Today is: Thu, May 23, 2013
USAID contributes to the reform program of the Philippine judiciary, particularly in increasing the capacity of judges and court personnel to efficiently resolve cases, systematize court operations through case and court management systems, reinforce the importance of ethics, and institutionalize alternative dispute resolution as an acceptable mode of resolving conflict. USAID is supporting the Supreme Court-led initiative to establish small claims courts nationwide.
Judicial Reform Activities in the Philippines Project
Weak rule of law is a central DG challenge in the Philippines and is particularly important because it adversely affects development in multiple areas and sectors. Whether the issue is about common crime, political killings, corruption, trafficking in persons, electoral fraud, or environmental degradation, impunity is the common thread which allows perpetrators (particularly those with resources and connections) to routinely get away with crimes. A weak rule of law erodes stability and the social fabric. It also hurts the economy, deterring potential investors because of the lack of predictability in enforcing contracts and the interminable delays in the adjudication of court cases. Judicial efficiency and integrity remain as key constraints to the effective administration of justice. The docket congestion of the courts at all levels has decreased but the backlog still exceeds 600,000 cases. A court case still takes years to be decided and about one-fifth of available judgeship positions remain unoccupied. There continues to be widespread perception of corruption in the judiciary, especially the lower courts, eroding public confidence in the justice system.
The Judicial Reform Activities in the Philippines Project, implemented by the American Bar Association – Rule of Law Initiative (ABA-ROLI), aims to support efforts initiated by the Supreme Court of the Philippines to reform the judiciary and build upon the success of earlier judicial reform initiatives until these become irreversibly woven into the judiciary's standard operating procedures. The project focuses on two key areas: promoting judicial efficiency and strengthening judicial integrity.
Under the project, ABA-ROLI will help the Supreme Court promote judicial efficiency through the following: 1) The establishment all over the Philippines of 22 pilot small claims courts which will hear small monetary disputes and issue decisions within one day; 2) The identification and purging of stale cases in heavily congested courts in order to further ease the backlog of court cases; and 3) The completion, operation and utilization of Case Management Information Systems developed for the appellate courts though technical assistance and training. Likewise, the project will work with the Supreme Court to strengthen judicial integrity through the following: 1) The strengthening of the capacity of the judiciary, particularly the Office of the Court Administrator, to investigate complaints against judges and court personnel; and 2) The implementation of recommendations resulting from the Integrity Review of the Supreme Court to help address vulnerabilities to corruption as well as weaknesses that erode public confidence in the judiciary.
American Bar Association – Rule of Law Initiative
2/F Corinthian Plaza, Paseo de Roxas, Makati City
Tel: 637-4863; 635-0362
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