Courts going green with paperless filing


Supreme Court Chief Justice Ma. Lourdes Sereno. AP

MANILA, Philippines–The New Year will usher in a more environmentally conscious Supreme Court which is resorting to a paperless e-filing system.

The high court said on Sunday its Management Information System Office had set up an e-mail address to receive documents for its e-filing paperless system at

Beginning Jan. 1, the high tribunal will implement Administrative Matter (AM) No. 11-9-4 SC, or the Efficient Use of Paper, that would require, among other things, parties to cases before the court to submit simultaneously with their court-bound documents soft or electronic copies of the papers, including annexes (the latter in PDF format), either through e-mail or on compact disc.

The Supreme Court said the e-filing would be voluntary for the first six months of 2013, then becoming compulsory unless the voluntary period is extended.

Under the AM, the high court aims to “maximize the use of every sheet of paper in rulings to be issued by the court and in the pleadings filed by parties.”

The rules would apply to all courts and quasi-judicial bodies under the administrative supervision of the Supreme Court.

The AM issued by Chief Justice Ma. Lourdes Sereno outlines how all pleadings, motions and similar papers should be written—in single-space with one-and-a-half spaces between paragraphs, using an easily readable 14-point font on 8.5 x 13-inch white bond paper.

All documents submitted by each party should have a left margin of 1.5 inches from the edge, an upper margin of 1.2 inches from edge, and right and lower margins one inch from the edge. Each page must be consecutively numbered.

This style will also be required in all decisions, resolutions and orders issued by the courts and quasi-judicial bodies, as well as reports submitted to the courts and transcripts of stenographic notes.

The new rules also specify that parties submitting papers to the Supreme Court should file one original and four copies, and if referred to the en banc they should file 10 additional copies.

For the en banc (entire court) and for divisions, the parties would need to submit only two sets of annexes (one attached to the original and one extra copy).

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  • Loggnat

    Awesome!!  Hope it works without any serious problem or setback.

    • $20733759

      There may be a lot of setbacks and serious problems for lawyers and practitioners who are not computer literate and have always relied on good old manual typewriters …they have to hire secretarial services which will definitely add to their dwindling fees.Well, thats the demand of progress….just comply!

  • buttones

    This has nothing to do with being environmentally conscious, if Sereno is trying sell this as such she must think we are all mad. Not only that, there is no specification issued as to the weight of the ’long’ bond paper, is it 20lb or 50lb? Is it ’bright’ or can it be matte? Nor does it say how it should be printed, can it be printed on a typewriter or a computer printer? Can I use a quill and ink or a crayon?

    Fantastic achievement by the way Sereno, brilliant, this will make all the difference, well done- I can see now why Aquino appointed you…..

  • batangpaslit

    trees, raw materials for papers is a renewable resource. ink, is chemically induced product.

    • buttones

      I think the ink used in newsprint is actually vegetable based? I could be wrong- it doesn’t specify what type of ink should be used, or even the color, I thought lawyers liked this sort of nitpicking pedantic detail….The ink in my printer is probably chemical- if I use a ‘typewriter’ as most government offices do, along with ‘carbon paper’ for copies I guess that’s a chemical element?

  • basilionisisa

    sign of Progress, Congratulations!

    will have ‘teething’ problems at start for sure, but will hasten the COMPLETION of cases and therefore DISSEMINATION of Justice.

    but thing is: make sure that the SECURITY of the System, ie Emailing and filing of confidential documents, is STRICTLY TESTED to avoid LEAKAGE and prevent being HACKED by interested ‘outsiders’.

    To CJ Sereno: please make sure SC personnel and Judges are trained properly and their computers checked and tested thoroughly. They will be handling a delicate thing: JUSTICE, which is very saleable and very easily CORRUPTED.

  • buttones

    By the way, there is no such thing as 1.5 inches, it’s actually one and one half, what 1.2 of an inch is I have no idea not quite one and a quarter inches I guess…[Conversion required somebody – it’s too early for me] maybe this county should decide what measures we use, is it metric or English/American Imperial?

    • Wadav

      1.5 inches and 1.2 inches can easily be set in the Word doc 

      • buttones

        Yes I realize that, but my point was Imperial measure does not include decimal points, so the instructions should be 1-1/5” or 3.04 cm. It’s all a trivial matter of course, it’s just that I saw Sereno’s picture and became irritated….particularly when ’green’ was mentioned as I suspect this AM issued by Sereno has more to do with efficiency than saving trees….

      • Babiker_Ahmed

        We engineers use 1.5 whether using the English System or the Metric System….

      • buttones

        Thank you- interesting , I am no engineer but would not an imperial scale plan of a house read, say, 14’8” and not 14.8? The 14.8 would not be the same. I think the US are one of the few who use Imperial measurement still, not only that the SC must know that the sole weights and measures for PH is actually metric since 1975, so why they are using inches I’ve no idea….
        Happy New Year to you…


      The proper size is at least four and one half inches. Conversion wise it’s magic 12 mm. weeeeeeeeee >>>>>>>>>>>> HAPPY NEW YEAR and Peace on earth :-)

  • Horst Manure

    All you need now is to make it compulsory all lawyers have a published E mail address, a legal system they knows the difference between fact and fiction, and some one who will answer E mail, some thing that is sadly lacking in ALL government department. 

  • Peter L

    One of the disadvantages of a paperless office is – it too easy to undo the work of a hundred men. The magic word is DELETE. And the culprit could simply make an alibi “Oh I’m sorry, it was an accident.” Or others may simply say, “the hard disk crashed, the system was hacked, the operating system malfunctioned, we lost all the data, etc.” A paperless office is too dangerous especially to our Judicial System where hackers from all political persuasions would destroy all cases that is detrimental to their cause and one of them is the record of the psychological test of the Chief Justice. Oh my goodness!

    • Penta

      I agree… e-paper has it’s holes that needed to be patched. But did you know no matter how you delete a file in a hard drive or any storage device(except Disks). It will and forever be recovered with the use of today’s technology. That’s why in Google they have a special room wherein a machine will crush several hardrives(old) into pieces to prevent data breach.

  • Joe

    I spend considerable time daily in my computer reading significant news as posted by different publications.  I am amused at how different writers show their biases in the way they write about the same news item. A case in point is about this article regarding the SC’s introduction of the paperless system.  Here, the writer gives an objective report of the new system, including the mention of Justice Ma. Lourdez Sereno as the author of said directive without being patronizing. In contrast, the Daily Tribune’s treatment of the same news item makes no mention whatsoever of Justice Sereno as behind the introduction of the new system. It failed to show a complete picture of the news and obviously omitted giving recognition to Justice Sereno for instituting that improvement within the Supreme Court. This article is only an example of the bias that the entire Tribune publication has against the administration of President Noynoy Aquino.  I still have to read an article in the Tribune, even from among its opinion writers, that gives credit to the current administration (not necessarily approval or appreciation) for any of its accomplishments.  

    Someone must be bankrolling its operation to stay in business.

    • Penta

      erough… cough… cough.. The Chief Editor of Daily Tribune is well known as a critic of Gloria and ally of erough. I don’t know her reason why she’s so against to Aquino’s Administration.

  • kilabot

    a paperless system complements a witless sc, spineless congress and a brainless president.

  • disqusted0fu

    Yes, there have been many of papers wasted because justice under this Aquino administration is just for selected people. Those who don’t have anything to do with the President or his administration are just wasting paper and their time

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