Programs and Courses
The Academy includes courses in its curricula and programs that address the latest developments in substantive and procedural law, as well as updates on technology and their possible application in the courts. It holds lectures on ethics and value formation and other special issues or areas of concern, such as problems of vulnerable and marginalized groups in society; and conducts faculty enhancement and leadership trainings.
All seminars, workshops and other judicial and legal education programs for justices, judges, court personnel and lawyers, and officials and lawyers of quasi-judicial bodies, whether pertaining to their adjudicative or administrative functions, are conducted and implemented by PHILJA, pursuant to SC Administrative Circular 57-2003 titled Delineating the Training Functions of the Philippine Judicial Academy, Office of the Court Administrator, Employee Training Division, Office of Administrative Services, Program Management Office, Court of Appeals, Sandiganbayan, and Court of Tax Appeals. This issuance laid down guidelines to avoid duplication or overlapping of training programs and activities conducted by the said offices of the Supreme Court.
Since PHILJA is an accredited Mandatory Continuing Legal Education (MCLE) provider, all participant-lawyers attending the programs of the Academy earn MCLE points for their mandatory continuing legal education requirements. Likewise, all PHILJA programs are deemed MCLE-compliant insofar as judges and court personnel are concerned.
A. CORE PROGRAMS
The following flagship programs are conducted regularly by the Academy.
1. Pre-Judicature Program (PJP)
This program provides initial training to aspirants for judicial positions, as mandated by the Academy’s statutory and administrative charters. It orients and guides aspirants towards a career in the judiciary as it offers them a judicial perspective on the law and introduces them to skills, attitudes, values and appropriate conduct called for by their appointment to the Bench.
The sessions of the Program are not intended to repeat instruction in law school subjects nor serve as Bar review materials. All subjects are approached from a judicial perspective – the resolution of disputes by a judge. Academics contribute a more reflective, concept-based, philosophical approach to subjects that depart from the provision-centered learning in law school.
The completion of the program and obtaining a passing mark in the Written Evaluative Examination entitles a participant to a full credit of thirty-six (36) MCLE units for the compliance period; 15 units towards a Master of Laws degree at the San Beda College Graduate School of Law, upon favorable endorsement by the Chancellor.
An announcement to all aspirants for judicial appointments with accompanying information is posted on the PHILJA website http://philja.judiciary.gov.ph and published in two newspapers of general circulation.
As a matter of policy and practice, PHILJA furnishes the Judicial and Bar Council, through its Chairperson, with the names of PJP participants who successfully completed the program, together with the ratings obtained.
2. Judicial Career Enhancement Program (JCEP)
This three-day program is intended for judges and judicial personnel who have been in the service of the judiciary for some time. It aims to optimize the impact of the Academy’s programs while cutting down on expenses by holding simultaneous sessions that address the concerns of each sector.
Topics on ethics, recent developments and jurisprudence on substantive and procedural law are discussed, as well as emerging issues and concerns in various fields of law, with special focus on the skills required in the discharge of the judges’ respective duties and responsibilities. It is the Academy’s response to the necessity of continuing judicial and legal education and the need to update judges and judicial personnel on the different areas of law.
3. Orientation Seminar-Workshop for Executive Judges and Vice Executive Judges
Upon appointment, Executive Judges and Vice Executive Judges undergo this program which runs for at least two days. The program is intended to update the judges on laws, legal developments and issuances that would enhance their capability to discharge their administrative functions.
4. Orientation Seminar-Workshop for Newly Appointed Judges
Upon appointment to the judiciary, judges undergo this program to prepare them for assumption of office and the discharge of their duties. Immersion programs in the judges’ respective work stations accompany these induction activities. Actual observation of court trials is done by sitting in with an Executive Judge or a senior Judge in the conduct of judicial proceedings in order to familiarize a newly appointed judge with the skills of adjudication and administration. Both programs are prerequisites to the performance of judicial functions.
The orientation program addresses the following core areas: the Judicial Person, which deals with the values, attitudes, behavior, and outlook of a member of the Bench; Judicial Skills, which introduces the judges to management and administrative skills, as well as research, communication and decision writing skills that the judicial office demands; and Judicial Knowledge, which engages the participants in a more intense study of substantive and procedural law from a judicial perspective.
5. Orientation Seminar-Workshop for Newly Appointed Clerks of Court
This program is intended to prepare newly appointed Clerks of Court for assumption of office and the discharge of their duties. It aims to take up with them, through a formal training program, the latest administrative issuances of the Supreme Court as well as necessary information on court management and other related concerns. It is also being conducted to meet their professional enhancement needs, to substitute for the MCLE program from which they are exempted by reason of their participation in PHILJA programs.
6. Continuing Legal Education for Court Attorneys
This program, which runs for at least two days, aims to meet the professional enhancement needs of Court Attorneys of the Supreme Court and Appellate Courts, to substitute for the MCLE program requirement from which they are exempted by reason of their participation in PHILJA programs.
The program focuses on updates on law, current jurisprudence and administrative policies, judicial techniques and suggested remedies to problems in trial and procedure, in order to keep the lawyers abreast with the latest developments and trends in the different areas of law.
B. DEVELOPMENT PROGRAM FOR COURT PERSONNEL
This program provides continuing judicial education in response to the need to enhance and update judicial personnel on skills, values, systems, and procedures for a more effective performance of their duties.
C. SPECIAL FOCUS PROGRAMS
These programs cater to judges, court personnel and other stakeholders. They are thematic in nature, focusing on new rules and current trends and developments, as well as emerging issues in particular areas of law, such as, but not limited to, the following:
- Commercial and Banking Laws
- Court Management and Case Flow Management
- Election Laws
- Environmental Law
- Gender Sensitivity
- Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law
- Indigenous Peoples’ Rights Act (IPRA)
- Laws and Rules Relating to Money Laundering and Other Financial Crimes
- New Laws and Jurisprudence
- Personal Security Training
- Rules of Procedure on Financial Rehabilitation
- Strengthening Judicial Integrity and the Rule of Law
- Supreme Court Issuances
- Women’s and Children’s Rights
D. ALTERNATIVE DISPUTE RESOLUTION (ADR) PROGRAMS
1. Court-Annexed Mediation, Mobile Court-Annexed Mediation and Appellate Court Mediation
Mediation is a process of resolving disputes with the help of a neutral third party (Mediator) to reach a settlement mutually acceptable to both parties.
Court-Annexed Mediation (CAM) is one of the SC ADR mechanisms being implemented by PHILJA, whereby a case eligible for mediation at a First Level Court or Regional Trial Court during the pre-trial stage is referred by the presiding judge to the Philippine Mediation Center (PMC) Unit for mediation. Mediation is successful if the parties enter into a Compromise Agreement, and the judge renders a decision based on this agreement. If it fails or the parties refuse to undergo mediation, the case goes back to court for trial.
Mobile Court-Annexed Mediation (MCAM) is a form of court-annexed mediation whereby mediation proceedings are conducted in a mobile court deployed in an area for a certain period.
Appellate Court Mediation (ACM) is a mediation program in the Court of Appeals (CA), corollary to CAM in the lower courts. In ACM, the case had undergone trial and the judgment of the lower court had been appealed to the CA by the aggrieved party.
Judicial Dispute Resolution (JDR) is another SC ADR mechanism whereby a JDR Judge, sequentially acting as conciliator, neutral evaluator and mediator attempts to convince the parties to settle their case amicably if the mediation fails in CAM/MCAM or the parties refuse mediation to facilitate negotiations among the parties to settle their disputes.
Establishment of Units – Prior to the establishment of PMC-CAM Units, PMC-MCAM Units, and PMC-ACM Units, PHILJA and PMCO conduct the following series of trainings, programs and activities:
- Orientation Conference with Stakeholders – This is a one-day advocacy forum in court stations where a PMC Unit is to be established and where mediation is to be introduced. The stakeholders are provided with basic knowledge on the history, development and advantages of mediation in the Philippines. It is attended by trial judges; officers and members of the local IBP; representatives of NGOs, civic clubs, i.e., Rotary, Lions, etc., religious groups, Local Government Units, media and other stakeholders.
- Basic Mediation Course – This is a four-day training course designed to provide trial court trainee Mediators with the requisite knowledge, attitude, and skills that would make them effective and efficient in resolving disputes. The participants of this course are those who pass the interview and screening conducted by the PMC Office.
- Pre-Internship Orientation – This one-day activity is aimed at preparing the judges, clerks of court, and trainee Mediators for the two-month Internship Program.
- Internship Program – This is conducted so that the prospective Mediators can apply what they have learned during the basic training, and to enhance their skills and techniques on mediation. During the Internship, the prospective Mediators handle actual cases under the supervision of a PMC mentor/coach and with the participation of judges, court personnel, and PMC Unit Staff.
- Thereafter, the performance of the trainee Mediators is evaluated by the PMC ExeCom for recommendation to the BOT and SC En Banc for their accreditation as Mediators for a period of two years.
- Refresher/Advanced Course for Mediators – This is a regular program designed to enhance the skills of the Accredited Mediators of the Court for possible re-accreditation.
2. Judicial Dispute Resolution (JDR) Training Programs
The program is specially crafted for judges to develop new skills in connection with their function under Rule 18 of the Rules of Court, more specifically in judicial dispute resolution, which includes a general discussion of issues relating to ethics, gender and social context which may arise in JDR.
3. Specialized Mediation Programs
- Seminar-Workshop on Family Mediation – This three-day program aims to help decongest court dockets and secure acceptable and lasting resolutions to family law-related cases. It puts emphasis on the skills needed for mediation in the family law context through such topics as (a) dynamics of the Filipino family, (b) creative approaches to overcoming obstacles to settlement and promoting reconciliation, (c) ethical dilemmas particular to familial disputes, (d) gender and child sensitivity, and (e) administrative procedures related to family court mediation. Such skills would make them effective in resolving family disputes through compromise agreements that are fair, lasting, and will serve the mutual interest of all parties.
- Other Specialized Mediation Programs – The PMCO continues to formulate and draft curricula for other specialized forms of mediation, such as in the field of environmental, commercial, and agrarian laws. It also gives importance to the drafting of curricula for the training of mediators among indigenous peoples.
4. Development Programs for PMC Unit Staff
- Work Orientation and Skills Enhancement Seminar for PMC Unit Staff – This is a three-day activity designed to professionalize the PMC Units nationwide by equipping all the PMC Unit Staff with the necessary skills and attitudes for the efficient operations of their respective units.
5. National ADR Conference
- This is a program conducted by the PMC Office every two years. The conference aims to provide appropriate, reasonable, and ethical dispute resolution mechanisms in accordance with the vision of the Judiciary.
The program serves as a vehicle for learning experiences and opportunities geared towards the improvement of the quality of judicial service, through the enhancement of judicial and managerial skills and knowledge, as well as the strengthening of work values.
All national conventions of judges and court employees have an academic component and are usually conducted for one and a half days. This opportunity has been optimized by the Academy to make judicial education accessible to a wider group of judicial persons. Effective methodologies had been developed to cope with a huge audience.
The following court-accredited associations hold their convention-seminars in partnership with PHILJA:
- Philippine Judges Association (PJA) – an annual convention for all Regional Trial Court (RTC) judges
- Philippine Women Judges Association (PWJA) – an annual convention for all lady justices and judges
- Philippine Trial Judges League, Inc. (PTJLI) – an annual convention for First Level Trial Court Judges excluding judges from Metropolitan Trial Courts and Municipal Trial Courts in Cities
- Metropolitan Trial Court Judges Association of the Philippines (MeTCJAP) – an annual convention for all judges of Metropolitan Trial Courts and Municipal Trial Courts in Cities
- Clerks of Court Association of the Philippines (COCAP) – a biennial convention for all RTC Clerks of Court
- First Level Clerks of Court Association of the Philippines (FLECCAP) – a biennial convention for all Clerks of Court of the First Level Trial Courts
- Court Legal Researchers Association of the Philippines (CLERAP) – a biennial convention for Legal Researchers of First and Second Level Courts
- Philippine Association of Court Interpreters (PHILACI) – a biennial convention for Court Interpreters of First and Second Level Courts
- Court Stenographic Reporters Association of the Philippines (COSTRAPHIL) – a biennial convention for Stenographers of First and Second Level Courts
- Sheriffs Confederation of the Philippines (SCOPHIL) – a biennial convention for all Sheriffs of First and Second Level Courts.
- Philippine Association of Court Social Workers, Inc. (PACSWI) – a biennial convention for Social Workers of First and Second Level Courts
- Judiciary Association of Clerks of the Philippines (JACOPHIL) – a biennial convention for all Clerks of First and Second Level Courts
- Philippine Association of Court Employees (PACE) – a biennial convention for all First and Second Level employees of the Judiciary
- Court Librarians Association of the Philippines (CLAPHIL) – a biennial convention for Librarians of First and Second Level Courts.
F. PROGRAM FOR QUASI-JUDICIAL AGENCIES
The program is another manifestation of PHILJA’s commitment, not only to the judiciary but also to the continuing legal education of officers and lawyers of quasi-judicial agencies, pursuant to the Resolution of the Supreme Court En Banc in A.M. No. 99-7-02-SC-PHILJA, dated July 6, 1999. The topics discussed are of particular interest and usefulness to the quasi-judicial agencies concerned. Participants are given MCLE credits.
G. DISCUSSION SESSIONS/ROUNDTABLE DISCUSSIONS
Through these discussions, members of the collegiate courts are apprised of and consulted on recent legislative enactments, Supreme Court issuances, and jurisprudence in the different areas of law.
H. SPECIAL LECTURES
1. Distinguished Lecture Series
This academic activity was conceptualized when the Philippine Supreme Court, in celebration of its centennial year, conducted the Centenary Lecture Series, an activity held from July 2000 to March 2002. The series featured 14 lectures of well-known legal experts and jurists who spoke on various legal and judicial topics of fundamental significance in the development of the Philippine Judiciary, as well as on current laws and jurisprudence.
In 2005, the concept was adopted in the Chief Justice Hilario G. Davide, Jr. Distinguished Lecture Series, held to mark the valedictory year of the Chief Justice. The activity featured a series of lectures delivered by outstanding foreign and local jurists on topics highlighting judicial reforms, recent legal trends and issues, as well as the Chief Justice’s legacies in and out of the Judiciary. The monthly lectures were held either at the Supreme Court Session Hall or at different law schools within Metro Manila, and were attended by Philippine jurists, law academics, representatives of the business sector and other non-governmental organizations.
As part of its knowledge-sharing activities under its judicial reform initiatives, the Supreme Court continued to include the lecture series in its annual activities, beginning with the Distinguished Lectures, Series of 2007. The year 2008 featured timely and significant lectures on constitutional law, on judicial administration of cases involving indigenous peoples, on the metes and bounds of Philippine Territory, on customary international humanitarian law, and on command responsibility. These were delivered by the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Spain, a Judge of the New Zealand High Court, a former Philippine Permanent Representative to the United Nations, the head of the Customary International Humanitarian Law Project of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), and the former president of the International Criminal Court for the former Yugoslavia.
As Chief Justice Reynato S. Puno remarked, “The goal of this lecture series is to deepen and broaden our understanding of the law by inviting legal scholars to give discourses that shall not only consider the realism and the pragmatism of contemporary legal principles, but also the theoretical and the transcendental issues that will complete our vision of what the law is and ought to be.”
2. The Founding Chancellor Emeritus Ameurfina A. Melencio Herrera Award for the Most Outstanding Professorial Lecturer
On November 12, 2012, PHILJA Chancellor Adolfo S. Azcuna delivered his lecture on the topic “The Writ of Amparo: The Philippine Experience So Far,” having been chosen by the Academic Council as the first recipient of the Founding Chancellor Emeritus Ameurfina A. Melencio Herrera Award for the Most Outstanding Professorial Lecturer. Justice Azcuna spoke on the developments in the implementation of the Writ after the Supreme Court released its resolution in A.M. No. 07-9-12-SC on the Rule on the Writ of Amparo.
This annual award for the most outstanding professorial lecturer was made possible with funds donated by the children of Justice Herrera to honor her on her 90th birthday on May 22, 2012, and to serve as their contribution in the promotion of judicial excellence.
3. The METROBANK FOUNDATION, INC. Professorial Chair Lecture
This is a yearly endowment of the Metrobank Foundation, Inc. to encourage members of the PHILJA Corps of Professors to write and lecture on innovative concepts and approaches on designated areas of law. The activity aims to enrich members of the judiciary, legal profession, and other sectors by the lecturer’s expertise on the assigned topic.
In order to extend the benefits of the lectures to more audiences, PHILJA has partnered with the Metrobank Foundation, Inc. (MBFI) in the roll-out of the lectures and also to open for discussion new developments on the lecture topics.
I. INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCES
PHILJA organizes international conferences for knowledge sharing, as may be directed by the Chief Justice, or upon the request of foreign institutions or development partners (Appendix F).
In 2003, PHILJA conducted the First Asia Pacific Judicial Educators’ Forum (APJEF) attended by local and foreign delegates from 13 countries. During this conference, the APJEF Charter was signed and the Chancellor was elected as Chairperson of its Executive Committee. In October 2006, the Global Forum on Liberty and Prosperity was held on the theme “Safeguarding Prosperity for the Peoples of the World.” The program aimed to forge international understanding of the principles of Liberty and Prosperity and to consider the challenges confronting its fulfillment. Among the plenary speakers were the Chief Justices of Canada and Nepal, and justices of Argentina, Australia, and Benin.
In 2008, in collaboration with the Embassy of Italy in Manila, PHILJA successfully conducted the International Conference on the International Criminal Court which brought together expert lecturers and staunch advocates of human rights for high-level discussions on upholding humanity through the implementation of international humanitarian law.
In October 2011, PHILJA hosted the Fourth Hague Conference on Private International Law (HCCH), Conference de la Haye de Droit International Privé, Asia Pacific Regional Conference, in partnership with the DFA-Office of Legal Affairs and the UP Law Center–Institute of International Legal Studies. The conference provided a venue for the representatives from 23 countries to discuss the latest work of the HCCH and to exchange information and experiences relating to the implementation of certain Hague Conventions, such as the Intercountry Adoption Convention, the Apostille Convention, the Service Convention, and the International Child Protection Convention.