Docket fees NOT required for motion to enter lien into records

The registration of the lien should also be distinguished from the enforcement of the lien. Registration merely determines the birth of the lien. The enforcement of the lien, on the other hand, can only take place once a final money judgment has been secured in favor of the client. The enforcement of the lien is a claim for attorney’s fees that may be prosecuted in the very action where the attorney rendered his services or in a separate action.

However, a motion for the enforcement of the lien is in the nature of an action commenced by a lawyer against his clients for attorney’s fees. As in every action for a sum of money, the attorney-movant must first pay the prescribed docket fees before the trial court can acquire jurisdiction to order the payment of attorney’s fees.

Lastly, the enforcement of a charging lien can only take place after a final money judgment has been rendered in favor of the client. The lien only attaches to the money judgment due to the client and is contingent on the final determination of the main case. Until the money judgment has become final and executory, enforcement of the lien is premature.

The RTC again abused its discretion in this respect because it prematurely enforced the lien and issued a writ of execution even before the main case became final; no money judgment was as yet due to the client to which the lien could have attached itself. Execution was improper because the enforceability of the lien is contingent on a final and executory award of money to the client. This Court notes that in CA-G.R. SP No. 108734, the CA nullified the "award" to which the RTC attached the attorney’s lien as there was nothing due to the petitioner. Thus, enforcement of the lien was premature.

Docket fees not required for motion to enter into records an attorney's lien but required for motion for the enforcement of the lien. (September 2, 2015; G.R. No. 191641)

Popular Posts