Today is: Thu, May 23, 2013
First Rural Bank Small Claims Court Case Successfully Settled
The first small claims case hearing was successfully conducted in twenty minutes and the case decided on in one-and-a-half hours in a Small Claims Court (SCC) in Davao. The case involved a microfinance client with an outstanding loan of Php 18,000 from a rural bank; the client agreed to settle the amount with the bank on an instalment basis within the next eight months.
The SCC concept originated in the United States and was formulated for adoption in the Philippines with assistance from United Stated Agency for International Development (USAID) and the American Bar Association Rule of Law Initiative (ABA ROLI). The project is currently being tested in 22 pilot courts all over the country. Recently, the USAID - supported Rural Bankers Association of the Philippines Microenterprise Access to Banking Services (RBAP-MABS) Program collaborated with the Rule of Law Initiative to promote the use of the small claims court to facilitate the processing and collection of micro and small enterprise delinquent loans below Php100,000.
SCC concept was presented by ABA ROLI during the MABS Regional Roundtable Meeting and the 51st Rural Bankers Association of the Philippines (RBAP) Charter Anniversary Credit Symposium in November 2008, where SCC fliers were also distributed. In response to strong interest from the rural banking community that has long complained of the very expensive and long litigation process in the regular courts, RBAP MABS arranged for rural banks' to participate in the SCC program.
The SCC project was established by the Supreme Court of the Philippines to provide speedy and cost efficient resolution of cases involving small claims not exceeding P100,000. Filing a case with an SCC does not require a lawyer thus saving up on legal fees. However, lawyers are permitted to assist litigants with preparing for cases before the SCC, and judges have been trained to be more interactive with parties to see if agreements can be reached amicably. In Davao, over 160 SCC cases have been filed in the first two months of its opening.
DEMOCRACY and GOVERNANCE
- Success Stories
- Electoral Reform
- Judicial Reform and the Rule of Law
- Local Governance and Conflict Resolution
- Human Rights