Strengthening Ethical Standards: Philippines Launches Code of Professional Responsibility and Accountability

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Manila (Philippines), 30 May 2023 - The Philippine legal community took a significant step towards establishing high ethical standards with the launch of the Code of Professional Responsibility and Accountability (CPRA) on April 13, 2023. Supported by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), this launch signifies a crucial milestone in building trust within the profession.

The CPRA serves as the definitive Code of Conduct for lawyers, providing a robust framework deeply rooted in ethical values and integrity. Its comprehensive provisions reflect the shared commitment of legal practitioners to upholding the highest professional standards, thereby reaffirming confidence in the justice system.

The collaboration between the Philippines and UNODC, the Guardian of the United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC) and the Secretariat of the Conference of States Parties, ensured the alignment of the CPRA with the core principles outlined in Article 11 of the UNCAC. This article focuses on preventing corruption in the judiciary and promoting integrity within the judicial system, underscoring the code's relevance and importance.

During the launch event, Chief Justice Alexander Gesmundo delivered a keynote address, emphasizing the pivotal role of the CPRA within the Strategic Plan for Judicial Innovations 2022-2027. The code sets forth a clear path for legal professionals, guiding them with unwavering integrity in their roles.

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The launch event witnessed the presence of notable attendees, including Secretary of Justice Jesus Crispin Remulla, Solicitor General Menardo Guevarra, Prosecutor General Benedicto Malcontento, and esteemed Supreme Court Justice En Banc. Together with Chief Justice Gesmundo, they signed the Manifesto of Ethical Commitment, demonstrating their unified dedication to upholding the principles enshrined in the CPRA.

Panel discussions held during the launch explored pertinent topics, including the future of law practice in the ASEAN region, the role of academia in cultivating ethical lawyers, and the impact of technology on the legal profession. These engaging discussions provided a platform for participants to delve into the implications and challenges associated with the CPRA, fostering collaborative efforts to elevate ethical standards across the legal fraternity.

The event gathered approximately 300 attendees, predominantly comprising lawyers from the judiciary, prosecution, and the national government. This assembly exemplified the collective commitment to upholding the principles of the CPRA and advancing ethical standards within the legal profession. The presence of such a significant number of legal professionals underscored the importance attached to this occasion, as stakeholders from various sectors united in fostering a culture of integrity and professionalism.

With the launch of the Code of Professional Responsibility and Accountability, the Philippine legal community embarks on a transformative journey towards a strengthened ethical framework. This significant step aims to restore trust in the justice system and nurture a culture of unwavering integrity among legal practitioners, laying a solid foundation for a just and ethical legal landscape.

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A video recording of this event can be found on YouTube here.

This event was conducted as part of a package of activities funded by the Kingdom of Denmark.

Other Useful Links:

  • A summary of a consultation with the Supreme Court in the Philippines held in Manila in December 2022 can be found here.
  • A description of an offshore financial investigations training held in the Philippines in November 2022 can be found here.
  • A summary of activities by the UNODC Anti-Corruption Team in Southeast Asia is publicly available via our website here.