Thursday, December 14, 2006

Criminal liability of a fake lawyer

One who performs the duties of an attorney even if he is not licensed to practice, can be held criminally liable.
First, this is a kind of usurpation which is punishable in the Philippines under the Revised Penal Code.
He can be held liable for "Usurpation of authority of official functions", under Article 177 of the criminal code.
This provision punishes a person who perofrms any act "pertaining to any person in authority or public office of the Philippine government ....or any agency thereof, under the pretense of official position, and without being lawfully entitiled to do so."
Lawyers,at least in the Philippines, are "officers of the court", hence public officers of the Philippine government or its agency.
In the case of a fake lawyer, who executes an affidavit---a sworn statement---he can be held, in addition, for perjury.
Perjury is also punishable under Article 183 of the Revised Penal Code of the Philippines.
Perjury punishes a person who executes in an affidavit upon a material matter, a willful and deliberate assertion of a falsehood, made before a competent officer authorized to receive or administer oath, which affidavit is required by law.
So a fake lawyer could be facing two criminal offenses.
My client, who was charged by this fake lawyer can initiate this criminal charge.
As a matter of litigation strategy, this would be a counter-move to "break down" the opponent.
However, the judicial autorities cannot act by itself (motu proprio) against this fake lawyer, because he is not under supervision of the Supreme Court, simply because he is not a lawyer.
Once I get that certification from the Supreme Court, this fake lawyer will be in hot waters.


Anonymous said...

what about if a person gumagawa ng legal docs and just make gaya-gaya ang lagda na totoong lawyer? anong liability nyan?

Jay Dejaresco said...

That would be falsification of either public or private documents (Article 171 or 172 of the REvised Penal Code). It is falsification because he is making it a appear that the totoong lawyer participated in an act (signing/executing a legal document), which in truth, he did not.