Penalty for Failure to Indicate Mandatory Continuing Legal Education (MCLE) Compliance

For those who have not complied with the requirements for the Mandatory Continuing Legal Education (MCLE), here’s an “incentive” to act really fast. The Supreme Court issued Bar Matter No. 1922 dated 3 June 2008 (published today, 26 June 2008, in the Manila Bulletin), which reads in full:

Bar Matter No. 1922. – Re: Recommendation of the Mandatory Continuing Legal Education (MCLE) Board to Indicate in All Pleadings Filed with the Courts the Counsel’s MCLE Certificate of Compliance or Certificate of Exemption. – The Court Resolved to NOTE the Letter, dated May 2, 2008, of Associate Justice Antonio Eduardo B. Nachura, Chairperson, Committee on Legal Education and Bar Matters, informing the Court of the diminishing interest of the members of the Bar in the MCLE requirement program.

Court further Resolved, upon the recommendation of the Committee on Legal Education and Bar Matters, to REQUIRE practicing members of the bar to INDICATE in all pleadings filed before the courts or quasi-judicial bodies, the number and date of issue of their MCLE Certificate of Compliance or Certificate of Exemption, as may be applicable, for the immediately preceding compliance period. Failure to disclose the required information would cause the dismissal of the case and the expunction of the pleadings from the records.

The New Rule shall take effect sixty (60) days after its publication in a newspaper of general circulation.”

This is already a requirement in the Court of Tax Appeals (CTA), which, in our experience, is strict in enforcing it. Update: Compliance extended to 1 January 2009. Please see full text here.

40 comments

  1. Hi. Based on Bar Matter 1922 and its extension there is a penalty if a lawyer does not indicate his MCLE Compliance in a pleading. What about appearing before the court? Can a lawyer who has not complied with MCLE make a formal appearance in court?

  2. Sirs/Madames:
    Your Honors –

    It says “failure to disclose . . . would result to dismissal of case. This pre-supposes a plaintiff or petitioner’s position. How about if the lawyer is for the Respondent or Defendant? Certainly, a case may not and should not be dismissed from this end. As it is not specifically stated, if the lawyer who failed to provide MCLE compliance, would “default” with prejudice apply?

  3. for victor.
    your query just happened last january somewhere in bicol. two judges dismissed the cases for violations of ordinances. it was premeditated. other cases filed by the prosecutor and his assistants were spared. bar matter no. 1922 was just used as a facade for the judges to avenge the local chief executive’s policy against indirect bribing of the local judiciary… well, i guess somebody should raise this trivial question of law to the higher court.

  4. Hi atty. Fred…thanx for your blog…big help. well, i was admitted to Bar in 2007… i also completed my MCLE…already have my MCLE Compliance No. kaya lang, may ibang lawyers magaling palusot… they still have up to 2010 for the compliance… wala po ba implementing rules and Bar Matter 1922 as to who are exempted to comply? thanks a lot.

  5. Anyone could enlighten me again on my predicament:

    I was tasked to appear before the City Prosecutor’s Office here in Manila. I handed over to the fiscal the ex parte entry of appearance in behalf of our client and he noticed that there is no MCLE compliance stated after the name ang signature of the counsel. The opposing counsel objected the same considering that allegedly it is not in accordance with the mandate of the Supreme Court regarding MLCE Compliance among lawyers. After a careful reading about the provisions relating to MCLE Compliance, it uses the word “ALL PLEADINGS”. I look into the Black’s Law dictionary and the Rules of Court regarding the definition of Pleading and I think Ex Parte Entry of Appearance is not considered as a pleading. The same holds true with Manifestation in compliance with the Court’s Order. Who is correct?

    Last thing, are the receiving clerks allowed to REFUSE to accept pleadings submitted before them when the counsel failed to indicate MCLE Compliance? Does it run contrary to their ministerial duty?

  6. Sirs,

    The DOJ, in its Circular PROVIDING FOR GUIDELINES FOR IMPLEMENTING THE PROSECUTION SERVICE ACT OF 2010, declared on June 25, 2010 :

    xxx

    Sec. 607. Exemption from MCLE. – Incumbent and retired prosecutors of the national prosecution service shall be exempt from mandatory continuing legal education required of members of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines under Bar Matter No. 850. (7/1[c])

    xxx

    Now, my question is, is the DOJ equipped with the power to declare such when the practice of law is regulated/vested only in the Supreme Court? This comes to mind because although court lawyers may be exempt from the MCLE requirement, such court lawyers have a form of MCLE in the guise of attending PhilJA Accredited trainings. In here, the DOJ makes mo alternative seminars that may be considered as a conuterpart, andit seems that they took it upon themselves to just insert this “Rider” with no qualifications.

    Would it be safe to speculate that the DOJ crossed the line with this?

    Your thoughts qould be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks!

  7. Atty. Lamberto V. Fullante of PAO-Calauag is not attending MCLE. His pleadings do NOT contain any indication of MCLE compliance for so long. Strictly speaking, all pleadings that he has filed should be expunged from the records, and all cases he has handled has to be dismissed because of such non-compliance. However, his pleadings remain in the case dockets and the cases he handle are still being heard and tried because of his popularity and influence before the courts and its magistrates.

    What is a good sanction upon him?

    Thank you.

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