Civil Procedure: Pre-Trial

Pre-Trial (Rule 18)

  1. What to consider?
    1. “Sec. 1 When conducted – After the last pleading has been served and filed, it shall be the duty of the plaintiff to promptly move ex parte  that the case be set for Pre-trial.”
      1. To conduct the Pre-trial, the following are the requisites:
        1. The last pleading has been served and filed by the parties; and
        2. the plaintiff must promptly move ex parte that the case be set for pre-trial.
  2. Purpose of Pre-Trial
    1. Sec 2. Nature and Purpose. – The pre-trial is mandatory. The court shall consider:
      1. The possibility of an amicable settlement or of a submission to alternative modes of dispute resolution;
      2. The simplification of issues;
      3. The necessity or desirability of amendments to the pleadings;
      4. The possibility of obtaining stipulations or admissions of facts and of documents to avoid unnecessary proof;
      5. The limitation of the number of witnesses;
      6. The advisability of a preliminary reference of issues to a commissioner;
      7. The propriety of rendering judgment on the pleadings, or summary judgment, or of dismissing the action should a valid ground therefor be found to exist;
      8. The advisability or necessity of suspending the proceedings; and
      9. Such other matters as may aid in the prompt disposition of the action.
    2. Philam vs Enario, – G.R. No. 182075, September 15, 2010
    3. LCK INDUSTRIES INC., vs. PLANTERS DEVELOPMENT BANK – G.R. No. 170606, November 23, 2007
  3. Duty to set the case for pre-trial
    1. “Sec. 1 When conducted – After the last pleading has been served and filed, it shall be the duty of the plaintiff to promptly move ex parte  that the case be set for Pre-trial.”
      1. based on the above mention provision, it is the duty of the plaintiff to promptly move ex parte be set for Pre-trial;
    2. A.M. No. 03-1-09-SC, July 13, 2004
      1. Promptly move ex parte  that the case be set for Pre-trial.
        1. The abovementioned Administrative Matter of the SC defined the promptly move ex parte  that the case be set for Pre-trial provides thus:
          1. Within 5 days from date of filing of the reply, the plaintiff must prompty move ex parte that the case be set for pre-trial conference. If the plaintiff fails to file said motion within the given period, the branch clerk of court shall issue a notice of pre-trial.
  4. Mandatory Requirement
    1. Sec. 2, Sec. 3, Supreme Court Circular No. 38-98, August 11, 1998
      1. Sec 2. The limit for arraignment and pre-trial – The Arraignment and Pre-Trial, if the accused pleads not guilty to the crime charged, shall be held within 30 days from the date the court acquires jurisdiction over the person of the accused. The pendency of a motion to quash, bill of particulars, or other cause justifying suspension of arraignment shall be excluded.
      2. Sec 3. Mandatory Pre-trial in criminal cases – In all criminal cases cognizable by the Sandiganbayan, Regional Trial Court, Metropolitan Trial Court, Municipal Trial Court in cities, Municipal Trial Court and Municipal Circuit Trial Court shall, after arraignment, order a Pre-trial conference to consider the following:
        1. Plea bargaining;
        2. Stipulation of Facts;
        3. Marking for identification of evidence of the parties;
        4. Waiver of objections to admissibility of evidence; and
        5. Such other matters as will promote a fair and expeditious trial of the criminal and civil aspects of the case.
    2. RA 8493 – Speedy Trial Act
  5. Effect of Failure to Appear
    1. Sec. 4 Appearance of parties – It shall be the duty of the parties and thier counsel to appear at the pre-trial. The non-appearance of a party may be excused only if a valid cause is shown therefor or if a representative shall appear in his behalf fully authorized in writing to enter into an amicable settlement, to submit to alternative mode of dispute resolution, and to enter into stipulations or admissions of facts and of documents.
    2. Sec. 4 of RA 8494 – Nonappearance at the Pre-trial Conference –   where the counsel  for the accused or prosecutor does not appear at the pre-trial conference and does not offer an acceptable excuse for his/her lack of cooperation, the pre-trial judge or justice may impose proper sanction or penalties.
      1. Representative who is fully authorized in writing in behalf of the plaintiff or his counsel to: (ASA)
        1. To enter into an Amicable settlement;
        2. To enter into Stipulations or admissions of facts and of documents; and
        3. To submit to Alternative mode of dispute resolution;
      2. The failure of the plaintiff to appear when so required under sec. 4 shall be cause for the dismissal of the action. The dismissal shall be with prejudice, unless otherwise ordered by the court.
      3. A similar failure on the part of the defendant shall be cause to allow the plaintiff to present his evidence ex parte and the court to render judgment on the basis thereof.
    3. CITIBANK, N.A. vs. SPOUSES CORPUZ – G.R. No. 177133, July 31, 2009
    4. AGUILAR vs. LIGHTBRINGERS CREDIT COOPERATIVE – G.R. No. 209605, January 12, 2015
  6. Effect of failure to file Pre-trial brief
    1. What is a Pre-trial brief?
      1. A pre-trial brief is a brief required to be filed by the parties before the pre-trial and containing, among others: (ASA WIDE)
        1. A statement of their willingness to enter into amicable settlement;
        2. A summary of admitted facts and proposed stipulation if the facts;
        3. A statement of willingness to enter into alternative modes of dispute resolution;
        4. The number and names of the witnesses, and the substance of their respective testimonies;
        5. The issue to be tried or resolved;
        6. A manifestation of their having availed of their intention to avail themselves of discovery procedures or referral to commissioners.
        7. The documents or exhibits to be presented stating the purpose thereof;
    2. How is the pre-trial brief filed and served?
      1. It should be filed with the court and served on the adverse party, in such manner as shall ensure their receipt thereof at least 3 days before the date of the pre-trial.
    3. What is the effect of the failure to file a pre-trial brief?
      1. Failure to file or serve the pre-trial brief shall have the same effect as to failure to appear at the pre-trail, hence, the dismissal of the complaint for the failure of the plaintiff, or presentation of evidence ex parte of the plaintiff for the failure of the defendant.
    4. DURBAN APARTMENTS CORPORATION vs. PIONEER INSURANCE AND SURETY CORPORATION – G.R. No. 179419, January 12, 2011

2nd Semester 2019-2020

  1.  PRE-TRIAL
    1. What to consider? After the last responsive pleading has been served and filed, the branch clerk shall issue within 5 calendar days from filing, a notice of pre-trial which shall be set not later than 60 calendar days from the filing of the last responsive pleading.
  2. Purpose of Pre-Trial – The Pre-trial is mandatory and should be terminated promptly. The court shall consider:
    • Possibility of an amicable settlement or submission to alternative modes of dispute resolution.
    • The simplification of the issues.
    • Possibility of obtaining stipulations or admission of facts and documents to avoid unnecessary proofs.
    • Limitation and identification of witnesses and the setting of the trial dates.
    • The advisability of a preliminary reference of issues to a commissioner.
    • The propriety of rendering judgment on the pleadings, or summary judgment, or of dismissing the action should a valid ground therefor be found to exist.
    • The requirement for the parties to:
      • Mark their respective evidences if not yet marked in the judicial affidavits of their witnesses;
      • Examine and make comparisons of the adverse parties evidence vis-à-vis the copies to be marked;
      • Manifest for the record stipulations regarding the faithfulness of the reproductions and the genuineness and due execution of the adverse parties evidence.
      • Reserve evidences not available at the time of the pre-trial, but only in the following manner:
        • For testimonial evidence, by giving the name or position and nature of testimony of the proposed witness;
        • For documentary evidence and other object evidence, by giving a particular description of the evidence;

No reservation shall be allowed if not made in the manner described above.

  • Such manner as may aid in the prompt disposition of the action.

The failure without just cause of a party and counsel to appear during pre-trial despite notice, shall result in the waiver of any objections to the faithfulness of the reproductions marked, or their genuineness and due execution.

The failure without just cause of a party and or counsel to bring the evidence required shall be deemed a waiver of the presentation od such evidence.

 

The branch clerk of court shall prepare the minutes of the pre-trial which shall have the following format.

  1. Philam v. En G.R. No. 182075

“Pre-Trial cannot be taken for granted. It is not a mere technicality in court proceedings for it serves a vital objective: the simplification, abbreviation and expedition of the trial, if not indeed its dispensation”

  • LCK Industries Inc., et al. v. Planters Development Bank, G.R. No. 170606, November 23, 2007

“Generally, pre-trial is primarily intended to make certain that all issues necessary to the disposition of a case are properly raised. Thus, to obliviate the element of surprise, parties are expected to disclose at pre-trial conference all issues of law and fact they intended to raise at the trial.”

“However, in cases in which the issue may involve privileged or impeaching matters, or if the issues are impliedly included therein or may be inferable therefrom by necessary implication to be integral parts of the pre-trial order as much as those that are expressly stipulated, the general rule will not apply.”

  1. Duty to set case for pre-trial
    1. M. No. 03-1-09-SC, July 13, 2004

“Within 5 days from the date of the filing of the reply, the plaintiff must promptly movr rx parte that the case be set for pre-trial conference. If the plaintiff fails to file said motion within the given period, the branch Clerk of Court shall issue a notice of pre-trial.”

  1. Mandatory requirement
    1. 2, Rule 18;

“Nature and Purpose. – The pre-trial is mandatory and should be terminated promptly.”

  1. 3, Supreme Court Circular No. 38-98, August 11, 1998; Republic Act No. 8493 – Speedy Trial Act

 

“Mandatory Pre-trial in Criminal Cases. – In all cases cognizable by the Sandiganbayan, Regional Trial Court, Metropolitan Trial Court, Municipal Trial Court in Cities, Municipal Trial Court and Municipal Circuit Trial Court, the court shall, after arraignment, order a pre-trial conference to consider the following:

  1. Plea Bargaining;
  2. Stipulation of Facts:
  3. Marking for identification of evidence of the parties;
  4. Waiver of objections to admissibility of evidence; and
  5. Such other matters as will promote a fair and expeditious trial of the criminal and civil aspects of the case.

If the accused has pleaded not guilty to the crime charged, he may state whether  he interposes a negative or affirmative defense. A negative defense shall require the prosecution to prove the guilt of the accused beyond reasonable doubt, while an affirmative defense may modify the order of trial and require the accused to prove such defense by clear and convincing evidence.”

Effect of failure to appear

    1. Citibank, N.A. v. Sps. Corpuz, R. No. 177133, July 31, 2009

“Section 5 of Rule 18 provides the the dismissal of an action due to the plaintiff’s failure to appear in the pre-trial shall be with prejudice, unless otherwise ordered by the court. In this case, the trial court deemed the plaintiffs herein spouses as non=suited and ordered the dismissal of there complaint. As the dismissal was a final order, the proper remedy was to file an ordinary appeal  and not a petition for certiorari. The spouses’ petition for certiorari was thus properly dismissed by the appellate court.”

“This situation is also covered by section 3, as extended judicial interpretation, and ordered upon motion of defendant or motu propio by the court. Here, the issue of whether defendant has a pending counterclaim, permissive or compulsory is not of determinative significance. The dismissal of the plaintiff’s complaint is evidently a confirmation of the failure of evidence to prove his cause of action outlined therein, hence the dismissal is considered, as a matter of evidence, and adjudication on the merits. This does not, however, mean that there is likewise such an absence of evidence to prove defendant’s counterclaim although the same arises out of the subject matter of the complaint which was merely lack of proof.”

  1. Aguilar, et al. v. Lightbringers Credit Cooperative, R. No. 209605, January 12, 2015

“If the absent party is the plaintiff, then his case shall be dismissed. If it is the defendant who fails to appear, then the plaintiff is allowed to present his evidence ex parte and the court shall render judgement on the basis thereof. Thus, the plaintiff is given the privilege to present his evidence without objection from the defendant, the likelihood being that the court will decide in favor of the plaintiff, the defendant having forfeited the opportunity to rebut or present his own evidence.”

  1. Effect of failure to file Pre-Trial brief
    1. Durban Apartments Corp. v. Pioneer Insurance and Surety Corp., R. No. 179419, January 12, 2011

“Failure to file the pre-trial brief shall have the same effect as failure to appear at the pre-trial”

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