Courts going green with paperless filing

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04:53 AM December 31st, 2012

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By: Christine O. Avendaño, December 31st, 2012 04:53 AM

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 efile@sc.judiciary.gov.ph.

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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