Sunday, April 1, 2012

New Trial Rules for Quezon City Courts (A.M. No. 11-6-10-SC )

New Trial Rules for Quezon City Courts

A.M. No. 11-6-10-SC 

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Below is the summary:

The Supreme Court has issued “Guidelines for Litigation in Quezon City Trial Court” (A.M. No. 11-6-10-SC, 21 February 2012), which imposes radical changes in trial procedure on a test-case basis. The obvious philosophy behind the new rules is to expedite trial. These new rules shall apply only for cases tried in Quezon City. If successful, these likely will be adopted in other courts as well.
The New Rules take effect on 16 April 2012. They shall immediately apply to new cases, and pending cases where trial has not yet started. For pending cases where trial has begun, the New Rules shall apply upon the consent of all the parties.
A copy of the New Rules is posted on the Supreme Court website. Here’s a summary of some of the more significant changes:
  • Pleadings may not exceed 40 pages in length (double-spaced, 14 font). Pleadings subsequent to a reply regarding any incident require leave of court.
  • Service of pleadings may now be accomplished by private couriers instead of registered mail. An affidavit of service from the courier is required.
  • No postponement of hearing except for acts of God or force majeure. If counsel is absent in civil cases, court proceeds with hearing ex parte and the presentation of any witness who is absent is deemed waived. 
  • Offer of evidence is to be made orally, as well as the comment thereon and the court ruling. 
  • After trial, parties required to submit memoranda not exceeding 25 pages long, single spaced, Font 14.
For civil cases:
  • Motions for summary judgment, amendment of pleadings, suspension of proceedings and dismissals under Rule 16 must be filed before pre-trial date.
  • Direct testimony of all witnesses shall be presented in Affidavits, and no additional oral direct testimony to be allowed save for witness ID and confirmation of his affidavit. Cross-examination to be conducted immediately after confirmation of the affidavit.
For criminal cases
  • Arraignment to be set within 7 days from receipt by court of case when accused is detained, 20 days if accused is not detained.
  • Suspension of arraignment due to pending petition for review with the DOJ cannot exceed 60 days. 
  • Bail application to be heard and resolved within 60 days from the first-hearing.
  • Arraignment and pre-trial to be scheduled on the same date, except in cases where mediation/dispute resolution is necessary. 
  • Parties may agree to affidavits in lieu of direct testimony; otherwise testimony is heard in open court. However, expert testimony is always given orally. 
  • After prosecution rests case, court must inquire from accused if she/he will file a demurrer. 
Non-trial related, but if you are a member of IBP-QC, you might be required to render services as counsel de oficio in relation with the free legal services offered by the IBP-QC chapter.