Why this guide?
Q. “In reading the legal manual, I could not understand many or some of the legal terminologies or expressions used in the manual. Or, I have a problem or inquiry that is not covered by your manual. What should I do?”
R. While ERCOF had tried its best to use the simplest language and expressions in this manual, certain legal terminologies could not be avoided or simplified. This first edition was not also meant to cover all legal situations, and a second and more comprehensive edition is already being planned. The best thing to do would be to contact us or any of our focal persons or organizations listed in the appendix, through email, telephone or fax. You may also ask a relative or friend in the Philippines to contact us personally. We would be happy to assist you in answering your questions, or direct you to others who may help.
Q. What are the costs for the legal service?
R. Ordinarily, Ercof will not charge anything if the inquiry involves a simple request for legal guidance or information that may be acted upon by email or telephone, and would not entail any financial outlays from Ercof. Ercof is setting up a legal fund to sustain this service, and voluntary donations of any amount would be welcome.
It is when the legal matter involves an extended period of consultation or would need the services of a specific lawyer, where it is difficult to give an estimation of the costs for legal services as its computation depends on several factors such as:
:: Nature of legal action to be initiated or defended
:: Intricacies of the legal issues involved and amount of investigation and research necessary to prosecute, defend, or appeal
:: Standing and reputation of the law office or lawyer engaged to handle the case
:: Other factors such as distance of the court from the counsel’s office; legal fees required by the Supreme Court in prosecuting a case; reproduction of pleadings; transcription of proceedings by the clerk of court; and other incidental expenses.
Nevertheless, costs for legal services will generally include the following:
a. Acceptance Fee — the fee paid to the lawyer/law office for accepting the responsibility of representing the client. This fee does not include the costs for actual representation or intervention.
b. Attorney’s Fees — the cost for legal services rendered by the counsel to the client in a specific case or legal action. This may be computed on a time basis (hourly rate); stage billing (predetermined amount to be paid at each stage of the case); or some other arrangment agreed upon between the client and counsel.
...To be continued