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.
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-trial stage; and (b) from the pre-trial proper up to trial and judgment.
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 proceedings. Sanctions may include censure, reprimand, contempt or requiring the absent party to reimburse up to treble the cost of the appearing party.
A representative of a party who is unable to attend in person must be fully authorized to appear, negotiate and enter into a compromise without need of further approval by or notification to the authorizing party. With respect to corporations, partnerships, or other juridical entities, the representative must also be a ranking corporate officer.
The Guidelines emphasize that both CAM and JDR are confidential. Any information or communication made or received is inadmissible as evidence in any other proceeding. JDR judges and all court personnel or any other person present during the proceeding are prohibited from passing information obtained in the course of conciliation and early neutral evaluation to the trial judge or to any other person.
Under the Guidelines, the CAM procedure is:
1. Upon filing the last pleading, the judge orders the parties to appear before the PMC Unit.
2. The parties shall select an acceptable accredited mediator. Otherwise, the mediator shall be chosen by lot.
3. The mediator starts the mediation and explains the mediation process.
4. With the consent of both sides, the mediator may hold separate caucuses and/or joint conferences with them.
5. If no settlement is reached at the end of the mediation period, the case is returned to the referring judge.
6. The mediator has 30 days from the initial conference to complete the mediation process, extendible for another 30 days upon motion to be filed by the mediator, with the conformity of the parties.
7. If full settlement is reached, the parties shall draft the compromise agreement for approval by the court. If compliance has been made, the court shall dismiss the case upon the submission by the parties of a satisfaction of claim or a mutual withdrawal of the case.
If partial settlement is reached, the parties will submit its terms for appropriate action by the court, without waiting for resolution of the unsettled part. The court will conduct JDR for the unsettled part of the dispute.
Under the Guidelines, the JDR procedure is:
1. The JDR judge first refers the case to CAM but also pre-sets the JDR conference not earlier than 45 days from the parties’ first mediation appearance.
First-level courts such as Metropolitan Trial Courts and Regional Trial Courts have 30 days from the first JDR conference to complete the process. Second-level courts such as Regional Trial Courts exercising its appellate jurisdiction have 60 days to complete the process.
In criminal cases where a settlement has been reached on the civil aspect but the period of payment in accordance with the terms of settlement exceeds one year, the case may be archived upon motion of the prosecution, with notice to the other party and with approval by the judge.
2. The judge to whom the case was assigned by raffle shall be the JDR judge. He shall preside over the first stage and resolve all incidents or motions filed during this stage. If the case is not resolved during JDR, it 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.
3. In single-sala courts, the parties may file a joint written motion requesting 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 action, e.g., approval of the compromise agreement or trial.
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 family court in the same area, the family court to whom the case was originally raffled shall conduct JDR and, if no settlement is reached, the other family court shall conduct the pre-trial proper and trial.
5. In areas where only one court is designated as commercial/intellectual property/environmental court (“special court”), 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. Where there is no settlement, the judge of the special court shall be the trial judge. Any incident or motion filed before the pre-trial stage shall be dealt 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 one or both parties. The JDR judge may either be (a) another judge through raffle in multiple-sala courts; or (b) the nearest court (or pair court, if any) regardless of the level of the latter court in single sala courts.
7. If the dispute is fully settled, the parties will submit the compromise agreement for approval by the court. If there has been compliance, the court shall dismiss the case upon submission by the parties of a satisfaction of claims or a mutual withdrawal of the parties’ respective claims and counterclaims.
In case of partial settlement, the compromise may be submitted to the court for approval and rendition of a judgment upon partial compromise, which may be immediately enforced by execution.
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 Public Prosecutor, subject to the appropriate action of the court.