Supreme Court requires electronic copies of pleadings from October onwards
Beginning October, the Supreme Court will require petitioners to submit electronic copies or "soft copies" of all pleadings filed with the high court, in an effort to go "paperless."
In November last year, the high court approved Administrative Memorandum 11-9-4-SC or the "Efficient Use of Paper Rule" meant to cut down the judiciary's excessive use of paper and make the court more environment-friendly.
It was first implemented last January but on a voluntary basis, meaning submitting electronic copies of pleadings to the SC was optional. The e-filing policy would have become compulsary last July 1 but the high court, in its latest ruling, extended the deadline until October.
"The court is still enhancing its system for processing and using the soft copies of court bound papers that are filed with it and many law practitioners are not yet prepared for full compliance with the submission requirement," the high court said.
It added: "The court resolved, as it hereby resolves, to extend the period of voluntary submission of soft copies of court bound papers in cases before the Supreme Court from June 30 to October 1, 2013, and afterwards require the compulsory submission of the same."
According to the guidelines of the "Efficient Use of Paper Rule," parties are required to simultaneously file hard and soft copies of their petitions or pleadings and their annexes (the latter in PDF format) either by email to the Court’s e-mail address or by compact disc.
The court also said the e-filing requirement would be "in preparation for the eventual establishment of an e-filing paperless system in the Judiciary."
Still under the same efficient paper rule, all pleadings, motions, and similar papers intended for the courts must:
- be written in single space with a one-and-a-half space between paragraphs;
- use an easily readable font style of the party's choice;
- must use a 14-point font; must be on an 8.5-inch by 13-inch bond paper;
- must have the following margings - 1.5 inch (left), 1.0 in (right), 1.2 in (top), 1.0 in (bottom); be consecutively numbered.
Apart from parties' motions and and pleadings, the rule will also apply to all decisions, resolutions, and orders issued by courts and quasi-judicial bodies under the SC's administrative supervision, as well as reports submitted to the courts and transcripts of stenographic notes.
The high court also set the number of copies of court-bound papers to be made for each corresponding courts.
For the Supreme Court, parties are required to file one original copy (properly marked) and four copies. If the case is referred to the SC en banc, the parties would have to make 10 additional copies.
However, parties are only required to submit two sets of annexes for the en banc and court Division: one annex attached to the original, and another extra copy.
"All members of the Court shall share the extra copies of annexes in the interest of economy of paper," the Supreme Court said.
For the Court of Appeals, Sandiganbayan, and Court of Tax Appeals, parties are required to file one original, properly marked; and two copies with annexes. On appeal to the En Banc, one original (properly marked) and eight copies with annexes are required.
Meanwhile, if the case or pleading is filed with the trial court, only one original (properly marked) with the stated annexes attached to it is required.
"Also, a party required by the rules to serve a copy of his or her court-bound paper on the adverse party need not enclose copies of those annexes that, based on the records of the court, show said party already has such," the high court further said.
In case a party requests a set of annexes, the party who filed the paper is required to comply within five days from receipt of the request. — ELR, GMA News