(Question VI, Legal and Judicial Ethics, 2017 Bar Exam)
For services to be rendered by Atty. Hamilton as counsel for Gener in a civil case involving the recovery of the ownership and possession of a parcel of land with an area of 5,000 square meters, the two of them agreed on a success fee for Atty. Hamilton of ₱50,000.00 plus 500 square meters of the land. The trial court ultimately rendered judgment in favor of Gener, and the judgment became final and executory. After receiving ₱50,000.00, Atty. Hamilton demanded the transfer to him of the promised 500 square meters of the land.
Instead of complying, Gener brought an administrative complaint charging Atty. Hamilton with violation of the Code of Professional Responsibility and Art. 1491(5) of the Civil Code for demanding the delivery of a portion of the land subject of the litigation.
Is Atty. Hamilton liable under the Code of Professional Responsibility and the Civil Code? Explain your answer. (4%)
Under the Civil Code, lawyers representing clients are prohibited from acquiring properties under litigation or subject of the dispute to which they represent clients. The prohibition does not apply where the case is already final and executory. Rule
In the case at bar, the cases involving the subject property has already reached finality. Accordingly, the prohibition no longer applies. Atty. Hamilton may thus demand the transfer to him of the promised 500 square meters of the land. Apply
Thus, Atty. Hamilton is not liable under the Code of Professional Responsibility. Conclusion
(Notice: The suggested answers simulate those that a bar examinee may provide, and thus specific citations are not provided. Notwithstanding, in the reviewers, the bar exam question is answered under the appropriate topic which discusses the concepts and principles, as well as provide for specific citations. Accordingly, please refer to it on the reviewer or in the Library.)
Lawyer, Author, Mentor