Green Thoughts – Paper-less courts

With the recent appointment of Supreme Court Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno, one of the main points on her first speech is to find a way to have our Philippine Courts to be paper-less court.

Getting involved in a lawsuit or a crime is time consuming, frustrating and even confusing if you don’t really know the ins and outs of filing a case.  I believe that filing a case is the last option or resort one can do. If there is really no options for an amicable settlement, then the court should decide for the parties.

We are all very aware that in every cases filed in the court, numerous papers are needed and just imagine that you need to photocopy a sets for each pleadings to be given to the other parties and to each institution needed to receive such.   The complainant or the plaintiff which is the aggrieved party has to file a complaint before the Prosecution office / Fiscal office and from there, a resolution would be made whether a case will pursue or if there is a probable cause.

go green go paper-less

With the actual complaint , it will be received by the office of the clerk of court and a raffle will be done to determine which sala would handle the case.   The court will send summons or notice to the accused/defendant for the court to have a jurisdiction over the case.  And this is where the initial hearing or what we called arraignment takes place.

In this process, before the initial trial  begun almost hundreds of papers has already consumed by the court and both parties involved in a case.   And as the trial progresses, the amount of papers used will become voluminous , not to forget all the papers used as a scratched in every orders or resolutions done by the court.

And let’s us remember that aside from the Supreme Court and Court of Appeals, there are thousands of courts /sala in our country.  Just imagine that each sala consume one paper a day, that’s a thousand of papers in a day and equivalent that to atleast 20 days that’s  20,000 papers in 20 days because we don’t have works on saturday and sunday.

So, in my sample computation, if we consume 1,000 papers in a day for  240 days that’s a huge amount of 240,000 papers in a year.  If we look on studies, one tree can only produce 8,350 sheets per tree.

Imagine that without any computations, we would be cutting all the trees in this land to produce papers for our courts and yes , i believe that our courts are one of the many government institutions who uses paper in their every day work.

So, if this paper-less courts advocacy would push through, i think it would be big deal in our environment.

 Here are some reasons and benefits of a paper less office ;

  • Easy storage – using computer or digital storage could mean less storage for cases.
  • Reduced costs – each year , Supreme court was issuing reams of bond paper to each courts, if we will go to paper-less, we can save an ample amount of money
  • Time savings – because of the voluminous records, with proper storage and labels, it could take you days looking for a single record, especially if that case was way back in the 80’s and 90’s.
  • Accessibility –  going digital means, you can access it anytime and anywhere.  Everybody with a pass key or password can access the data that’s mean extra security because records can get lost .
  • automatic auditing and reporting – now doing reports can be at the tip of your fingers.  You don’t need days of auditing cases/records.
Now, in each pros there is always con or negative aspect in going paper – less;
  • We all know that for each case, there are pleadings, so i guess going digital for that would be hard to assure.
  • Going digital does not ensure the quality of work .  There might have an human error, if the clerk or the recorder who creates the digital record commits mistakes, it would be hard for the court and as well as the parties.
  • Retrieving records could be ease in digital but just like in our place where brown outs/ black outs is very common, what would one do if this problems arises.
Now, this is a new challenge for SJ Sereno on how she can able to make our court paper-less and if she would push through which i wish would be, i hope it would be a good help for the judiciary.
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Comments

  1. It is well and good to go paperless but the thing with technology, it is sometimes unreliable. What will happen if the “system” gets hacked? Or it shuts down? It will take a lot of planning before it can be implemented. Then the offices involved will have to either hire people who are computer literate or train their old staff. This requires money. There are a lot of factors to consider and it may take a long time. But you might be right, this could be a good idea. If only it will not be rushed.

  2. Hmmm I don’t think courts will get away at going paperless,at least at one point for documentary purposes printed copies of the decisions is needed. Unless all judges and clerks of courts and lawyers will have iPad on each court with an app where judgements are uploaded for easy access and downloading. Gosh that will take forever to upload old court decisions! Better start typing and hiring typist/ encoders now!

  3. That’s a great idea to go paperless. Had no idea that much paper was used each day. I learn something new each day.

  4. mmh.. this one sounds really good. though, we can technical problems in one point of our life and we need to everything manually. xx

  5. agree with commenter number one. of course there are always pros and cons no matter what is or whether staying the traditional method or using the modern method… this takes proper planning and serious consideration whether to go paperless or not…

  6. good suggestion, hopefully this will be implemented in the future to help save our dying mother nature

  7. RonSilvoza.com says

    totally an amazing idea to follow. specially by a government branch… saves trees and saves our environment…

    i thought of the supreme court right after seeing the title… thought i was wrong… hehe

    thanks for sharing.. 🙂

  8. been there done that.I sued somebody and it is not easy to do. but if you know what to do or somebody in the family is a lawyer, that will help a lot.

  9. I’d rather go paperless bills than the traditional way of receiving snail mails. Or might as well buy envelops that are eco-friendly that way either way we can help save the earth.

  10. This is very informative. Points are clearly stated and easily understood. This Paperless advocacy when pushed through will really to good to our environment but in return it will be a lot of work lawyers and clients. I wonder how this will work out.

  11. This is very informative. Points are clearly stated and easily understood. This paperless advocacy when pushed through will really do good to our environment but in return it will be a lot of work for lawmakers and all involved. I wonder how this will work out.

  12. it will be a real challenge for our courts to go paperless..but it is a good idea because it will save a lot of trees..

  13. I do agree. Sometimes technology doesn’t work well and going paper is the way to go. I guess we can think of to save the paper, recycle them and use them again as paper? I don’t know, it has to be something done that doesn’t have to cost a lot of trees. I guess we all have to contribute to saving trees as well.

  14. I hope that paperless court plan will push through. It will saves the earth from using so many papers that the clients never understand. I am not sure if America is using paperless too. It saves big time for the environment.

  15. I think it’s a great idea, but I’m not sure this is going to be push through…let’s wait and see…:)

    visiting here too Marz!

  16. wow! paper-less courts sound nice and novel. but i wonder, with a government like ours, sounds like convenience in eliminating evidence with the click of a button.

  17. Its ok to be paperless as long as quality is considered all of the time

  18. Jessica Cassidy says

    Paperless saves the environment and of course money and time 🙂 Dropping by from BPC

  19. it is possible to go paper-less. paper-less doesn’t mean zero-use of paper, right. they can just reduce the use of it. However, i think it will be hard for the end-users. have you tried reading those thick documents from a monitor? sometimes it is easier to read and understand a document when holding it.

  20. Teresa Martinez says

    It would be ideal to lessen consumption of paper although I am not sure if this applicable to legal matters because of the very nature of transactions involved.

  21. Great move, I love her already! Hope this pushes through…will really save a lot of trees!

  22. Going paperless is really good for the environment. It may take years and years for it to be accomplished by the SC but good thing plan of it is being pursued.

  23. i m not sure about this paperless, here in US, although its recorded in the computer, they still print it out the case and hand it to the judge. though the usage of paper is minimal, still they used paper. if they are gonna do paper-less then they need to have a back-up on the cases, so if something happen to the computer, then it will not be erase.

  24. nice idea to go paperless but I can’t live life without paper. what if life won’t have electricity? the gadgets won’t work, we need paper. lol less usage and proper disposal will help environment.

  25. I think that it would be an awesome idea! Even if it couldn’t be paperless completely cutting down is completely possible.

  26. I’m glad you pointed out both sides of the story. Sometimes the Green way looks like a no brainer. But it’s often more complicated that it seems.

  27. I work in the medical field and we are rapidly going paperless. Not only does it save time, energy and resources, but when it comes to medical documentation it has been proven to save millions of lives per year by using electronic medical recording systems. Errors related to poor handwritting are eliminated.

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