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Pro bono limited legal services, C3S36 CPRA

Section 36, Canon III

SECTION 36. Pro bono Limited Legal Services. – A lawyer appointed by the court as counsel de officio shall not refuse to render Limited Legal Services pro bono on the ground of conflict of interest. Instead, the lawyer shall disclose to all affected parties such conflict of interest.
In any case, the lawyer may not refuse to render such pro bono legal services to the person concerned if only to the extent necessary to safeguard the latter’s fundamental rights and not to deprive such person of remedies available under the law or rules.
A lawyer currently serving in the government shall not be exempt from pro bono service and may be appointed by any court, tribunal, or other government agency as counsel de officio, unless prohibited by law, or the applicable Civil Service rules and regulations, or when there is a conflict of interest with the government. (2023 Code of Professional Responsibility and Accountability or CPRA)

1. Pro bono Limited Legal Services

a. Counsel de officio

Under this section, when lawyers are appointed by the court as counsel de officio, they are prohibited from refusing “to render Limited Legal Services pro bono on the ground of conflict of interest.”

1) Disclose conflict of interest

If there is such conflict, lawyers are instead required to “disclose to all affected parties such conflict of interest.”

2) Absolute prohibition

Regardless of the case, lawyer are prohibited from refusing to render such pro bono legal services “to the person concerned if only to the extent necessary”:

1) To safeguard the concerned person’s fundamental rights; and

2) To not deprive such person of remedies available under the law or rules.

3) Lawyers in government service, not exempt from pro bono service

Lawyers in the government service are “not be exempt from pro bono service and may be appointed by any court, tribunal, or other government agency as counsel de officio.”

a) Exceptions

The non-exemption from pro bono service for government lawyers us subject to the following exceptions:

1) Prohibited by law;

2) Prohibited by applicable Civil Service rules and regulations; or

3) When there is a conflict of interest with the government.

References

Canon III, 2023 Code of Professional Responsibility

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