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Active participation in the development of the legal profession, C3S34 CPRA

Section 34, Canon III

SECTION 34. Active participation in the development of the legal profession. – A lawyer shall participate in the development of the legal system by initiating or supporting efforts in law reform, the improvement of the administration of justice, strengthening the judicial and legal system, and advocacies in areas of special concern such as the environment, indigenous peoples’ rights, human rights, access to justice, and good governance. (2023 Code of Professional Responsibility and Accountability or CPRA)

1. Active participation in the development of the legal profession

Lawyers are required to actively participate in:

1) The development of the legal system by initiating or supporting efforts in law reform;

2) The improvement of the administration of justice, strengthening the judicial and legal system; and

3) Advocacies in areas of special concern

a. Law reform

Law reform – refers to “[t]he process of reviewing and updating law.” (Oxford Reference)

See related:

Institute of Government and Law Reform (IGLR)

b. Administration of justice, judicial and legal system

Time and again, the Court has repeatedly emphasized that the practice of law is imbued with public interest and that a lawyer owes substantial duties not only to his client, but also to his brethren in the profession, to the courts, and to the public, and takes part in the administration of justice, one of the most important functions of the State, as an officer of the court. (De Leon-Diaz v. Calayan, A.C. No. 9252, November 28, 2019, Per Peralta, C.J.)

As officers of the court, lawyers are called upon to assist in the administration of justice. They are vanguards of the legal system who are tasked to protect and uphold the truth and the rule of law; and are expected to act with honesty in all their dealings, especially with the court. Otherwise stated, “[t]o say that lawyers must at all times uphold and respect the law is to state the obvious, but this statement’s profound importance can never be over­stressed. Considering that, of all classes and professions, lawyers are most sacredly bound to uphold the law, it is imperative that they also live by the law.” (Cobarrubias-Nabaza v. Lavandero, A.M. No. 2017-07-SC, March 14, 2022, Per Perlas-Bernabe, J.)

As officers of the court, lawyers have a responsibility to assist in the proper administration of justice. They do not discharge this duty by filing frivolous petitions that only add to the workload of the judiciary. A lawyer is part of the machinery in the administration of justice. Like the court itself, he is an instrument to advance its ends—the speedy, efficient, impartial, correct and inexpensive adjudication of cases and the prompt satisfaction of final judgments. A lawyer should not only help attain these objectives but should likewise avoid any unethical or improper practices that impede, obstruct or prevent their realization, charged as he is with the primary task of assisting in the speedy and efficient administration of justice. (Simonetti v. Marapao, A.C. No. 10297, March 09, 2022, Per Dimaampao, J.)

When lawyers, in the performance of their duties, act in a manner that prejudices not only the rights of their client, but also of their colleagues and offends due administration of justice, appropriate disciplinary measures and proceedings are available such as reprimand, suspension or even disbarment to rectify their wrongful acts. (Alpajora v. Calayan, En Banc, A.C. No. 8208, January 10, 2018, Per Gesmundo, J.)

It cannot be gainsaid that candidness, especially towards the courts, is essential for the expeditious administration of justice. Courts are entitled to expect only complete candor and honesty from the lawyers appearing and pleading before them. A lawyer, on the other hand, has the fundamental duty to satisfy that expectation. Otherwise, the administration of justice would gravely suffer if indeed it could proceed at all. (Alpajora v. Calayan [2018], supra.)

c. Advocacies in areas of special concern

Lawyers may actively advocate in areas of special concern, including but not limited to the following:

1) Environment;

2) Indigenous peoples’ rights;

3) Human rights;

4) Access to justice; and

5) Good governance.

References

Canon III, 2023 Code of Professional Responsibility

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