Monday, April 7, 2014

Award of Attorney’s Fees

With respect to the award of attorney's fees to respondents, no sufficient basis was established for the grant thereof.
It is well settled that attorney's fees should not be awarded in the absence of stipulation except under the instances enumerated in Article 2208 of the Civil Code. As we have held in Rizal Surety and Insurance Company v. Court of Appeals:23
Article 2208 of the Civil Code allows attorney's fees to be awarded by a court when its claimant is compelled to litigate with third persons or to incur expenses to protect his interest by reason of an unjustified act or omission of the party from whom it is sought. While judicial discretion is here extant, an award thereof demands, nevertheless, a factual, legal or equitable justification. The matter cannot and should not be left to speculation and conjecture (Mirasol vs. De la Cruz, 84 SCRA 337; Stronghold Insurance Company, Inc. vs. Court of Appeals, 173 SCRA 619).
In the case at bench, the records do not show enough basis for sustaining the award for attorney's fees and to adjudge its payment by petitioner. x x x.
Likewise, this Court held in Stronghold Insurance Company, Inc. vs. Court of Appeals that:
"In Abrogar v. Intermediate Appellate Court G.R. No. 67970, January 15, 1988, 157 SCRA 57], the Court had occasion to state that '[t]he reason for the award of attorney's fees must be stated in the text of the court's decision, otherwise, if it is stated only in the dispositive portion of the decision, the same must be disallowed on appeal.' x x x."24
Spouses Francisco M. Hernandez, et al. v. Spouses Lorenzo Dolor, et al.,  G.R. No. 160286, July 30, 2004
Read the full text of the case here.

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