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May 01, 2011

Automated System Promises Enhanced Case Reporting for Small Claims Courts

May 2011 

The Philippine Supreme Court is introducing an automated reporting system that will make it easier for small claims courts to provide the Supreme Court with detailed, consistent and integrated case information. The system—the Small Claims Monitoring System (SC2MS)—will be implemented in all of the country’s small claims courts by June.

SC2MS will enable the judiciary to better integrate its processes by shifting from manual to faster electronic processes. It will also improve data systems across localities and regions.

“Right now, we have to sort through volumes of case files to provide the public with the status of their case,” said Judge Ellengrid Baliguat, who presides over a municipal trial court in General Santos City and whose staff currently spends days sorting through stacks of court records to complete mandatory reporting duties for litigants, lawyers and the Supreme Court. “It is one of the most difficult and time-consuming processes of my staff’s job.”

The new system will save staff time, streamline the reporting process, reduce human errors and increase the judiciary’s accountability. Its key features include an automatic display of daily tasks, programmed custom reports, real-time case tracking and an audit log that captures case history.

With support from the U.S. Agency for International Development, the ABA Rule of Law Initiative (ABA ROLI) assisted the Supreme Court develop the system. To help courts prepare for the implementation of the software, ABA ROLI hosted a hands-on simulation on April 29. Thirteen representatives from first level courts in the National Capital Judicial Region attended the event. Participants said that the software will support the judiciary’s continuing modernization efforts to facilitate data collection at the lower courts.

The World Bank will assist the Supreme Court in installing the software and distributing it to small claims courts.

To learn more about our work in the Philippines, contact the ABA Rule of Law Initiative at [email protected]