What is the importance of MCLE for lawyers? What are the consequences for a lawyer who does not attend MCLE?
All lawyers are mandated to complete every three (3) years at least thirty-six (36) hours of continuing legal education activities approved by the Mandatory Continuing Legal Education ( MCLE) Committee of the Supreme Court. MCLE is required for all members of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) to ensure that throughout their career, they keep abreast with the law and jurisprudence, maintain the ethics of the profession and enhance the standards of the practice of law (Section 1, Rule 1, Bar Matter 850, October 2, 2001). There, however, are members of the Bar who are exempted from the required legal education activities. These are as follows: (1) the President and Vice President of the Philippines, and the Secretaries and Undersecretaries of Executive Departments; (b) Senators and Members of the House of Representatives; (c) The Chief Justice and Associate Justices of the Supreme Court, incumbent and retired members of the judiciary, incumbent members of the Judicial and Bar Council and incumbent court lawyers covered by the Philippine Judicial Academy program of continuing judicial education; (d) The Chief State Counsel, Chief State Prosecutor and Assistant Secretaries of the Department of Justice; (e) The Solicitor General and the Assistant Solicitors General; (f) The Government Corporate Counsel, Deputy and Assistant Government Corporate Counsel; (g)The Chairmen and Members of the Constitutional Commissions; (h) The Ombudsman the Overall Deputy Ombudsman, the Deputy Ombudsman and the Special Prosecutor of the Office of the Ombudsman; (i) Head of government agencies exercising quasi-judicial functions; (j) Incumbent deans, bar reviewers and professors of law who have teaching experience for at least ten (10) years in accredited law schools; (k) The Chancellor, Vice Chancellor and members of the Corps of Professors and Professional Lecturers of the Philippine Judicial Academy ; and (l) Governors and Mayors. A lawyer may also be exempted from MCLE even if he is not included in the above list provided that he is not involved in the law practice either private or public or if he is already retired from practice with the approval of the IBP Board of Governors ( Section 1 and Section 2, Rule 7, Bar Matter 850).
A lawyer, not being exempted from MCLE, who fails to comply with the required legal education activities shall receive a Non-Compliance Notice and shall be required to explain the deficiency or otherwise show compliance with the requirements. A member who fails to satisfactory comply therewith shall be listed as a delinquent member by the IBP, wherein he shall be included in the inactive status. In addition thereto, he shall be required to pay non-compliance fee if he fails to comply with the non-compliance notice (Rule 12 and Rule 13, B.M. 850).
Moreover, it is required that 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. Failure to disclose the required information would cause the dismissal of the case and the expunction of the pleadings from the records (Bar Matter No. 1922, June 3, 2008).
We hope that we have answered your query. Our legal opinion may vary if other facts are stated or elaborated.
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