Civil Procedure: Judgments, Final Orders and Entry Thereof

Judgments, Final Orders and Entry Thereof (Rule 36)

  1. Judgment and Final Order Defined
    1. Judgment
      1. A judgment is the final ruling by a court of competent jurisdiction regarding the rights or other matters submitted to it in an action or proceedings.
      2. A judgment is the court’s official and final consideration and determination of the respective rights and obligations of the parties.
      3. A judgment maybe broadly defined as the decision or sentence of the law given by a court or other tribunal as the result of proceedings instituted therein.
      4. Requisite of a valid Judgment
        1. for a judgment to be valid, the following requisites must be present:
          1. the court or tribunal must be clothed with authority to hear and determine the matter before it;
          2. the court must have jurisdiction over the parties and the subject matter;
          3. the parties must have been given the opportunity to adduce evidence in their behalf;
          4. the evidence must have been considered by the tribunal in deciding the case;
          5. the judgment must be in writing, personally and directly prepared by the judge. A verbal judgment is, in contemplation of law, not in esse, therefore ineffective;
          6. the judgment must state clearly the facts and the law upon which it is based, signed by the judge and filed with the clerk of court.
            1. effects of failure to state clearly the facts and the law in the judgment.
              1. the judgment will not comply to the requirement of the Constitution which is a paramount component of due process and fair play;
              2. the judgment will leave the parties in the dark as to how the decision was reached;
              3. the judgment will be prejudicial to the losing party who is unable to pinpoint the possible errors of the court for review by higher tribunal;
              4. the judgment is a patent nullity and will be struck down and set aside as void;
              5. the SC will not hesitate to strike down decisions rendered which do not comply with the Constitutional directive.
            2. Orders granting or dismissing a motion to dismiss
              1. It is required that resolutions disposing of a motion to dismiss shall state clearly and distinctly the reasons therefor.
    2. Final Order
      1. Final Order is an order issued by the court which disposes of the subject matter in its entirety or terminates a particular proceeding or action, leaving nothing more to be done except to enforce by execution what the court has determined, but the latter does not completely dispose of the case but leaves something else to be decided upon.
  2. Judgment based on compromise agreements
    1. Compromise Agreement is a contract whereby the parties, by making reciprocal concessions avoid a litigation or put an end to one already commenced.
      1. as a contract, a compromise is perfected by mutual consent.
      2. The validity of a compromise is dependent upon its compliance with the requisites and principles of contracts dictated by law.
      3. the terms and condition of a compromise must not be contrary to law, morals good customs, public policy and public order.
      4. the terms and conditions of a compromise agreement must not be contrary to law, morals, good customs, public policy and public order.
        1. Any compromise agreement that is contrary to law or public policy is null and void, and vests no rights in and holds no obligation for any party. It produces no legal effects at all.
    2. Kinds of Compromise Agreements
      1. Judicial – if the objective is to put an end to a pending litigation; While immediately binding between the parties upon execution, is not executory until it is approved by the court and reduced to a judgment.
        1. Effects of Judicial Compromise – a compromise agreement intended to resolve a matter already under litigation is a judicial compromise. Having judicial mandate and entered as its determination of the controversy, such judicial compromise has the force and effect of a judgment. It transcends its identity as a mere contract between the parties, as it becomes a judgment that is subject to execution in accordance with the Rules of Court.
      2. Extrajudicial – if the objective is to avoid a litigation.
    3. Requisites of a compromise agreement
      1. A Compromise agreement must comply with with the requisites in Art. 1318 of the Civil Code to wit:
        1. consent of the contracting parties;
        2. object certain that is the subject matter of the contract; and
        3. cause of the obligation that is established;
  3. Judgment nunc pro tunc
    1. A judgment nunc pro tunc is one intended to enter into the record acts which had already been done, but which do not yet appear in the record.
    2. a nunc pro tunc judgment is to place in proper form on the record those matters previously rendered to make the record speak the truth and to reflect deliberations and discussions had on the issue. In a sense, it is a correction of clerical and not judicial error.
  4. Judgment sin perjuicio
    1. A judgment sin perjuicio is traditionally understood to be a brief judgment containing only the dispositive portion, without prejudice to the making of a more extensive discussion of the findings of fact and law to support it. This is not actually the final decision. (Riano)
    2. It is a judgment rendered by the court without prejudice to the refiling of the case. (Tan)
  5. Immutability of Judgment
    1. Under the doctrine of Immutability of judgments (conclusiveness of judgments), a judgment that has attained finality can no longer be disturbed. the doctrine, which is sometimes refered to as preclusion of issues or collateral estoppel, holds that issues actually and directly resolved in a former suit cannot again be raised in any future case between the same parties.
    2. The doctrine prohibits any alteration, modification, or correction of final and executory judgment as what remains to be done is the purely ministerial enforcement or execution of the judgment.
    3. This doctrine applies regardless of whether the modification is attempted to be made by the court rendering it or by the highest court of the land.
    4. Reasons for the rule on immutability of judgments
      1. To avoid delay in the administration of justice and, thus, procedurally, to make orderly the discharge of judicial business; and
      2. To put an end to judicial controversies, at the risk of occasional errors, which is precisely why courts exist.
    5. PEÑA vs. GSIS, – G.R. No. 159520, September 19, 2006
  6. Doctrine of Judicial Stability or Non-Interference
    1. The doctrine of Non-Interference has been regarded as  an elementary principle of higher importance in the administration of justice that the judgment of a court of a competent jurisdiction may not be opened, modified, or vacated by any court of concurrent jurisdiction.
    2. a Judge of a branch of one should not annul the order of a judge of another branch of the same court. Any branch even if it be in the same judicial district that attempts to annul a judgment of a branch of the CFI either exceeds its jurisdiction or acts with grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack of jurisdiction. Thus, the various branches of the Court of First Instance (RTC) being co-equal cannot interfere with the respective cases of each branch, much less a branch’s order or judgment.
    3. PANLILIO vs. SALONGA – G.R. No. 113087 June 27, 1994
  7. Conflict between the dispositive portion and body of the decision
    1. Body of the decision (Ratio decidendi) refers to the legal, moral, political and social principles on which a court’s decision rests. It is the rationale for reaching the decision of a case.
    2. Dispositive Portion (Fallo) – It is the dispositive part of the judgment that actually settles and declares the rights and obligations of the parties, finally, definitively, and authoritatively, notwithstanding, the existence of inconsistent statements in the body that may tend to confuse.
    3. Conflict between the Ratio Decidendi vs Fallo
      1. General Rule is that where there is a conflict between the dispositive portion or fallo of the decision and the ratio decidendi, the fallo controls. the fallo  is the final order while the opinion in the body is merely a statement ordering nothing.
      2. Exception is where the inevitable conclusion from the body of the decision is so clear that there was a mere mistake in the fallo. The Ratio decidendi will prevail.
        1. GONZALES vs SOLID CEMENT CORPORATION – G.R. No. 198423, October 23, 2012
        2. ARMOVIT vs CA – G.R. No. 154559, October 5, 2011
          1. It is basic that when there is a conflict between the dispositive portion or fallo of a Decision and the opinion of the court contained in the text or body of the judgment, the former prevails over the latter. An order of execution is based on the disposition, not on the body, of the Decision. This rule rests on the theory that the fallo is the final order while the opinion in the body is merely a statement ordering nothing.

            Indeed, the foregoing rule is not without an exception. We have held that where the inevitable conclusion from the body of the decision is so clear as to show that there was a mistake in the dispositive portion, the body of the decision will prevail.

  8. Remedy against a final and executory judgment
    1. Despite the doctrine of immutability of judgments, certain changes in such judgment may be effected under the following exceptions:
      1. The correction of clerical errors;
      2. The so-called nunc pro tunc entries which cause no prejudice to any party;
      3. whenever circumstances transpire after the finality of the decision rendering its execution unjust and inequitable;
      4. In cases of special and exceptional nature which render the judgment’s execution impossible or unjust, when necessary in the interest of justice to direct its modification to harmonize the disposition with prevailing circumstances;
      5. In cases of void judgments;
      6. when there is a strong showing that a grave injustice would result form the application of the rules;
      7. When there are grounds for annulment of the judgment or a petition for relief.

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