Constitutional Law

A.M. No. 08-11-7-SC RE: REQUEST OF NATIONAL COMMITTEE ON LEGAL AID TO EXEMPT LEGAL AID CLIENTS FROM PAYING FILING, DOCKET AND OTHER FEES

FACTS:

On September 23, 2008 the Misamis Oriental Chapter of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) promulgated Resolution No. 24, series of 2008. The resolution requested the IBP’s National Committee on Legal Aid (NCLA) to ask for the exemption from the payment of filing, docket and other fees of clients of the legal aid offices in the various IBP chapters.

 

ISSUE:

Should indigent litigants be exempted from paying docket fees?

RULING:

YES. The Constitution guarantees the rights of the poor to free access to the courts and to adequate legal assistance. The legal aid service rendered by the NCLA and legal aid offices of IBP chapters nationwide addresses only the right to adequate legal assistance. Recipients of the service of the NCLA and legal aid offices of IBP chapters may enjoy free access to courts by exempting them from the payment of fees assessed in connection with the filing of a complaint or action in court. With these twin initiatives, the guarantee of Section 11, Article III of Constitution is advanced and access to justice is increased by bridging a significant gap and removing a major roadblock.

 

 

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