“He who has less in life should have more in law.”
-President Ramon Magsaysay
I thought this day would be an idle day for me since it is Friday however, I was wrong. We had three cases of small claims. I consider it as our baptism of fire since it is the first time that the court where I am employed handled small claims actions.
I do not know if every Filipino is aware that small claims exists. This so-called Small Claims is the Supreme Court’s initiative to settle money dispute that is not more than One Hundred Thousand Pesos. This is a process of settling an issue arising from a simple contract legally without the participation of lawyers. This also aims to reduce the backlogs of the courts of civil cases involving collection of money. The jurisdiction to hear Small Claims cases belongs to the lower courts except the Sharia courts. This is a speedy process of collecting money since the judgment is rendered within the same day that the case is heard.(This is the reason why I had lunch around 1 pm already hehehe)
This procedure only involves the judge who acts as both the lawyer of both the plaintiff and the defendant (well, that is how my boss puts it). The judge acts as the arbiter hearing both sides of the plaintiff and defendant who in turn would lay down their terms on how to satisfy the subject obligation arising from the contract they executed until they come to terms that suits the interest of both sides. After forging an amicable settlement, the same would be reduced into writing for the parties to sign. Having done so, they would then seek the Court’s approval by way of a Motion for Approval of Amicable Settlement. If the Court finds the settlement lawful and not contrary to law, morals, public policy and public order, it would grant the same. Then judgment would be rendered based on the terms of the amicable settlement of the parties. Well of course before you reach this stage, you have to go to a lower court to ask for the details of how to file a case regarding small claims. I do not know if I left out any details. I am just relating the procedure that I witnessed.
This is for every ordinary Filipino who cannot afford the services of a lawyer. If I were you, I would take advantage of it since it is free saved for some minimal fees to be collected by the Court. I think this is one way of showing the nation that the judiciary is also upholding the principle that those who have less in life should have more in law.
(photo credits: inimagine.com)