Small Claims (Utang): How it Turns into a Court Case
Gone are the days when people can just borrow money but disappear when it is payment time. Small claims, also known as utang, is a common problem in the country. With rising prices and commodities, people who borrow money have a difficult time paying their debts much to the dismay of the people who lent them money.
The Supreme Court eyed a set more streamlined procedures in solving debt payment cases without filing for criminal charges. This is now possible with the Revised Small Claims Procedures. In this set of procedures, filing a civil case in the metropolitan and municipal trial court is easier. The release of the decision will be available within a months time or 30 days upon the filing of the claim.
This revised system is even affordable since the filing fees are low. An indigent individual could also enjoy exemption if they are not capable of shouldering the fees. The new system covers loans, rent, mortgages, debt, sale, and services.
Here as sample cases for small claims:
- Unpaid debts
- Unpaid commission
- Unpaid rent
- Unpaid deposit after the lease has expired
- Unpaid services
- Unpaid reimbursement for property, loaned money, and deposit
- Unpaid payment for property or goods that are sold and delivered
- Unpaid settlement agreements made in the barangay level
- Civil action for payment through stopped or bounced check
The services of a lawyer will no longer be needed as long as the money in question does not exceed P200,000 with the interests and costs not yet included. All it takes is for the complainant to accomplish the small claims form and submit the relevant documents.
The forms and other legal documents are available on the court.
The procedures for filing under the Revised Small Claims are:
- The filing of Statement of Complaint of the Plaintiff and other relevant documents like the Certification of Non-Forum Shopping, Splitting a Cause of Action And Multiplicity of Suits, affidavit of witnesses and other documents, and certified photocopies of the actionable documents of the said claim. The Plaintiff will also pay the necessary fees unless he or she is an indigent.
- The court will study the complaints. It will release the Summons if there is no sufficient ground to dismiss the case.
- The court will issue a Notice which tells both parties to appear on the appointed date and time.
- The defendant shall submit a response within ten days upon receiving the summons.
- The two parties will appear at the hearing. No lawyer is allowed to attend.
- The judge will try to have an amicable settlement between the parties involved. If settled, it will be put in writing. This will be signed by the parties and will be submitted to court for its approval.
- If it remains unsettled, an informal hearing will be scheduled and will be resolved within the day.
- The court will release its decision within 24 hours. The decision will be entered by the Clerk of Court. The copy will be given to both parties. Remember that the decision is final and cannot be appealed.
Small claims need not give you any headaches. Debts are obligations that have to be paid. To avoid trouble with the law, settle all the money you borrowed for a worry-free life.
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