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Part 1: The Revised Rules on Court-Annexed 2.

2. If CAM fails, the second stage, called the JDR, is undertaken by the JDR
Mediation and Judicial Dispute Resolution judge, acting as a mediator-conciliator-early neutral evaluator.
This is the first part of a two-part article on CAM and JDR. This part of the
article will discuss the expanded coverage of CAM and JDR. The CAM and 3. The third stage is during appeal, where covered cases are referred to
JDR procedures will be discussed in the October issue. ACM.

On January 11, 2011, the Philippine Supreme Court approved new guidelines Expanded jurisdiction
to expand the coverage of court-annexed mediation (CAM) and judicial In addition to consolidating the existing CAM and JDR rules, the Guidelines
dispute resolution (JDR) [“Guidelines”]. The Guidelines were issued through covers the civil aspect of less grave felonies punishable by correctional
Resolution A.M. No. 11-1-6-SC-PHILJA. The Guidelines adopted the policy penalties not exceeding six years imprisonment, where the offended party is a
of diverting court cases to CAM and JDR to “put an end to pending litigation private person.
through a compromise agreement of the parties and thereby help solve the
ever-pressing problem of court docket congestion.” While recognizing that The purpose is for the court diversion process to achieve a greater
criminal cases may not be compromised, this policy strongly indicates that impact. The expansion to less grave offenses is needed since civil cases
the ultimate objective of CAM and JDR is to end all litigation, not merely its constitute only a small 16 percent of all cases filed in court, while special
civil aspect. proceedings constitute even a smaller 7.6 percent. Since correctional
penalties are intended for rehabilitation and correction of the offender, there
The Guidelines are empowers the parties to resolve their own disputes and is no reason why crimes punishable by correctional penalties may not be
give practical effect to the State policy in Rep. Act No. 9285 (The ADR Act compromised, as to their civil aspect. However, it is not clear if the
of 2004) “to actively promote party autonomy in the resolution of disputes or Guidelines apply to the civil aspect of criminal cases that are governed by
the freedom of the parties to make their own arrangement to resolve special laws, although punishable with imprisonment not exceeding six
disputes” (Sec. 2). The reference to RA 9285 is interesting because the Act years. In a strict sense, the term “less grave felonies” applies to crimes under
does not cover court-annexed mediation (Sec. 7). Moreover, the mandatory the Revised Penal Code but not crimes governed by special laws.
nature of CAM and JDR and the restriction of the parties’ ability to choose
their mediators make CAM and JDR somehow inconsistent with the idea that Despite the non-mediatable nature of the principal action, like annulment of
in an alternative dispute resolution system, the parties have the freedom to marriage, other issues such as custody of children, support, visitation,
determine how their dispute should be resolved. property relations and guardianship may be referred to CAM and JDR to
limit the issues for trial.
Three stages of diversion
The Guidelines define three stages of court diversion, namely: CAM, JDR Role of lawyers
and Appeals Court Mediation (ACM). Each was previously covered by a Finally, the Guidelines define the role of lawyers in CAM and JDR as that of
separate Supreme Court issuance, which somehow made it difficult to see adviser and consultant to their clients. They are encouraged to drop their
that they were meant to complement each other. The Guidelines now clarify combative role in the adjudicative process and to give up their dominant role
that CAM, JDR and ACM have the same objective and that they are merely in judicial trials, in order to allow the parties more opportunities to craft their
different stages of a comprehensive dispute resolution process aimed at own agreement.
abating or ending court-docket congestion.
[1] The JDR judge acts as a mediator, neutral evaluator and/or conciliator. As
1. During CAM, the first stage of court diversion, the judge refers the parties mediator and conciliator, he facilitates the settlement discussions between the
to the Philippine Mediation Center (PMC) for the mediation of their dispute parties and tries to reconcile their differences. As a neutral evaluator, he
by trained and accredited mediators. assesses the relative strengths and weaknesses of each party’s case, makes a
non-binding and impartial evaluation of the chances of each party’s success
in the case, and persuades the parties to a fair and mutually acceptable A representative of a party who is unable to attend in person must be fully
settlement of their dispute. authorized to appear, negotiate and enter into a compromise without need of
further approval by or notification to the authorizing party. With respect to
[2] The other cases subject to mandatory CAM/JDR are: corporations, partnerships, or other juridical entities, the representative must
also be a ranking corporate officer.
(1) All civil cases and the civil liability of criminal cases covered by the
Rule on Summary Procedure, including the civil liability for violation of The Guidelines emphasize that both CAM and JDR are confidential. Any
B.P. 22, except cases which may not be compromised. information or communication made or received is inadmissible as evidence
in any other proceeding. JDR judges and all court personnel or any other
(2) Special proceedings for the settlement of estates. person present during the proceeding are prohibited from passing information
obtained in the course of conciliation and early neutral evaluation to the trial
(3) All civil and criminal cases filed with a certificate to file action judge or to any other person.
issued by the Punong Barangay or the Pangkat ng
Tagapagkasundo under the Revised Katarungang Pambarangay Law.
CAM Procedure
(4) The civil aspect of Quasi-Offenses under Title 14 of the Revised Under the Guidelines, the CAM procedure is:
Penal Code.
1. Upon filing the last pleading, the judge orders the parties to appear before
(5) The civil aspect of estafa, theft and libel. the PMC Unit.
(6) All civil cases, probate proceedings, forcible entry and unlawful,
cases involving title to or possession of real property or an interest 2. The parties shall select an acceptable accredited mediator. Otherwise, the
therein, and habeas corpus cases decided by the first level courts in the mediator shall be chosen by lot.
absence of the Regional Trial Court judge, brought on appeal from the
exclusive and original jurisdiction granted to the first level courts. 3. The mediator starts the mediation and explains the mediation process.

Part 2: The Revised Rules on Court-Annexed 4. With the consent of both sides, the mediator may hold separate caucuses
Mediation and Judicial Dispute Resolution and/or joint conferences with them.
The first part of this article discussed the expanded coverage of CAM and
JDR. This part of the article discusses the CAM and JDR procedures. 5. If no settlement is reached at the end of the mediation period, the case is
returned to the referring judge.
CAM and JDR
The Guidelines divide judicial proceedings into two stages, namely: (a) from
the filing of a complaint up to the conduct of CAM and JDR during the pre- 6. The mediator has 30 days from the initial conference to complete the
trial stage; and (b) from the pre-trial proper up to trial and judgment. mediation process, extendible for another 30 days upon motion to be filed by
the mediator, with the conformity of the parties.
In both CAM and JDR, the court or any party may move to sanction a party
who fails to appear or any person who engages in abusive conduct during the 7. If full settlement is reached, the parties shall draft the compromise
proceedings. Sanctions may include censure, reprimand, contempt or agreement for approval by the court. If compliance has been made, the court
requiring the absent party to reimburse up to treble the cost of the appearing shall dismiss the case upon the submission by the parties of a satisfaction of
party. claim or a mutual withdrawal of the case.
If partial settlement is reached, the parties will submit its terms for family court in the same area, the family court to whom the case was
appropriate action by the court, without waiting for resolution of the originally raffled shall conduct JDR and, if no settlement is reached, the other
unsettled part. The court will conduct JDR for the unsettled part of the family court shall conduct the pre-trial proper and trial.
dispute.
5. In areas where only one court is designated as
JDR Procedure commercial/intellectual property/environmental court (“special court”),
Under the Guidelines, the JDR procedure is: unless otherwise agreed upon by the parties, the JDR shall be conducted by
another judge through raffle and not by the judge of the special court.
1. The JDR judge first refers the case to CAM but also pre-sets the JDR Wherethere is no settlement, the judge of the special court shall be the trial
conference not earlier than 45 days from the parties’ first mediation judge. Any incident or motion filed before the pre-trial stage shall be dealt
appearance. with by the special court that referred the case to CAM.

6. Cases may be referred to JDR even during trial, upon written motion of
First-level courts such as Metropolitan Trial Courts and Regional Trial one or both parties. The JDR judge may either be (a) another judge through
Courts have 30 days from the first JDR conference to complete the raffle in multiple-sala courts; or (b) the nearest court (or pair court, if any)
process. Second-level courts such as Regional Trial Courts exercising its regardless of the level of the latter court in single sala courts.
appellate jurisdiction have 60 days to complete the process.
7. If the dispute is fully settled, the parties will submit the compromise
In criminal cases where a settlement has been reached on the civil aspect but agreement for approval by the court. If there has been compliance, the court
the period of payment in accordance with the terms of settlement exceeds one shall dismiss the case upon submission by the parties of a satisfaction of
year, the case may be archived upon motion of the prosecution, with notice to claims or a mutual withdrawal of the parties’ respective claims and
the other party and with approval by the judge. counterclaims.

2. The judge to whom the case was assigned by raffle shall be the JDR In case of partial settlement, the compromise may be submitted to the court
judge. He shall preside over the first stage and resolve all incidents or for approval and rendition of a judgment upon partial compromise, which
motions filed during this stage. If the case is not resolved during JDR, it may be immediately enforced by execution.
shall be raffled to another judge for the second stage. As a general rule, the
JDR judge shall not preside over the trial of the case. However, the parties
may jointly request in writing that the case be tried by the JDR judge. In criminal cases, if settlement is reached on the civil aspect thereof, the
parties shall submit the compromise agreement for appropriate action by the
court. Action on the criminal aspect of the case will be determined by the
3. In single-sala courts, the parties may file a joint written motion requesting Public Prosecutor, subject to the appropriate action of the court.
the court of origin to conduct the JDR and trial. Otherwise the JDR will be
conducted by the judge of the pair court or, if none, by the judge of the
nearest court at the station where the case was originally filed. The result of
the JDR shall be referred to the court of origin for appropriate Reference: http://www.pdrci.org/2011/09/18/the-revised-rules-on-court-
action, e.g., approval of the compromise agreement or trial. annexed-mediation-and-judicial-dispute-resolution/
4. In areas where only one court is designated as a family court, the parties
may file a joint written motion requesting the family court to which the case
was originally raffled to conduct the JDR and trial. Otherwise, the JDR shall
be conducted by a judge of another branch through raffle. If there is another