I represented myself before the small claims court. Here’s how it went.

I represented myself before the small claims court. Here’s how it went.

(NOTE: This is the second in a series of posts about my experience with the small claims court system in the Philippines. My case was assigned as Small Claims Case No. 18-12084.)

In the previous post, I listed the different documentary evidences that you need to prepare before filing a small claims case. This includes gathering proofs that you are actually owed money as well as copies of demand letter. In case you are ready with all the necessary documents, you can now proceed to file your small claims case in the nearest Metropolitan or Municipal Trial Court.

 All necessary forms are already provided by the Court, and you only need to fill it out. The texts in the document are printed in both English and Filipino which will make it easier for people to understand. You also need to pay the required filing fee which depends on the amount that you are claiming.

Once you have filed your case, wait for it to be raffled or assigned to a particular judge, and for the hearing schedule to be given. Expect the hearing to be scheduled a month or so since you filed the case.

In the meantime, you may consult a lawyer during this process, but he or she can neither accompany you during the hearing nor appear on your behalf. Familiarizing yourself with the small claims process and having a little knowledge of legal jargon would be very helpful. 

Appearing before a small claims court – my experience

What to expect during the hearing:

  1. You have to show up during your hearing date. Otherwise, your small claims case would get dismissed. No one else can show up on your behalf. While there is no prescribed dress code, you are advised to look professional.
  2. Once more, you cannot be accompanied by a lawyer during the hearing.
  3. Expect that the judge would be hearing several small claims cases during that time. Observe proper court decorum while waiting for your turn.

My small claims case was heard last December 7, 2018. I decided to wear long sleeves and slacks. At that time, I thought the defendant wouldn’t come but she arrived shortly before the proceedings started.

There were other cases heard before mine, and so I took the opportunity to listen. One notable case I remember involves a lending company. Then my turn finally came. The judge asked the defendant and I to come to the front on opposite aisles. I was asked to speak first, and I said everything I said earlier in this post. Then, it was Josie’s turn. She falsely claimed that the money that she owes me is actually for her jewelry business.

Hearing her lies, I shouted something like “Sinungaling ka!” to her, for which the judge reprimanded me. He told me there is no need to do that because I have already amplified my case adequately. Later that day, the judge issued his ruling in my favor. However, winning a small claims case is one thing, and actually getting your money back is another.

(PS: In the next post, I will be recounting my continuing struggle in getting my money back.)

About Author



Mark Pere Madrona

The Filipino Scribe (TFS) is managed by Mark Pere Madrona, a multi-awarded writer and licensed professional teacher from the Philippines. Mr. Madrona earned his master’s degree in history from the University of the Philippines-Diliman last 2020. He obtained his bachelor’s degree in journalism cum laude from the same university back in 2010. His area of interests includes Philippine journalism, history, and politics as well as social media. Know more about him here: https://www.filipinoscribe.com/about/.

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