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Concept of Courts The Philippines is a democratic and republican
state as embodied under Art. II of the Constitution. Thus, its
governmental power is divided into 3 main branches
1. Legislative vested in the Congress of the Philippines Senate
& House of Representatives
2. Executive vested in the President of the Philippines
3. Judicial vested in one Supreme Court and in such lower
courts as may be established by law

JUDICIAL POWER includes the duty of the courts of justice:
o To settle actual controversies involving rights
which are legally demandable and enforceable,
o To determine whether or not there has been a
grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or
excess of jurisdiction on the part of any branch
or instrumentality of the government
COURTS are part of the judicial system
- they exist in a civilized country to resolve and end
disputes in accordance with law peacefully, in an
orderly manner, authoritatively, definitely and finally

- judicial tribunals engaged in the administration (or
dispensation) of justice

a. Ascertainment or determination of the relevant
facts of a controversy
- it is accomplished by the reception of the invariably
conflicting evidence of the parties involved in the
controversy, and
- its assessment by the judge to discover what are the
facts thereby established

b. The application of the law to those facts in order
to resolve the controversy established by
evidence connotes
- the ascertainment and confirmation of what the law
provides in light of the facts proved and
- the pronouncement by the judge in accordance
therewith of which among the parties is in the right
and what are their specific rights and responsibilities
with respect to each other
- such pronouncement must be clearly and definitely
made leaving no issue unresolved in line with the
purpose of courts to end or resolve disputes
Defined as the power to try and decide or hear and determine a
particular cause

Try or Hear a case to receive evidence including arguments
from the parties according to fixed rules
Decide and determine a case to resolve the dispute by
applying the law to the facts established by evidence

CIRCUIT TRIAL COURTS first level court
- essentially trial courts that try and decide only the particular types
or class of cases specified by law
- criminal actions within their jurisdiction include those involving
violations of city or municipal ordinances committed within their
respective territorial jurisdictions and those crimes the penalty of
which does not exceed six (6) years, irrespective of the amount of
fine and regardless of the imposable accessory penalties
- civil actions tried under the first level courts include cases of
ejectment, recovery of personal property with a value of not more
than Php100,000 or Php200,000 in Metro Manila.
Qualification of Judges in First Level Courts:
1. citizen of the Philippines
2. at least 35 years old a
3. at least 5 years in the practice of law or has held public office in the
Philippines requiring admission to the practice of law as a requisite
4. must be a person of proven competence, integrity independence,
II. REGIONAL TRIAL COURTS second level court
- they are courts of general jurisdiction and they try and decide not
only particular cases but include those which are not otherwise
within the jurisdiction of the first level courts
- they also exercise appellate jurisdiction to review cases appealed
from courts of the first level
- criminal actions within their jurisdiction are those the penalty of
which exceeds six (6) years
- civil actions assigned to them by law are those in which the subject
of litigation are incapable of pecuniary estimation or involving title to
or possession of real property where the assessed value of the the
property exceeds Php20,000.00 or Php 50,000.00 in Metro Manila,
except ejectment cases or where the demand, exclusive of interest or
damages or where the value of the personal property in controversy
exceeds Php100,000.00 or Php200,000.00 in Metro Manila
Qualification of Judges in Second Level Court:
1. citizen of the Philippines
2. at least 35 years old a
3. at least 10 years in the practice of law or has held public office in
the Philippines requiring admission to the practice of law as a
4. must be a person of proven competence, integrity independence,
III. COURT OF APPEALS third level court
- it is essentially an appellate court and not a trial court but in special
cases it may act as such
- it reviews cases appealed to it from the Regional Trial Court and it
may review questions of fact or mixed with questions of fact and law
- it likewise reviews appealed cases which are decided by the
Sandiganbayan, National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC) and
the Court of Tax Appeals (CTA) , except when it is an en banc
resolution of the CTA
- appeals to the Court of Appeals and the Supreme Court are not a
matter of right but the only exception lies when a person is convicted
with the penalty of reclusion perpetua or life imprisonment by the
Regional Trial Court
Qualification of Justices in the Court of Appeals:
1. citizen of the Philippines
2. at least 30 years old a
3. at least 10 years in the practice of law or has held public office in
the Philippines requiring admission to the practice of law as a
4. must be a person of proven competence, integrity independence,
IV. SUPREME COURT highest court of the land
- the court of last resort, from which decision no appeal may be
taken, is also a review court as it exercises appellate jurisdiction over
cases decided by the Court of Appeals or Regional Trial Courts
- as a rule, only questions of law may be raised in appeals brought to
Qualifications of a Justice in the Supreme Court is enshrined in Article
VIII of the 1987 Constitution, thus:
Section 7. (1) No person shall be appointed Member of the
Supreme Court or any lower collegiate court unless he is a natural-
born citizen of the Philippines. A Member of the Supreme Court must
be at least forty years of age, and must have been for fifteen years or
more, a judge of a lower court or engaged in the practice of law in the
(2) The Congress shall prescribe the qualifications of judges of
lower courts, but no person may be appointed judge thereof unless
he is a citizen of the Philippines and a member of the Philippine Bar.
(3) A Member of the Judiciary must be a person of proven
competence, integrity, probity, and independence.

- they enjoy tenure during good behavior
- until they reach 70 years old or incapacitated, mentally and
- Supreme Court Justices enjoy office unless removed by a long
& difficult process of impeachment
- Lower Court Judges enjoy office unless dismissed by
members of the Supreme Court on probable cause
Good Behavior/Good Office
Good office means a conduct authorized or in accordance with
law. Error in judgment is not a breach of good behavior otherwise the
position of the judge would become unbearable. After all judges are
also human beings who are not infallible in their judgment. (Arcenio
vs. Pagorogan)

- a special appellate court of limited jurisdiction but is equal in rank
to the Justices of the Court of Appeals
- the said court has exclusive jurisdiction over cases involving
violations of Republic Act No. 3019 or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt
Practices Act where the accused is a public officer holding a salary
grade of 27 or higher or a military or PNP officer with a rank of
Superintendent and higher.
- Sandiganbayan justices have the same qualification as Court of
Appeals Justices
- a special appellate court of limited jurisdiction but is equal in rank
to the Justices of the Court of Appeals
- enjoys expanded jurisdiction where it no longer plainly reviews on
appeal the decisions, judgments or inaction of the Commissioner of
Internal Revenue, the Commissioner of Customs, Secretary of Finance
and Trade and Industry but now has exclusive original jurisdiction
over cases involving criminal violations of internal revenue taxes and
local and real property taxes which used to belong to the Regional
Trial Court and the Court of Appeals.
- Court of Tax Appeals justices have the same qualification as Court of
Appeals Justices

- a court of limited jurisdiction and not on equal footing with regular
No person shall be appointed judge of the Shari'a Circuit Court
unless he is a natural born citizen of the Philippines, at least twenty-
five years of age, and has passed an examination in the Sharia' and
Islamic jurisprudence (fiqh) to be given by the Supreme Court for
admission to special membership in the Philippine Bar to practice
law in the Shari'a courts.

1. PROVISIONAL REMEDIES are auxillary remedies such as
attachments or injunctions
- these are temporary remedies incapable of existing without a
principal action which address a particular exigency
2. PRINCIPAL REMEDIES those which are independent and
capable of existing alone, needing and depending on no other remedy
to subsist
There are two types of principal remedies: actions and special
Actions it is an ordinary suit in a court of justice, which may
be classified as civil or criminal, whereby one party prosecutes
another for the enforcement of a right or prevention or redress of a
- actions that are civil in nature my be ordinary or
special and special civil actions are designed for
particular situations or particular exigencies and
consequently require different procedural rules
such as those seeking the issuance of the
extraordinary writs
Special Proceedings is a remedy, more than an action, to
establish a particular fact, or a status or right of a party.

- set forth in the Constitution as a set of rules
promulgated by the Supreme Court which defines and treats
of the procedures and processes to be observed and
followed by all who come in contact with the courts
- cases governed civil action, criminal action & special
- exception: election cases, land registration, cadastral,
naturalization and incolvency proceedings and other cases
not provided therein except by analogy or in a suppletory
character and whenever practicable and convenient

Action vs. Suit
no difference in Philippine jurisprudence, unlike in the US
where an action refers to a case which is civil in nature while a suit
refers to criminal prosecution
- basis: our courts are courts of law and equity
CLASS SUIT the complaint must specifically state that the same is
being brought in behalf of others with whom the parties share a
common interest. If there is a conflict of interest between those
sought to be represented and those who filed the action, the class suit
will not prosper. The party bringing the class suit must have legal
capacity to do so.
1. The subject matter of the controversy is one of common or
general interest to many persons
2. The parties affected are so numerous that it is impracticable
to bring them all before the court
3. The parties bringing the class suit are sufficiently numerous
or representative of the class and can fully protect the interests of all