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  • Registration certificate 06691200
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Purpose of acceptance fee

Dear PAO,
I have a problem regarding my land, which is also being claimed by my neighbor. I am now contemplating on filing a suit against my neighbor and have already talked to several lawyers who have asked for an acceptance fee. I am willing to pay the said fee, but I would like to know if I can demand a refund, assuming I terminate the services of that lawyer. What is the purpose of this kind of fee?

Dear Monson,
In general, the fees to be collected by lawyers must be in consonance with Section 41, Canon III of Administrative Matter 22-09-01-SC, dated April 11, 2023, or the Code of Professional Responsibility and Accountability (CPRA), issued by the Supreme Court, which states that:

«Section 41. Fair and reasonable fees. — A lawyer shall charge only fair and reasonable fees.
»Attorney's fees shall be deemed fair and reasonable if determined based on the following factors:

"(a) The time spent and the extent of the service rendered or required;
"(b) The novelty and difficulty of the issues involved;


"© The skill or expertise of the lawyer, including the level of study and experience required for the engagement;
"(d) The probability of losing other engagements as a result of acceptance of the case;

"(e) The customary charges for similar services and the recommended schedule of fees, which the IBP chapter shall provide;
"(f) The quantitative or qualitative value of the client's interest in the engagement, or the benefits resulting to the client from the service;


"(g) The contingency or certainty of compensation;
"(h) The character of the engagement, whether limited, seasonal, or otherwise; and

"(i) Other analogous factors."
Thus, attorney's fees and other fees may be charged by the lawyer. Other fees include the acceptance fee, which may be imposed by mere acceptance of the case. The difference between the attorney's fee and acceptance fee was succinctly explained in the case of Ignacio vs. Alviar, AC 11482, July 17, 2017, where the Supreme Court, through Associate Justice Noel Tijam, stated that:


«As regards the restitution of the acceptance fees, We find it necessary to first distinguish between an