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October 01, 2009

Workshops Enhance the Capacity of Newly Appointed Philippine Judges

October 2009 

In 2009, 127 of the 212 newly appointed executive and vice-executive judges in the Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao regions attended a series of three-day workshops conducted by the Philippine Judicial Academy (PHILJA), with funding support from the ABA Rule of Law Initiative (ABA ROLI) and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID).

Launched in 2007 and conducted every two years, the workshop is part of the continuing education for executive judges in place since 1996. It familiarizes the participants with comprehensive and updated legal concepts and tools, and enhances the judges’ skills both as adjudicators and courthouse administrators.

The workshops discussed issues of leadership, court management and standard performance principles and gave practical insights on how to handle commonly encountered issues. The trainings were intended to improve court administration, increase administrative, human resource and fiscal management capacity of multi-sala courthouses, and ensure unbiased case assignments in first- and second-level courts.

Court Administrator Jose P. Perez opened the workshops by emphasizing the important role the judges play in conducting court operations and in providing necessary professional development programs to improve judicial services. The skills the judges gained will help them better perform their judicial functions, including the holding of night sessions and acting on urgent matters even on weekends and holidays, when necessary.

Executive Judge Ma Angela Acompanado Arroyo said the workshop was an interesting forum for judges from various regions to discuss common challenges. She said the training gave the judges skills “we can apply to improve court administration in our respective stations”.

To complement the trainings conducted, ABA ROLI and USAID, in collaboration with PHILJA, published and distributed to all executive judges approximately 500 reference manuals containing all relevant resolutions, administrative orders and circulars of the court. The manual will help guide the judges in effectively discharging their duties.

PHILJA also conducted a nationwide planning session with executive judges from all regions to identify other skills executive judges want addressed by a series of workshops planned for 2010.

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