SC rolls out e-monitoring for small claims cases

The Supreme Court recently launched the Small Claims Case Monitoring System (SC2MS), which seeks to enable the judiciary to better integrate its processes by shifting from manual to faster electronic processes.

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.

The new system, which also aims to improve data systems across localities and regions, is expected to save staff time, streamline the reporting process, reduce human errors, and increase the judiciary’s accountability.

The launch, held at the Hall of Justice of Valenzuela City, was attended by Chief justice Renato C. Corona, Associate justice Teresita J. Leonardo-De Castro, PhilJa chancellor Adolfo S. Azcuna, court administrator Jose Midas P. Marquez, US Agency for International Development (USAID) Philippines democracy and governance officer Catherine Hamlin, and USAID senior program manager Gerry Porta.

The computerization project was initiated by the SC and the American Bar Association Rule of Law Initiative (ABA ROLI) and funded by the USAID.

The pilot small claims project was launched in 44 trial courts in selected urban areas of the Philippines in October 2008. As a result, around 6,000 small claims cases have been filed during the project’s first nine months, of which 3,547 cases have been decided.

On average, cases are heard four months after a litigant files a small claims case while the hearing and the decision itself takes only one day. In comparison, traditional courts normally need three to four years to resolve incoming civil cases.

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