FAQs pertaining to Small Claims Court

C&C VIEWS - Ed F. Limtingco () - January 5, 2011 - 12:00am

As what I have written before, with the establishment of small claims courts (SCC), filing for collection or sum of money has just become simple, inexpensive and expeditious. Now, according to the public information drive on the salient features of the rule of procedure for the small claims under A.M no. 08-8-7-SC which was done in Marco Polo Hotel last December 10, 2010, by the Small Claims Court Technical Working Group (SCC-TWG) in cooperation with the American Bar Association-Rule of Law Inc (ABA-ROLI), the following are some answers to some of the frequently asked questions (FAQs):

What are the rules in case of failure to appear on the date of SCC hearing?

According to SCC TWG, if the plaintiff (the one who initiated or filed the case) fails to appear on the date set for hearing, the SCC will dismiss the claim without prejudice. Meaning the SCC will dismiss the case but the plaintiff can file the same case again. While if it is the other way around, if the defendant is the one who failed to appear, the SCC will render judgment based on the claim. However, if both parties fail to appear, it will result also in the dismissal but this time with prejudice. Meaning the said case can no longer be filed again.

How will the Small Claims Court will hear the case?

Initially, the SCC will attempt and will make all the effort to persuade both parties to settle their claim and counterclaim amicably. Both parties can settle their differences by resorting to various alternative means of dispute resolution such as entering into a compromise agreement. However, if the SCC fails to reach such agreement, it will hear the parties and require them to present their evidence. After which a decision will be rendered. Likewise, it is noteworthy to mention that the SCC will hear the case in a rather informal manner, meaning the quite rigid or strict rules of procedure in ordinary court proceedings, as well as the rules of evidence, are not observed here.

After the SCC made a decision, can an appeal be filed?

It must be noted that the decision of the SCC is not appealable.

Can I be assisted by lawyers in Small Claims Court cases?

One of the uniqueness of SCC cases is the fact that the parties (both the plaintiff and defendant) will have to represent themselves, as it is clearly stated that there are no lawyers allowed. A lawyer can still appear in SCC when he is either the claimant or respondent himself. However, the defendant or plaintiff may be assisted during the hearing by someone who is still not a lawyer if he or she cannot present her claim or defense. Likewise, a party may be represented by another, provided that the representative is not a lawyer and is given a special power of attorney which authorizes him or her to settle the case amicably, participate in any alternative dispute resolution and make admissions of facts and documents. These are commonly called para-legal personnel or staff of a company.

How fast is the SCC from the moment of hearing to deciding the case?

 One day only. The case will only be heard and decided all in one day.

For comments, rejoinders and questions on credit and collection matters, send emails to elimtingco@yahoo.com . (THE FREEMAN)

AMERICAN BAR ASSOCIATION-RULE OF LAW INC APPEAR CAN I CASE CLAIMS MARCO POLO HOTEL ONE PARTIES SCC SMALL CLAIMS COURT SMALL CLAIMS COURT TECHNICAL WORKING GROUP
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