assisting the poor and other
disadvantaged persons so as to enable them to assert their
rights and where necessary call upon the assistance of
lawyers.
Special safeguards in criminal justice matters
5. Governments shall ensure that all persons are
immediately informed by the competent authority of their
right to be assisted by a lawyer of their own choice upon
arrest or detention or when charged with a criminal offence.
6. Any such persons who do not have a lawyer shall, in all
cases in which the interests of justice so require, be entitled to
have a lawyer of experience and competence commensurate
with the nature of the offence assigned to them in order to
provide effective legal assistance, without payment by them if
they lack sufficient means to pay for such services.
7. Governments shall further ensure that all persons arrested
or detained, with or without criminal charge, shall have
prompt access to a lawyer, and in any case not later than fortyeight hours from the time of arrest or detention.
8. All arrested, detained or imprisoned persons shall be
provided with adequate opportunities, time and facilities to be
visited by and to communicate and consult with a lawyer,

without delay, interception or censorship and in full


confidentiality. Such consultations may be within sight, but
not within the hearing, of law enforcement officials.
Qualifications and training
9. Governments, professional associations of lawyers and
educational institutions shall ensure that lawyers have
appropriate education and training and be made aware of the
ideals and ethical duties of the lawyer and of human rights
and fundamental freedoms recognized by national and
international law.
10. Governments, professional associations of lawyers and
educational institutions shall ensure that there is no
discrimination against a person with respect to entry into or
continued practice within the legal profession on the grounds
of race, colour, sex, ethnic origin, religion, political or other
opinion, national or social origin, property, birth, economic or
other status, except that a requirement, that a lawyer must be a
national of the country concerned, shall not be considered
discriminatory.
11. In countries where there exist groups, communities or
regions whose needs for legal services are not met,
particularly where such groups have distinct cultures,
traditions or languages or have been the victims of past
discrimination, Governments, professional associations of
lawyers and educational institutions should take special
measures to provide opportunities for candidates from these
groups to enter the legal profession and should ensure that
they receive training appropriate to the needs of their groups.
Duties and responsibilities
12. Lawyers shall at all times maintain the honour and
dignity of their profession as essential agents of the
administration of justice.
13. The duties of lawyers towards their clients shall include:
(a) Advising clients as to their legal rights and obligations,
and as to the working of the legal system in so far as it is
relevant to the legal rights and obligations of the clients;
(b) Assisting clients in every appropriate way, and taking
legal action to protect their interests;
(c) Assisting clients before courts, tribunals or
administrative authorities, where appropriate.
14. Lawyers, in protecting the rights of their clients and in
promoting the cause of justice, shall seek to uphold human
rights and fundamental freedoms recognized by national and
international law and shall at all times act freely and diligently
in accordance with the law and recognized standards and
ethics of the legal profession.
15. Lawyers shall always loyally respect the interests of
their clients.
Guarantees for the functioning of lawyers
16. Governments shall ensure that lawyers (a) are able to
perform all of their professional functions without

intimidation, hindrance, harassment or improper interference;


(b) are able to travel and to consult with their clients freely
both within their own country and abroad; and (c) shall not
suffer, or be threatened with, prosecution or administrative,
economic or other sanctions for any action taken in
accordance with recognized professional duties, standards and
ethics.
17. Where the security of lawyers is threatened as a result
of discharging their functions, they shall be adequately
safeguarded by the authorities.
18. Lawyers shall not be identified with their clients or their
clients' causes as a result of discharging their functions.
19. No court or administrative authority before whom the
right to counsel is recognized shall refuse to recognize the
right of a lawyer to appear before it for his or her client unless
that lawyer has been disqualified in accordance with national
law and practice and in conformity with these principles.
20. Lawyers shall enjoy civil and penal immunity for
relevant statements made in good faith in written or oral
pleadings or in their professional appearances before a court,
tribunal or other legal or administrative authority.
21. It is the duty of the competent authorities to ensure
lawyers access to appropriate information, files and
documents in their possession or control in sufficient time to
enable lawyers to provide effective legal assistance to their
clients. Such access should be provided at the earliest
appropriate time.
22. Governments shall recognize and respect that all
communications and consultations between lawyers and their
clients within their professional relationship are confidential.
Freedom of expression and association
23. Lawyers like other citizens are entitled to freedom of
expression, belief, association and assembly. In particular,
they shall have the right to take part in public discussion of
matters concerning the law, the administration of justice and
the promotion and protection of human rights and to join or
form local, national or international organizations and attend
their meetings, without suffering professional restrictions by
reason of their lawful action or their membership in a lawful
organization. In exercising these rights, lawyers shall always
conduct themselves in accordance with the law and the
recognized standards and ethics of the legal profession.
Professional associations of lawyers
24. Lawyers shall be entitled to form and join selfgoverning professional associations to represent their
interests, promote their continuing education and training and
protect their professional integrity. The executive body of the
professional associations shall be elected by its members and
shall exercise its functions without external interference.
25. Professional associations of lawyers shall cooperate
with Governments to ensure that everyone has effective and
equal access to legal services and that lawyers are able,
without improper interference, to counsel and assist their
clients in accordance with the law and recognized professional
standards and ethics.

Disciplinary proceedings
26. Codes of professional conduct for lawyers shall be
established by the legal profession through its appropriate
organs, or by legislation, in accordance with national law and
custom and recognized international standards and norms.
27. Charges or complaints made against lawyers in their
professional capacity shall be processed expeditiously and
fairly under appropriate procedures. Lawyers shall have the
right to a fair hearing, including the right to be assisted by a
lawyer of their choice.
28. Disciplinary proceedings against lawyers shall be
brought before an impartial disciplinary committee
established by the legal profession, before an independent
statutory authority, or before a court, and shall be subject to an
independent judicial review.
29. All disciplinary proceedings shall be determined in
accordance with the code of professional conduct and other
recognized standards and ethics of the legal profession and in
the light of these principles.

Slaying Kingsfield
(A sort-of welcome for the entering class at Malcolm
Hall, 2000)
Each of you has come to law school, fueled by the desire
to become a lawyer. Most of you have been inspired by
role models, culled from your own experiences. Perhaps
your parents or relatives who are lawyers; or actual
experience with real lawyers in actual cases; or perhaps
from conversations with graduates of the U.P. College of
Law; or even from fictional role models taken from such
diverse fare as The Practice, Ally McBeal, John Grishams
books or the real-life stories of the lives of Clarence
Darrow or Oliver Wendell Holmes. Whatever or whoever
has been your inspiration for taking this most important
step in your young lives, you are now faced with one
reality: you are now officially in law school; and one
question: what do I do next?
The answer to that question may be answered by a scene
from the prototypical film about law school, The Paper
Chase (1973). This scene demonstrates how it is to study
law.
In this scene, the antagonist of the film, the despotic
Professor in Contracts, Mr. Kingsfield, is concluding his
exercise of humiliating the law students in his class; on
deck is the hero of the film, Mr. Hart, a first year law
student at Harvard, who has failed to answer his questions.
In a dull, flat monotone dripping with sarcasm, Kingsfield
intones, Mr. Hart, here is a penny, call your mother and
tell her that her son will not become a lawyer. Hart, who
was just about to bolt the room and quit law school after
being humiliated so publicly by Kingsfield, turns around,
stares Kingsfield in the eye, and, in emphatic and plain
language, tells Kingsfield, You, Kingsfield, are a son of a
bitch. In the stunned silence that follows, Kingsfield very
calmly tells Hart, That, Mr. Hart, is the most intelligent
thing you have ever said in this class. Sit down.
During your first weeks in law school, you will find
yourself, like the hapless Hart, confronting Kingsfield, in

various guises, shapes and sizes. The challenge for you is


to overcome your own Kingsfields for unless you do so,
then you will just have to tell your father or mother that
you will not become a lawyer. This early in your life as a
law student, when you have yet to open your first case
report or law book, you must ask yourself if, like Hart, you
haveor are capable of obtainingthe values, skills, traits
and character to slay the Kingsfields you will meet in law
school. (Harts emphatic language to Kingsfield is not
encouraged though, for all that it will most certainly get
you are either : [1] a 5.0, [2] kicked out of the class and
law school, [3] sued for libel and defamation or [4]
possibly all three, in that order). Slaying your own
Kingsfields will be the first skill you need to survive law
school and become a lawyer.
To slay your own Kingsfields and become a lawyer will
demand of you a great deal of sacrifice, commitment, skill
and character; there is a need for a genuine self-appraisal
on your part. It is easiest to judge others but most difficult
to evaluate oneself. To help you in your self-appraisal,
before you meet your Kingsfields, draw from the thoughts
of one of the foremost criminal lawyers of his time, the late
Senator Jose W. Diokno, the beloved Ka Pepe.
Answering Popoy, his eldest son who asked him whether
he (Popoy) should study law, Ka Pepe wrote a deeply
insightful, compelling, descriptive, and very moving letter;
in his letter, he bares to Popoy his unique insights on what
a lawyer is, how it is to study law and what kind of person
you have to be or may have to become in order to be a
great lawyer. It is an eloquent and inspiring testimonial to
one mans love for country, people, profession and family
written in detention during the darkest days of martial law.
Allow me to share his letter with you:
Dear Popoy,
When you asked me about a month ago, for a list of
books that you could read to start studying law, I was
loathe to prepare the list because I felt that you would be
wasting your time studying law in this new society.
I am still not sure that it would be worth your while to do
so.
A few days ago, while chatting with a soldier, he asked,
in all seriousness and sincerity, Pero sir, kailangan pa ba
ang mga abogado ngayon? And in a way that perhaps he
did not intend, he raised a perfectly valid question.
A lawyer lives in and by the law; and there is no law
when society is ruled, not by reason, but by willworse, by
the will of one man.
A lawyer strives for justice; and there is no justice when
men and women are imprisoned not only without guilt, but
without trial.
A lawyer must work in freedom; and there is no freedom
when conformity is extracted by fear and criticism silenced
by force.

A lawyer builds on facts. He must seek truth; and there is


no truth when facts are suppressed, news is manipulated
and charges are fabricated.
Worse, when the Constitution is invoked to justify
outrages against freedom, truth and justice, when
democracy is destroyed under the pretext of saving it, law
is not only deniedit is perverted.
And what need do our people have for men and women
who would practice perversion?
Yet the truth remains true that never have our people had
greater need than today for great lawyers, and for young
men and women determined to be great lawyers.
Great lawyersnot brilliant lawyers. A scoundrel may be,
and often is, brilliant; and the greater the scoundrel, the
more brilliant the lawyer. But only a good man can become
a great lawyer: for only a man who understands the
weaknesses of men because he has conquered them in
himself; who has the courage to pursue his ideals though
he knows them to be unattainable; who tempers his
conviction with respect for those of others because he
realizes he may be mistaken; who deals honorably and
fairly with all, because to do otherwise would diminish
him as well as themonly such a man would so command
respect that he could persuade and need never resort to
force. Only such a man could become a great lawyer.
Otherwise, what you are speaks so loudly, cannot hear
what you say.
For men and women of this kind, our country will
always have needand now more than ever. True, there is
little that men of goodwill can do now to end the madness
that holds our nation in its grip. But we can,even now,
scrutinize our past; try to pinpoint where we went wrong;
determine what led to this madness and what nurtured it;
and how, when it ends, we can make sure that it need never
happen again.
For this madness must endif not in my lifetime, at least
in yours. We Filipinos are proverbially patient, but we are
also infinitely tough and ingeniously resourceful. Our
entire history as a people has been a quest for freedom and
dignity; and we will not be denied our dreams.
So this madness will end; the rule of force will yield to
the rule of law. Then the country will need its great
lawyers, its great engineers,its great economists and
managers, the best of its men and women to clear the
shambles and restore the foundations of that noble and
truly Filipino society for which our forefathers fought, bled
and died.
So, there are two sides to the question of whether it is
worth your while to study law; and, in the end, it is a
question that only you can answer.
Just be sure, that, whatever be your decision, it is truly
yours, that it is truly what you want, not a choice dictated
by a sense of duty to follow in my footsteps.
To help you decide, I suggest that you read:

(a) The Attorneys Oath, Form No, 28 appended to our


Rules of Court; and the duties of an attorney, Rule 138,
sec. 20 of the Rules of Court, which you can ask from my
office;
(b) The Five Functions of a Lawyer in Arthur T.
Vandervilts Cases and Materials on Modern Procedure.
(c) The Chicago Lawyers Pledge on p. 395, and The
Crafts of Law Re-valued on pp. 316-322 of Karl
Llewellyns Jurisprudence.
(d) The Lawyer from Antiquity to Modern Times by
Roscoe Pound.
(e) Men of Law by William Seagle.
These should give you an idea of what a lawyer should
be and what he has been in the past. What he is in our
country, you have an idea;
(f) Martin Mayers The Lawyers, tells you what he is
in the United States; and
(g) Brian Abel-Smiths Lawyers and Courts, what he is
in England.
Read either and compare with our practice. And for a
critique of lawyers, of courts, and even of law, read,
(h) Law against the People, by Robert Lefcourt.
As you read, cultivate the habit I have never been able to
school myself to do of taking notes of your readingnot
only of the gist of what the author says, or quotations of
thoughts he felicitously expresses, but also of your
reactions to his work (where you agree or disagree or
suspend judgment, and why) and of the thoughts he
arouses in you. File your notes in orderly fashion. They
will become invaluable to you as you mature.
After you have read enough to give you an idea of what
a lawyer is and does, but before you firmly commit
yourself, one way or the other, discuss the matter with your
wife and your friends, always bearing these things in mind:
That the law is a demanding profession, exacting a
constant and unswerving devotion that is always a thinking
obedience to its ideals, and that is much harder to give than
blind obedience;
That the rewards of the law as a profession are not in
wealth or even in fame, but in the respect of your peers, in
the excitement of the chase after justice, and in the
satisfaction not only of service to your clients but of
having somehow shaped the future by molding the law of
today.
This has been a long letter on a short questionwhether
to study lawand is not an example to be emulated should
you decide in favor of law. My excuse is that time lies
heavy on my hands in these days of detention, and since
we can talk only in snatches when you visit, I have written
at length in the hope of anticipating some of your
questions.
You may suspect that, by stressing the difficulties of the
law profession and by suggesting that you read some eight
books before making up your mind, I am trying to
discourage you from studying law. I am not. In a rather
heavy-handed way, I am trying to paint the lawyers role as

accurately as I can and show you that, if you do decide to


become a lawyer, you must prepare yourself for a lifetime
of study,reading, weighing and deciding, while at the same
time acting and doing. It sounds impossiblebut every day
it has been and is being done.
I have loved the law; and I have always been proud of
being a lawyer. But I have never been prouder than the day,
five Sundays ago, that you told me that you wanted to
study law. Regardless of what you may finally decide, the
fact that you even thought of becoming a lawyer, despite
my arrest and detention, allows me to hope that I have not
failed as a lawyer and as a father.
For that, son, thanks.
Your father,
PEPE
This was written in detention by Sen. Jose W. Diokno to
his eldest son, Jose Ramon I. Diokno on 23 October 1972
almost one month after martial law was declared in the
country.
Ka Pepe spoke of several things in his letter to Popoy
that may prove valuable to your stay in the college of law.
First, he tells his son that there are two sides to the
question of whether it is worth your while to study law;
and, in the end, it is a question that only you can answer.
Just be sure, that, whatever be your decision, it is truly
yours, that it is truly what you want, not a choice dictated
by a sense of duty to follow in my footsteps. This is
especially important for those of you, in this room, who are
here simply because you feel that it is your duty to
continue a family tradition of producing lawyers. The
study of law is such an exacting discipline that coming into
the College half-heartedly will most certainly ensure that
you will eventually leave the College without a degree. As
he reminds Popoy in another part of his letter, the law is a
demanding profession, exacting a constant and unswerving
devotion that is always a thinking obedience to its ideals,
and that is much harder to give than blind obedience. You
have made a decision to study law; in order for you to
succeed, you must ensure that it is a decision that is
completely yours. Anything less than that will mean that
you may not gather enough resolve to slay Kingsfield and
will simply phone home to tell your parents that their son
or daughter will not become a lawyer.
Second, Ka Pepe tells us what kind of a person would
make a great lawyer:
"A scoundrel may be, and often is, brilliant; and the
greater the scoundrel,the more brilliant the lawyer. But
only a good man can become a great lawyer: for only a
man who understands the weaknesses of men because he
has conquered them in himself; who has the courage to
pursue his ideals though he knows them to be unattainable;
who tempers his conviction with respect for those of others
because he realizes he may be mistaken; who deals
honorably and fairly with all, because to do otherwise
would diminish him as well as themonly such a man
would so command respect that he could persuade and
need never resort to force. Only such a man could become

a great lawyer. Otherwise, 'what you are speaks so loudly, I


cannot hear what you say.'"
Now that you have made your decision to study law, you
must know yourself. Know your weaknesses and your
strengths; work on your weaknesses as well as your
strengths. Do not forsake or abandon your other interests
your life is not and should not only be the college of law
(although, it will certainly feel like that)--read, dance, sing,
watch movies, play Tekken, work out, play a sport, climb a
rock, join a rally, march to Mendiola, raise your fist in
protest, lift your hands in praise, join your hands in prayer.
As in everything, there must be a balance in our life. The
challenge for you is to try to incorporate all of these things
that are integral and important to your life within your new
chosen life as a law student. It is these traits and values that
you develop from all the varied fields of interest that make
you a complete and multi-dimensional person and will
ensure that you become a great lawyer.
Third, Ka Pepe speaks of developing very good study
habits and being organized. In his words,
"As you read, cultivate the habit . . .of taking notes of
your readingnot only of the gist of what the author says,
or quotations of thoughts he felicitously expresses, but also
of your reactions to his work (where you agree or disagree
or suspend judgment, and why) and of the thoughts he
arouses in you. File your notes in orderly fashion. They
will become invaluable to you as you mature."
Indeed, those who have passed through the portals of the
College of Law and those who are still within its portals
will tell you that the most important weapon you have in
the College of Law is not your raw intelligence (because
you are all disputably presumed to have that in abundance
or you would not be here listening to me) but how you
develop, hone, challenge and transform that intelligence
into a discipline of critical, analytical, logical, organized
and coherent thought. And without study habitsof any
formall your native intelligence will be for naught. Ka
Pepe presents you with a way of studying law which is
healthy to cultivate: not only should you read, with a view
to reciting the cases or the law verbatim, but you should
read with a view to understanding and thinking about what
you read.
It is in this context that Ka Pepe speaks of the study and
the practice of law as being demanding; and, indeed, the
discipline is demanding. For it is not enough that you
should know the law and practice it well but that you
should also know why the law is what it is, how to
question the law, if necessary, and to move for changes in
the law to make the law what it should be. Thus, your
study of the law should not only be rote learning but
critical learning. As he reminded Popoy, the law is a
demanding profession, exacting a constant and unswerving
devotion that is always a thinking obedience to its ideals,
and that is much harder to give than blind obedience. It
takes courage to stand and remain as a majority of one and
there will be times when that is what the study of law will
ask you to doto maintain a critical and thinking obedience
to its ideals and challenge the law as it is written with the
hope it may be transformed into the law that it ought to be.

Finally, Ka Pepe speaks of the rewards of studying law :


the rewards of the law as a profession are not in wealth or
even in fame, but in the respect of your peers, in the
excitement of the chase after justice, and in the satisfaction
not only of service to your clients but of having somehow
shaped the future by molding the law of today. These are
not only beautiful words and ideals but are also stirring
realities. And, if there is any inspiration that may be drawn
from Ka Pepes words, it is the knowledge that by studying
law, and by studying law in the U.P. College of Law, you
will play a part in shaping the future by molding the law of
today.
You have entered a public law schoolone that is steeped
in the highest traditions of excellence in all fields of the
law. The U.P. College of Law has produced the finest
lawyers engaged in advocacy for various interests, private
and public. The College has also produced Presidents of
the Philippines (the first President of the Republic was also
the President of the first law class; the last President
produced by the College was also the first dictator the
country has officially produced), Chief Justices (of course,
the present Chief Justice is a U.P. graduate), Senate
Presidents (the present Senate President is also a U.P.
graduate), Speakers of the House; the College has also
produced scholars, academics and intellectuals who have
contributed directly to the countryfor good or worse
through their research and writings; and finally, the
College has also produced lawyers for the People who
have committed their life to working for the rights of those
among our people who are on the shorter end of the stick
the laborers, the urban poor, the peasants and farmers, the
indigenous peoples, the poor and defenseless accused; you
have but to look at a list of non-governmental
organizations and peoples organizations engaged in
various advocacies to see a list of U.P. lawyers who have
committed their lives to the people.
With this tradition comes a great deal of responsibility.
The responsibility is not only to live up to the tradition but
to surpass it. There is a saying oft-quoted by the Supreme
Court, the spring cannot rise higher than its source. I
refuse to accept that when it comes to legal education. The
spring must rise higher than the source for it is only in
doing so that we ensure that the traditions of excellence are
not only maintained but surpassed. I do not consider it a
failing on my part if my students become better than I; on
the contrary, I consider it a source of great fulfilment and
unending inspiration that I have contributed to the shaping
of the future by molding the lawyers of today.
It was Ka Pepes letteralternately an answer to his sons
question, treatise on the legal profession, discourse on the
national situation prevailing at that time, and a showcase of
a lifetime of insights on how to study lawthat gave a
young and idealistic activist, unsure of his decision to
pursue law, the first insight that law and activism, law and
advocacy, law and social change, law and a lifetime of
meaningful service could co-exist. Fourteen years later,
that slightly older but still idealistic activist is now a
lawyer actively engaged in human rights practice and the
teaching of law in what Holmes calls "the grand manner."
In the same manner that his letter challenged me, I
would ask you, after hearing Ka Pepes letter to Popoy, to
ask yourself if you are the person he describes; ask

yourself if you want to become the lawyer he describes;


ask yourself if you are capable of becoming the lawyer and
the person he describes.
If, after asking yourself all these, you decide that you are
not the person he describes: Good luck and Godspeed then,
in whatever you may decide to do with your life.
But if, after reading his letter, you decide to continue
with law school and bid to slay your own Kingsfields.
CODE OF PROFESSIONAL RESPONSIBILITY
(Promulgated June 21, 1988)
CHAPTER I. THE LAWYER AND SOCIETY
CANON 1 - A LAWYER SHALL UPHOLD THE
CONSTITUTION, OBEY THE LAWS OF THE LAND
AND PROMOTE RESPECT FOR LAW OF AND LEGAL
PROCESSES.
Rule 1.01 - A lawyer shall not engage in unlawful,
dishonest, immoral or deceitful conduct.
Rule 1.02 - A lawyer shall not counsel or abet activities
aimed at defiance of the law or at lessening confidence in
the legal system.
Rule 1.03 - A lawyer shall not, for any corrupt motive or
interest, encourage any suit or proceeding or delay any
man's cause.
Rule 1.04 - A lawyer shall encourage his clients to avoid,
end or settle a controversy if it will admit of a fair
settlement.
CANON 2 - A LAWYER SHALL MAKE HIS LEGAL
SERVICES AVAILABLE IN AN EFFICIENT AND
CONVENIENT MANNER COMPATIBLE WITH THE
INDEPENDENCE, INTEGRITY AND EFFECTIVENESS
OF THE PROFESSION.
Rule 2.01 - A lawyer shall not reject, except for valid
reasons, the cause of the defenseless or the oppressed.
Rule 2.02 - In such cases, even if the lawyer does not
accept a case, he shall not refuse to render legal advice to
the person concerned if only to the extent necessary to
safeguard the latter's rights.
Rule 2.03 - A lawyer shall not do or permit to be done
any act designed primarily to solicit legal business.
Rule 2.04 - A lawyer shall not charge rates lower than
those customarily prescribed unless the circumstances so
warrant.
CANON 3 - A LAWYER IN MAKING KNOWN HIS
LEGAL SERVICES SHALL USE ONLY TRUE,
HONEST, FAIR, DIGNIFIED AND OBJECTIVE
INFORMATION OR STATEMENT OF FACTS.
Rule 3.01 - A lawyer shall not use or permit the use of
any false, fraudulent, misleading, deceptive, undignified,
self-laudatory or unfair statement or claim regarding his
qualifications or legal services.
Rule 3.02 - In the choice of a firm name, no false,
misleading or assumed name shall be used. The continued
use of the name of a deceased partner is permissible
provided that the firm indicates in all its communications
that said partner is deceased.
Rule 3.03 - Where a partner accepts public office, he
shall withdrawal from the firm and his name shall be
dropped from the firm name unless the law allows him to
practice law currently.

Rule 3.04 - A lawyer shall not pay or give anything of


value to representatives of the mass media in anticipation
of, or in return for, publicity to attract legal business.
CANON 4 - A LAWYER SHALL PARTICIPATE IN
THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE LEGAL SYSTEM BY
INITIATING OR SUPPORTING EFFORTS IN LAW
REFORM AND IN THE IMPROVEMENT OF THE
ADMINISTRATION OF JUSTICE.
CANON 5 - A LAWYER SHALL KEEP ABREAST OF
LEGAL
DEVELOPMENTS,
PARTICIPATE
IN
CONTINUING LEGAL EDUCATION PROGRAMS,
SUPPORT
EFFORTS
TO
ACHIEVE
HIGH
STANDARDS IN LAW SCHOOLS AS WELL AS IN
THE PRACTICAL TRAINING OF LAW STUDENTS
AND ASSIST IN DISSEMINATING THE LAW AND
JURISPRUDENCE.
CANON 6 - THESE CANONS SHALL APPLY TO
LAWYERS IN GOVERNMENT SERVICES IN THE
DISCHARGE OF THEIR TASKS.
Rule 6.01 - The primary duty of a lawyer engaged in
public prosecution is not to convict but to see that justice is
done. The suppression of facts or the concealment of
witnesses capable of establishing the innocence of the
accused is highly reprehensible and is cause for
disciplinary action.
Rule 6.02 - A lawyer in the government service shall not
use his public position to promote or advance his private
interests, nor allow the latter to interfere with his public
duties.
Rule 6.03 - A lawyer shall not, after leaving government
service, accept engagement or employment in connection
with any matter in which he had intervened while in said
service.
CHAPTER II. THE LAWYER AND THE LEGAL
PROFESSION
CANON 7 - A LAWYER SHALL AT ALL TIMES
UPHOLD THE INTEGRITY AND DIGNITY OF THE
LEGAL
PROFESSION
AND
SUPPORT THE
ACTIVITIES OF THE INTEGRATED BAR.
Rule 7.01 - A lawyer shall be answerable for knowingly
making a false statement or suppressing a material fact in
connection with his application for admission to the bar.
Rule 7.02 - A lawyer shall not support the application for
admission to the bar of any person known by him to be
unqualified in respect to character, education, or other
relevant attribute.
Rule 7.03 - A lawyer shall not engage in conduct that
adversely reflects on his fitness to practice law, nor shall he
whether in public or private life, behave in a scandalous
manner to the discredit of the legal profession.
CANON 8 - A LAWYER SHALL CONDUCT
HIMSELF WITH COURTESY, FAIRNESS AND
CANDOR
TOWARDS
HIS
PROFESSIONAL
COLLEAGUES, AND SHALL AVOID HARASSING
TACTICS AGAINST OPPOSING COUNSEL.

Rule 8.01 - A lawyer shall not, in his professional


dealings, use language which is abusive, offensive or
otherwise improper.
Rule 8.02 - A lawyer shall not, directly or indirectly,
encroach upon the professional employment of another
lawyer, however, it is the right of any lawyer, without fear
or favor, to give proper advice and assistance to those
seeking relief against unfaithful or neglectful counsel.
CANON 9 - A LAWYER SHALL NOT, DIRECTLY OR
INDIRECTLY, ASSIST IN THE UNAUTHORIZED
PRACTICE OF LAW.
Rule 9.01 - A lawyer shall not delegate to any
unqualified person the performance of any task which by
law may only be performed by a member of the bar in
good standing.
Rule 9.02 - A lawyer shall not divide or stipulate to
divide a fee for legal services with persons not licensed to
practice law, except:
(a) Where there is a pre-existing agreement with a
partner or associate that, upon the latter's death, money
shall be paid over a reasonable period of time to his estate
or to persons specified in the agreement; or
(b) Where a lawyer undertakes to complete unfinished
legal business of a deceased lawyer; or
(c) Where a lawyer or law firm includes non-lawyer
employees in a retirement plan even if the plan is based in
whole or in part, on a profit sharing agreement.
CHAPTER III. 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 misled by any artifice.
Rule 10.02 - A lawyer shall not knowingly misquote or
misrepresent the contents of a paper, the language or the
argument of opposing counsel, or the text of a decision or
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 proved.
Rule 10.03 - A lawyer shall observe the rules of
procedure and shall not misuse them to defeat the ends of
justice.
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.
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 have no materiality
to the case.
Rule 11.05 - A lawyer shall submit grievances against a
Judge to the proper authorities 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 on the law and the facts of
his case, the evidence he will adduce and the order of its
proferrence. He should also be ready with the original
documents for comparison with the copies.
Rule 12.02 - A lawyer shall not file multiple actions
arising from the same cause.
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.
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.
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; or
(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.
CHAPTER IV. THE LAWYER AND THE CLIENT
CANON 14 - A LAWYER SHALL NOT REFUSE HIS
SERVICES TO THE NEEDY.
Rule 14.01 - A lawyer shall not decline to represent a
person solely on account of the latter's race, sex. creed or
status of life, or because of his own opinion regarding the
guilt of said person.
Rule 14.02 - A lawyer shall not decline, except for
serious and sufficient cause, an appointment as counsel de
officio or as amicus curiae, or a request from the Integrated
Bar of the Philippines or any of its chapters for rendition of
free legal aid.

Rule 14.03 - A lawyer may not refuse to accept


representation of an indigent client if:
(a) he is not in a position to carry out the work
effectively or competently;
(b) he labors under a conflict of interest between him
and the prospective client or between a present client and
the prospective client.
Rule 14.04 - A lawyer who accepts the cause of a person
unable to pay his professional fees shall observe the same
standard of conduct governing his relations with paying
clients.
CANON 15 - A LAWYER SHALL OBSERVE
CANDOR, FAIRNESS AND LOYALTY IN ALL HIS
DEALINGS AND TRANSACTIONS WITH HIS
CLIENTS.
Rule 15.01. - A lawyer, in conferring with a prospective
client, shall ascertain as soon as practicable whether the
matter would involve a conflict with another client or his
own interest, and if so, shall forthwith inform the
prospective client.
Rule 15.02.- A lawyer shall be bound by the rule on
privilege communication in respect of matters disclosed to
him by a prospective client.
Rule 15.03. - A lawyer shall not represent conflicting
interests except by written consent of all concerned given
after a full disclosure of the facts.
Rule 15.04. - A lawyer may, with the written consent of
all concerned, act as mediator, conciliator or arbitrator in
settling disputes.
Rule 15.05. - A lawyer when advising his client, shall
give a candid and honest opinion on the merits and
probable results of the client's case, neither overstating nor
understating the prospects of the case.
Rule 15.06. - A lawyer shall not state or imply that he is
able to influence any public official, tribunal or legislative
body.
Rule 15.07. - A lawyer shall impress upon his client
compliance with the laws and the principles of fairness.
Rule 15.08. - A lawyer who is engaged in another
profession or occupation concurrently with the practice of
law shall make clear to his client whether he is acting as a
lawyer or in another capacity.
CANON 16 - A LAWYER SHALL HOLD IN TRUST
ALL MONEYS AND PROPERTIES OF HIS CLIENT
THAT MAY COME INTO HIS PROFESSION.
Rule 16.01 - A lawyer shall account for all money or
property collected or received for or from the client.
Rule 16.02 - A lawyer shall keep the funds of each client
separate and apart from his own and those of others kept
by him.
Rule 16.03 - A lawyer shall deliver the funds and
property of his client when due or upon demand. However,
he shall have a lien over the funds and may apply so much
thereof as may be necessary to satisfy his lawful fees and
disbursements, giving notice promptly thereafter to his
client. He shall also have a lien to the same extent on all
judgments and executions he has secured for his client as
provided for in the Rules of Court.
Rule 16.04 - A lawyer shall not borrow money from his
client unless the client's interest are fully protected by the
nature of the case or by independent advice. Neither shall a

lawyer lend money to a client except, when in the interest


of justice, he has to advance necessary expenses in a legal
matter he is handling for the client.
CANON 17 - A LAWYER OWES FIDELITY TO THE
CAUSE OF HIS CLIENT AND HE SHALL BE
MINDFUL OF THE TRUST AND CONFIDENCE
REPOSED IN HIM.
CANON 18 - A LAWYER SHALL SERVE HIS
CLIENT WITH COMPETENCE AND DILIGENCE.
Rules 18.01 - A lawyer shall not undertake a legal
service which he knows or should know 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 competent on the
matter.
Rule 18.02 - A lawyer shall not handle any legal matter
without adequate preparation.
Rule 18.03 - A lawyer shall not neglect a legal matter
entrusted to him, and his negligence in connection
therewith shall render him liable.
Rule 18.04 - A lawyer shall keep the client informed of
the status of his case and shall respond within a reasonable
time to the client's request for information.
CANON 19 - A LAWYER SHALL REPRESENT HIS
CLIENT WITH ZEAL WITHIN THE BOUNDS OF THE
LAW.
Rule 19.01 - A lawyer shall employ only fair and honest
means to attain the lawful objectives of his client and shall
not present, participate in presenting or threaten to present
unfounded criminal charges to obtain an improper
advantage in any case or proceeding.
Rule 19.02 - A lawyer who has received information that
his client has, in the course of the representation,
perpetrated a fraud upon a person or tribunal, shall
promptly call upon the client to rectify the same, and
failing which he shall terminate the relationship with such
client in accordance with the Rules of Court.
Rule 19.03 - A lawyer shall not allow his client to dictate
the procedure in handling the case.
CANON 20 - A LAWYER SHALL CHARGE ONLY
FAIR AND REASONABLE FEES.
Rule 20.01 - A lawyer shall be guided by the following
factors in determining his fees:
(a) the time spent and the extent of the service rendered
or required;
(b) the novelty and difficulty of the questions involved;
(c) The importance of the subject matter;
(d) The skill demanded;
(e) The probability of losing other employment as a
result of acceptance of the proffered case;
(f) The customary charges for similar services and the
schedule of fees of the IBP chapter to which he belongs;
(g) The amount involved in the controversy and the
benefits resulting to the client from the service;
(h) The contingency or certainty of compensation;
(i) The character of the employment, whether occasional
or established; and
(j) The professional standing of the lawyer.

Rule 20.02 - A lawyer shall, in case of referral, with the


consent of the client, be entitled to a division of fees in
proportion to the work performed and responsibility
assumed.
Rule 20.03 - A lawyer shall not, without the full
knowledge and consent of the client, accept any fee,
reward, costs, commission, interest, rebate or forwarding
allowance or other compensation whatsoever related to his
professional employment from anyone other than the
client.
Rule 20.04 - A lawyer shall avoid controversies with
clients concerning his compensation and shall resort to
judicial action only to prevent imposition, injustice or
fraud.
CANON 21 - A LAWYER SHALL PRESERVE THE
CONFIDENCE AND SECRETS OF HIS CLIENT EVEN
AFTER THE ATTORNEY-CLIENT RELATION IS
TERMINATED.
Rule 21.01 - A lawyer shall not reveal the confidences or
secrets of his client except;
(a) When authorized by the client after acquainting him
of the consequences of the disclosure;
(b) When required by law;
(c) When necessary to collect his fees or to defend
himself, his employees or associates or by judicial action.
Rule 21.02 - A lawyer shall not, to the disadvantage of
his client, use information acquired in the course of
employment, nor shall he use the same to his own
advantage or that of a third person, unless the client with
full knowledge of the circumstances consents thereto.
Rule 21.03 - A lawyer shall not, without the written
consent of his client, give information from his files to an
outside agency seeking such information for auditing,
statistical, bookkeeping, accounting, data processing, or
any similar purpose.
Rule 21.04 - A lawyer may disclose the affairs of a client
of the firm to partners or associates thereof unless
prohibited by the client.
Rule 21.05 - A lawyer shall adopt such measures as may
be required to prevent those whose services are utilized by
him, from disclosing or using confidences or secrets of the
clients.
Rule 21.06 - A lawyer shall avoid indiscreet conversation
about a client's affairs even with members of his family.
Rule 21.07 - A lawyer shall not reveal that he has been
consulted about a particular case except to avoid possible
conflict of interest.
CANON 22 - A LAWYER SHALL WITHDRAW HIS
SERVICES ONLY FOR GOOD CAUSE AND UPON
NOTICE APPROPRIATE IN THE CIRCUMSTANCES.
Rule 22.01 - A lawyer may withdraw his services in any
of the following case:
(a) When the client pursues an illegal or immoral course
of conduct in connection with the matter he is handling;
(b) When the client insists that the lawyer pursue
conduct violative of these canons and rules;
(c) When his inability to work with co-counsel will not
promote the best interest of the client;
(d) When the mental or physical condition of the lawyer
renders it difficult for him to carry out the employment
effectively;

(e) When the client deliberately fails to pay the fees for
the services or fails to comply with the retainer agreement;
(f) When the lawyer is elected or appointed to public
office; and
(g) Other similar cases.
Rule 22.02 - A lawyer who withdraws or is discharged
shall, subject to a retainer lien, immediately turn over all
papers and property to which the client is entitled, and
shall cooperative with his successor in the orderly transfer
of the matter, including all information necessary for the
proper handling of the matter.

RULE 138
Attorneys and Admission to Bar

Section 20.
an attorney:

Duties of attorneys. It is the duty of

(a)
To maintain allegiance to the Republic of the
Philippines and to support the Constitution and obey the
laws of the Philippines.
(b)
To observe and maintain the respect due to the
courts of justice and judicial officers;
(c)
To counsel or maintain such actions or
proceedings only as appear to him to be just, and such
defenses only as he believes to be honestly debatable under
the law.
(d)
To employ, for the purpose of maintaining the
causes confided to him, such means only as are consistent
with truth and honor, and never seek to mislead the judge
or any judicial officer by an artifice or false statement of
fact or law;
(e)
To maintain inviolate the confidence, and at every
peril to himself, to preserve the secrets of his client, and to
accept no compensation in connection with his client's
business except from him or with his knowledge and
approval;
(f)
To abstain from all offensive personality and to
advance no fact prejudicial to the honor or reputation of a
party or witness, unless required by the justice of the cause
with which he is charged;
(g)
Not to encourage either the commencement or the
continuance of an action or proceeding, or delay any man's
cause, from any corrupt motive or interest;
(h)
Never to reject, for any consideration personal to
himself, the cause of the defenseless or oppressed;
(i)
In the defense of a person accused of crime, by all
fair and honorable means, regardless of his personal
opinion as to the guilt of the accused, to present every
defense that the law permits, to the end that no person may
be deprived of life or liberty, but by due process of law.