Thursday, May 22, 2008

"Substitution" of Counsel

Q: ATTY RC, a party's original counsel of record, did not appeal the Labor Arbiter's decision. However, ATTY VS filed a notice of entry of appearance as the party's counsel of record and filed an appeal from the Labor Arbiter's Decision without complying with Section 26, Rule 138 of the Rules of Court (i.e. In case of substitution, the name of the attorney newly employed shall be entered on the docket of the court in place of the former one, and written notice of the change shall be given to the adverse party).

Was the substitution invalid, thereby making the Labor Arbiter's Decision final?

A: No.

A party may have two or more lawyers working in collaboration in a given litigation. Substitution of counsel should not be presumed from the mere filing of a notice of appearance of a new lawyer. The fact that a second attorney enters his appearance for the same party does not necessarily raise the presumption that the authority of the first attorney has been withdrawn. The entry of appearance of ATTY VS should not give rise to the presumption that ATTY RC withdrew his appearance as counsel in the absence of a formal withdrawal of appearance. ATTY VS should only be treated as collaborating counsel despite his appearance as “the new counsel of record.”

Case: San Miguel Corp. v. Pontillas, G.R. No. 155178, May 7, 2008.
Photo: · YeahjaleaH ·, Creative Commons, Flickr

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