THE Supreme Court will transform all lower courts in the country into an electronic court system, or e-Court system, as part of its effort to institute judicial and legal reforms to reduce backlogs of cases.
In her speech during the 15th Integrated Bar of the Philippines national convention, Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno said the e-Court system aims to improve court processes and reduce litigation cost.
“We want to afford all actors in the judicial system the comfort and convenience of technology while we also address negative perception attached to litigation, specially in economic terms, because these improve processes and definitely reduce litigation cost,” Sereno told participants of the convention held at the Waterfront Cebu City Hotel from March 20-22.
The e-Court system will help improve capturing, storing and accessing documents filed with the lower courts to prevent duplication of date and repetition in the administrative processes.
The system’s pilot trial was launched at the Quezon City Regional Trial Court in July 2013 and the high court wants to make it a model once the new system will be implemented in all courts in the country.
Sereno also said the e-Court system would have a built-in automated case manual system where judges will be allowed to prepare and issue orders and resolutions immediately after hearings.
This means that within 15 minutes, after an oral order is delivered by the judge, a lawyer will already have a printed copy of the order and can take this immediately to the client.
“We are going to give you value for your money. We also hope that this will lessen the workload because immediately, the minutes and notes of the hearing will be in the hands of the lawyer and, therefore, allow judges to have more time for legal research and for the lawyers to undertake more substantial legal work,” said Sereno.
In the planned e-Court system, judges will also be given computers equipped with the dashboard containing precise number and proportion of cases. It will have an alarm system that would alert them of their deadlines.
The Supreme Court will also install electronic kiosks at the entrance of selected courthouses for easy monitoring of case status and progress. Also, the SC will soon adopt electronic raffling of cases and payments.
Lawyers will also be soon notified of court schedules via text messaging. Electronic service of court processes to cut cost and delays of proceedings will soon be implemented.
“In introducing these convenient systems, we want to spare you from the needless expenses, time, energy, paper wasted. We don’t want you to spend time locked in traffic. We want you to decrease the use of paper and allow you to live in a responsible work life balanced,” said Sereno.
Likewise, Sereno said the High Court is serious in getting rid of corrupt and erring judges.
“I am not tired of repeating the message: If the organized Bar wishes for its members a bright future, where they will be able to true to their calling, earning their keep in honest fashion and in a progressively prosperous society, then it has the duty to lend its muscles, resources, time and voice to support judicial and legal profession reform,” said Sereno.
She urged the IBP to come up with “concrete steps” in conducting disciplinary actions against erring lawyers and to continue supporting the SC’s judicial and legal reform initiatives.
With the theme “A Renewal and Revival of National Relevance,” the IBP’s three-day event gathered about 2,000 lawyers from 85 chapters nationwide.
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