Awarding of reasonable attorney's fees

It bears to stress that power of the court to award attorney's fees demands factual, legal, and equitable justification, without which the award is a conclusion without a premise, its basis being improperly left to speculation and conjecture.[1] As elucidated in the case of S.C. Megaworld Construction and Development Corporation v. Parada:[2]
Article 2208 of the New Civil Code enumerates the instances where such may be awarded and, in all cases, it must be reasonable, just and equitable if the same were to be granted. Attorney's fees as part of damages are not meant to enrich the winning party at the expense of the losing litigant. They are not awarded every time a party prevails in a suit because of the policy that no premium should be placed on the right to litigate. The award of attorney's fees is the exception. rather than the general rule. As such, it is necessary for the trial court to make findings of facts and law that would bring the case within the exception and justify the grant of such award. The matter of attorney's fees cannot be mentioned only in the dispositive portion of the decision. They must be clearly explained and justified by the trial court in the body of its decision. On appeal, the CA is precluded from supplementing the bases for awarding attorney's fees when the trial court failed to discuss in its Decision the reasons for awarding the same. Consequently, the award of attorney's fees should be deleted.[3]

[1] Buñing v. Santos, 533 Phil. 610, 617 (2006).

[2] G.R. No. 183804, September 11, 2013, 705 SCRA 584.

[3] Id. at 611-612, citing Frias v. San Diego-Sison, 549 Phil. 49, 63-65 (2007). 

Popular Posts