Court reforms cited as big justice booster

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Reforms being implemented in the judiciary will bring justice closer to the people, according to a Supreme Court (SC) magistrate.

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Associate Justice Diosdado Peralta, head of the Special Committee on Speedy Trial, on Monday said the High Court’s continued efforts to resolve persistent delay in administration of justice through initiatives and innovations have promoted early resolution of cases.

In his speech before a joint forum of the Institute of Corporate Directors, Financial Executives Institute of the Philippines (Finex), Management Association of the Philippines (MAP) and Judicial Reform Initiative (JRI), Peralta added that the SC found it urgent to address case decongestion measures, including need to review current application of existing rules on speedy trial in criminal cases and need to issue new guidelines, as well as study other areas of concerns.

The joint forum, “Speedy Trial and Court Decongestion Issues,” is one of several fora on judicial-reform projects organized under the auspices of the JRI, a multisectoral advocacy created in 2012 to push for a swift and credible justice system.

The event is co-sponsored by the Institute of Corporate Directors, Financial Executives Institute of the Philippines and the Management Association of the Philippines.

“One of the flagship projects of the Special Committee is the drafting of the Continuous Trial Guidelines and templates, followed by a lecture series to develop the skills of judges in order to speed up the adjudication of cases and to teach them valuable trial techniques that would dispose of pending incidents expeditiously, competently and most important, resolving them within the periods or even shorter than the periods required by law or the rules,” Peralta said.

He pinpointed other judicial-reform projects started by the Supreme Court, such as the Hustisyeah! case decongestion program, small claims cases, E-Courts, E-Notice, E-subpoena and automated hearings, pointing out that the court’s mission to introduce constructive reforms in the judiciary “does not end with these programs.”

“Future programs include, among others, the amendment of the Rules on Criminal Procedure and Summary Procedure, as well as, the amendment of the rules covering pleadings in civil cases,” Peralta said.

He added that the reform initiatives are the hands and feet of the court that will bring justice closer to the people.

“It is hoped that these court initiatives would immensely contribute to the realization of the court’s vision where undue delay in the dispensation of justice will be eradicated or at the very least drastically diminished and the adage ‘justice delayed is justice denied’ will be buried in oblivion and only become a dark part of the history of our judicial system,” Peralta said.

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