This is bad news to lawyers but good to the justice system and a boon to business.
President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo is set to sign into law a bill that institutionalizes an alternative dispute resolution (ADR) system this Friday (April 2). It passed by Congress before its last recess.
The new law was designed to speed up the administration of justice and unclog the courts of a lot of disputes before cases are filed in court.
Although the law is comprehensive in application, it is seen as a big boost to business since about eight out of 10 pending civil cases in the courts arise from business-related civil cases like those involving bouncing checks.
Defining the new national policy on settling disputes via mediation, arbitration or conciliation, the law declared "the State shall encourage and actively promote the use of ADR as an important means to achieve speedy justice and de-clog court dockets.
The lawmakers noted that the new system will be installed in addition to the out-of-court settlement system already set in place by the Supreme Court on pending cases and those the high court is yet to add as part of its reform program.