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Lawyers could evaluate documents declared confidential by a court

When they are evaluating or studying assuming legal representation in a case.

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In the Special Orders Calendar of the House of Representatives for tomorrow’s session, Tuesday, June 21, is the House Bill 81which seeks to amend the Rules of Civil Procedure for iInclude among the people with legitimate interest who can examine a file covered by a confidentiality rule, the lawyers who are evaluating or studying assuming legal representation in a case.

Read the measure here

According to the explanatory statement of the legislative piece, Rule 62.2 (b) of Civil Procedure provides that, “(l)information on the files of the cases that by law or by the court, on its own initiative or at the request of part, their confidentiality is arranged, as well as copies thereof, may be shown or delivered only to persons with legitimate interest, or to other persons by means of a court order and for just cause. The Rule defines what are persons of legitimate interest, including a generic category to cover any person that one of the parties to the lawsuit has authorized by sworn statement to see the file or receive a copy of it.

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Given the mobility that exists between Puerto Rico and other countries, particularly the United States, frequently a person who resides outside of Puerto Rico and is a party to a lawsuit filed here needs to hire their legal representation in Puerto Rico or replace the one they already have so that continue to represent him. These people usually face the difficulty that if the lawyer who is going to assume the representation does not know the file, which is usual, they cannot commit to assuming the legal representation because they are not adequately prepared to evaluate the matter. , guide the prospective client, estimate the value of their services, etc.

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Explains the measure that the solution that the civil procedural system has provided so far is that the client, through a sworn statement, authorizes the lawyer to examine the file. This can be complicated, since it requires completing a series of procedures.

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Rule 9 of Civil Procedure already provides that the signature of a lawyer on a brief is equivalent to certifying that, according to his knowledge, information and belief formed after reasonable investigation, said brief is well founded on the facts and is not filed for the purpose of causing injustice, delay, oppression, or increase the cost of litigation.

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Thus, it proposes the measure that in situations such as the one described above, it would be enough for an attorney to present a signed and dated document stating that they were contacted by the person who is outside of Puerto Rico and who is a party to the case. ; that said person has asked you to assume the legal representation of it; that she is available to assume the representation, but she does not have all the necessary elements to make a decision; that the review of the judicial file or obtaining a copy of it is essential to make her decision; that one of the parties in the case authorized it in writing to examine the file and/or obtain a copy of it; that the sole purpose of examining the file is to decide whether or not to accept legal representation; that he undertakes not to reveal the content of what was examined to unauthorized persons; and that it certifies, under the principle of Rule 9 of Civil Procedure, that what is stated in the document is true. You will be subject to the disciplinary and criminal consequences of a statement under Rule 9 of Civil Procedure not adjusted to the truth.

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The measure was introduced by representatives of the People’s Democratic Party (PPD), Jose “Connie” Varela Fernandez y Orlando Aponte Rosario.

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