Small Claims Court


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Small Claims Court

  1. 1. Rule of Procedure for Small Claims Cases (A.M. NO. 08-8-7-SC) 2009 RBAP-MABS National Round table Conference May 12-13, 2009 Hyatt Hotel and Casino Manila Judge Monette Singh Regional Trial Court Judge, Quezon City Supreme Court Technical Working Group for Small Claims Court
  2. 2. THE OBJECTIVE OF THE RULE <ul><li>1. SIMPLE </li></ul><ul><li>2. INEXPENSIVE </li></ul><ul><li>3. EXPEDITIOUS </li></ul>
  3. 3. THE SALIENT FEATURES OF THE RULE <ul><li>1. COVERAGE </li></ul><ul><li>Money claims = P100,000.00 and below excluding interest, attorney's fees and costs (Sections 2, 4, 6) </li></ul><ul><li>2. WHERE TO FILE </li></ul><ul><li>Pilot Courts = First Level Courts at place of residence of plaintiff or defendant, at plaintiff's option (Sections 4, 25 cf. ROC) </li></ul>
  4. 4. THE SALIENT FEATURES OF THE RULE <ul><li>3. NO LAWYERS </li></ul><ul><li>“ No attorney shall appear in behalf of or represent a party at the hearing, unless the attorney is the plaintiff or defendant.” (Sections 17, 16) – cannot sign the pleadings/motions </li></ul><ul><li>Lawyers may still participate: (1) to give legal advice; (2) to prepare pleadings, motions, evidence, etc.; (3) to notarize; </li></ul>
  5. 5. THE SALIENT FEATURES OF THE RULE <ul><li>4. INFORMATION OFFICERS </li></ul><ul><li>Clerks of Courts have been designated as “Information Officers” to provide assistance to litigants about the Rule and available forms. (Section 15) </li></ul>
  6. 6. THE SALIENT FEATURES OF THE RULE <ul><li>5. FORMS </li></ul><ul><li>All forms are ready-made and free at the OCC (Section 15). The COC is also authorized to notarize, as necessary, for free. </li></ul><ul><li>The forms may be used themselves or only as a guide to prepare more detailed pleadings/motions. </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul>
  7. 7. THE SALIENT FEATURES OF THE RULE <ul><li>6. ONE DAY HEARING AND JUDGMENT </li></ul><ul><li>On the day of hearing, the Small Claims Court must render judgment, either on the merits or based on the parties' agreement. (Section 23) </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul>
  8. 8. THE SALIENT FEATURES OF THE RULE <ul><li>7. JUDICIAL DISPUTE RESOLUTION (JDR) </li></ul><ul><li>At the hearing, the court will first try to mediate between the parties. If judicial mediation succeeds, a judgment based on the parties' agreement will issue. If it fails, a judgment on the merits must be rendered. (Sections 21, 22, 23) </li></ul>
  9. 9. THE SALIENT FEATURES OF THE RULE <ul><li>8. JUDGMENT FINAL AND UNAPPEALABLE </li></ul><ul><li>The decision in Small Claims Cases is final and not subject to appeal (Section 23). It is immediately executory upon motion (Section 24). </li></ul><ul><li>The remedy of the losing party is a petition for certiorari for grave abuse of discretion (Rule 65, ROC). </li></ul>
  10. 10. THE SALIENT FEATURES OF THE RULE <ul><li>9. NO POSTPONEMENT </li></ul><ul><li>General Rule: no postponement </li></ul><ul><li>Exception: physical inability (1) request for postponement; (2) proof of physical inability; (3) not later than date and time of hearing; (4) only one postponement per party (Section 19). </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul>
  11. 11. PRELIMINARY FEEDB ACK <ul><li>FROM OCT. 1, 2008 TO JANUARY 21, 2009 IN 22 PILOT COURTS </li></ul><ul><li>CASES FILED: 1,750 </li></ul><ul><li>PLAINTIFFS: 28% INDIVIDUALS, 72% JURIDICAL ENTITIES </li></ul><ul><li>DISPOSAL RATE: 45% DISPOSED OF WITHIN SAME PERIOD: 37% AMICABLY SETTLED, 8% ON THE MERITS </li></ul><ul><li>AVERAGE CASE LIFETIME: 1-3 MONTHS </li></ul>
  12. 12. <ul><li>THANK YOU </li></ul>