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Small Claims Court

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  • 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. THE OBJECTIVE OF THE RULE
    • 1. SIMPLE
    • 2. INEXPENSIVE
    • 3. EXPEDITIOUS
  • 3. THE SALIENT FEATURES OF THE RULE
    • 1. COVERAGE
    • Money claims = P100,000.00 and below excluding interest, attorney's fees and costs (Sections 2, 4, 6)
    • 2. WHERE TO FILE
    • Pilot Courts = First Level Courts at place of residence of plaintiff or defendant, at plaintiff's option (Sections 4, 25 cf. ROC)
  • 4. THE SALIENT FEATURES OF THE RULE
    • 3. NO LAWYERS
    • “ 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
    • Lawyers may still participate: (1) to give legal advice; (2) to prepare pleadings, motions, evidence, etc.; (3) to notarize;
  • 5. THE SALIENT FEATURES OF THE RULE
    • 4. INFORMATION OFFICERS
    • Clerks of Courts have been designated as “Information Officers” to provide assistance to litigants about the Rule and available forms. (Section 15)
  • 6. THE SALIENT FEATURES OF THE RULE
    • 5. FORMS
    • All forms are ready-made and free at the OCC (Section 15). The COC is also authorized to notarize, as necessary, for free.
    • The forms may be used themselves or only as a guide to prepare more detailed pleadings/motions.
  • 7. THE SALIENT FEATURES OF THE RULE
    • 6. ONE DAY HEARING AND JUDGMENT
    • On the day of hearing, the Small Claims Court must render judgment, either on the merits or based on the parties' agreement. (Section 23)
  • 8. THE SALIENT FEATURES OF THE RULE
    • 7. JUDICIAL DISPUTE RESOLUTION (JDR)
    • 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)
  • 9. THE SALIENT FEATURES OF THE RULE
    • 8. JUDGMENT FINAL AND UNAPPEALABLE
    • The decision in Small Claims Cases is final and not subject to appeal (Section 23). It is immediately executory upon motion (Section 24).
    • The remedy of the losing party is a petition for certiorari for grave abuse of discretion (Rule 65, ROC).
  • 10. THE SALIENT FEATURES OF THE RULE
    • 9. NO POSTPONEMENT
    • General Rule: no postponement
    • 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).
  • 11. PRELIMINARY FEEDB ACK
    • FROM OCT. 1, 2008 TO JANUARY 21, 2009 IN 22 PILOT COURTS
    • CASES FILED: 1,750
    • PLAINTIFFS: 28% INDIVIDUALS, 72% JURIDICAL ENTITIES
    • DISPOSAL RATE: 45% DISPOSED OF WITHIN SAME PERIOD: 37% AMICABLY SETTLED, 8% ON THE MERITS
    • AVERAGE CASE LIFETIME: 1-3 MONTHS
  • 12.
    • THANK YOU