April 20, 2024

Chief Justice Alexander Gesmundo said the Supreme Court’s plan to enhance access to justice and declog court dockets will continue to promote alternative dispute resolution (ADR).

In a, the court said Gesmundo made the assurance during the Philippine ADR Day held at the University of the Philippines-Bonifacio Global City’s Henry Sy, Sr. Hall in Taguig City.

The magistrate said the court is contemplating making ADR a condition before anyone can file a case before the courts.

“We are now working on the revisions of the Rules of Civil Procedure, and one of the major revisions that we are trying to suggest is that no case or cases, or civil actions can be filed before any court without exhausting alternative dispute resolution,” Gesmundo said.

“ADR, indeed, holds great potential in our efforts to increase access to justice under the SPJI (Strategic Plan for Judicial Innovations). But, as with other judicial reform initiatives, the success of ADR will depend on the support and cooperation of all stakeholders in the justice system,” he said.

Instructional videos on ADR to guide litigants, mediators, and judges in the swift resolution of disputes have been produced by the tribunal in partnership with the American Bar Association Rule of Law Initiative, and with the support of the United States Agency for International Development.

The Philippine Mediation Center Office is primarily responsible for the expansion, development, implementation, monitoring, and sustainability of the Supreme Court’s ADR mechanisms – Court Annexed Mediation, Appellate Court Mediation, Judicial Dispute Resolution, and eventually Court-Annexed Arbitration, and other ADR mechanisms.

In 2009, the SC approved the Special ADR Rules, signaling a paradigm shift toward expeditious dispute resolution.

Gesmundo acknowledged the Philippine Institute of Arbitrators (PIARB), which organized the Philippine ADR Day event, for strengthening its learning programs and collaborating with other private institutions of commercial arbitration such as the Philippine Dispute Resolution Center, Inc., the Philippine International Center for Conflict Resolution, and the Philippine Institute of Construction Arbitrators and Mediators to foster greater cooperation and advancement of common interests and goals. He assured PIARB of the SC’s support in its endeavors to promote and develop ADR, particularly in the specialized fields of commercial arbitration and mediation. – PNA