Bringing Local Courts Closer to the Public Through Case Management System
The justice process in the Philippines has since been regarded as slow and somehow inaccessible to the poor, but it doesn’t need rocket science to see how the authorities and concerned agencies have been taking actions to improve the situation. In fact, ten years ago, when a lot of organizations were adamant to even consider digitization in their processes, the Supreme Court had started adapting case management systems.
On September 6, 2011, the late Supreme Court Chief Justice Renato Corona spearheaded the launch of the Small Claims Court Monitoring System (SC2MS) which allows more than 1,300 trial courts in the Philippines to generate and send monthly reports to the Supreme Court by shifting manual procedures to electronic processes.1
In an article published on Americanbar.org, it said that “the SC2MS software enables automatic display of caseload and disposition, hearing schedules, case-history audit logs and programmed custom reports, making real-time case tracking possible.”
“The embedded audit trail allows court officials to monitor data entered into the system by each court employee, maintaining the security and integrity of the information,” it added.
The SC2MS has two major facets — the Data Entry Application utilized by the courts and the Server Application that handles data aggregation. The data encoded by the first-level courts through the Data Entry application are encrypted and authenticated — meaning all information is secured and used according to their purposes only — and then sent via the internet to the Application Server. The Application Server will then collate the data for a more systematic and seamless reporting and monitoring, eliminating discrepancies which can be caused by human errors.
Other than these, the SC2MS also has a case search module for users to easily locate case records, and a dashboard that shows the status of the small claims cases and the performance of the judiciary sector of the country which users can refer to at a quick glance. With all of these at play, the SC2MS became a great help for the Supreme Court to evaluate the performance and effectiveness of small claim cases.
Apart from streamlining the reporting process of local courts and increasing the accountability of the judiciary, the SC2MS also opened a new way for the poor to have access to the justice system of the country, and for small claims cases to be addressed and finalized within a more reasonable timeframe.
The web-based SC2MS is a landmark project mounted in collaboration with the American Bar Association Rule of Law Initiative (ABA ROLI) and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), with the platform and application developed by Ideyatech, Inc., which is now Monstarlab Manila.
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