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Encroaching or interfering in another lawyer’s engagement, exception, C2S24 CPRA

Section 24, Canon II

SECTION 24. Encroaching or interfering in another lawyer’s engagement; exception. – A lawyer shall not, directly or indirectly, encroach upon or interfere in the professional engagement of another lawyer.
This includes a lawyer’s attempt to communicate, negotiate, or deal with the person represented by another lawyer on any matter, whether pending or not in any court, tribunal, body, or agency, unless when initiated by the client or with the knowledge of the latter’s lawyer.
A lawyer, however, may give proper advice and assistance to anyone seeking relief against perceived unfaithful or neglectful counsel based on the Code. (2023 Code of Professional Responsibility and Accountability or CPRA)

1. Encroaching or interfering in another lawyer’s engagement; exception

a. Non-encroachment rule

Under the non-encroachment rule in Section 34, Canon II, whether directly or indirectly, lawyers are prohibited from encroaching upon or interfere in the professional engagement of another lawyer.

Where a lawyer, who was not a counsel on record for either party, constantly checked the transmittal of the records of a Civil Case, it was held that he deliberately encroached upon the legal functions of the counsel of record of that case. It does not matter whether he did so in good faith. (Dallong-Galicinao v. Castro, A.C. No. 6396, 25 October 2005)

Where a lawyer, through his paralegal, convinced clients of another to switch counsels with the promise of financial assistance or loan in the amount of Php50,000.00, he encroached on the professional practice of the other lawyer. (Linsangan v. Tolentino, A.C. No. 6672, 04 September 2009)

1) Prohibited communications

The prohibition against non-encroachment includes a lawyer’s attempt to communicate, negotiate, or deal with the person represented by another lawyer on any matter, whether pending or not in any court, tribunal, body, or agency.

a) Exceptions

The prohibition against communicating, negotiating, dealing with a person already represented by another lawyer is subject to the following exceptions:

1) when initiated by the client;

2) with the knowledge of the latter’s lawyer; and

3) Giving proper advice and assistance to anyone seeking relief against perceived unfaithful or neglectful counsel based on the Code.

Rodica v. Lazaro, A.C. No. 9259, 23 August 2012:

• [Respondent-lawyer was well aware that Rodica was represented by another counsel in the RTC case. As a practicing lawyer, he should know that it is the said counsel, Atty. Ibutnande, who has the duty to prepare the said motion. In fact, he himself stated that it is Atty. Ibutnande who is in a better position to evaluate the merit of the withdrawal of the Motion for Reconsideration. Atty. Espejo’s claim that he drafted and signed the pleading just to extend assistance to Rodica deserves scant consideration.

References

Canon II, 2023 Code of Professional Responsibility

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