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Duty to all client to rectify fraudulent act, C3S9 CPRA

Section 9, Canon III

SECTION 9. Duty to call client to rectify fraudulent act. -A lawyer who receives information that a client has, in the course of the representation, perpetrated a fraud in relation to any matter subject of the representation before a court, tribunal, or other government agency, or against any officer thereof, shall promptly call upon the client to rectify the same. Such fraudulent act on the part of the client shall be a ground for the termination by the lawyer of the engagement. (2023 Code of Professional Responsibility and Accountability or CPRA)

1. Duty to call client to rectify fraudulent act

Under this section, if lawyers receive information “that a client has, in the course of the representation, perpetrated a fraud in relation to any matter subject of the representation before a court, tribunal, or other government agency, or against any officer thereof,” they are required to “promptly call upon the client to rectify the same.”

While a lawyer must advocate his client’s cause in utmost earnestness and with the maximum skill he can marshal, he is not at liberty to resort to illegal means for his client’s interest. It is, therefore, the duty of an attorney to employ, for the purpose of maintaining the causes confided to him, such means as are consistent with truth and honor. (Manalad v. Paglinawan, A.C. No. 5059, January 12, 2021)

Dalisay v. Mauricio, Jr., A.C. No. 5655, January 23, 2006, Per Sandoval-Gutierrez, J.:

• [Respondent-lawyer] accuses [the Complainant] of offering falsified documentary evidence in Civil Case No. 00-004, prompting him to file falsification cases against her. He thus justifies his inability to render legal services to complainant.

• Assuming that complainant indeed offered falsified documentary evidence in Civil Case No. 00-044, will it be sufficient to exonerate respondent? We believe not. First, Canon 19 outlines the procedure in dealing with clients who perpetrated fraud in the course of a legal proceeding…

• As a lawyer, respondent is expected to know [the rule on calling out a client who committed fraud]. Instead of inaction, he should have confronted complainant and ask her to rectify her fraudulent representation. If complainant refuses, then he should terminate his relationship with her.

a. Gound for termination of engagement

Under this section, the said fraudulent act by the client “shall be a ground for the termination by the lawyer of the engagement.”

NB: The use of the word “shall” instead of the word “may” seems to indicate that lawyers are required to terminate the engagement notwithstanding any rectification made by the client. If “may” was used instead, then lawyers may continue the engagement if the client rectified the fraudulent act.

References

Canon III, 2023 Code of Professional Responsibility

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