The Efficient Use of Paper Rule (A.M. No. 11-9-4-SC)

Recognizing that the judiciary uses excessive quantities of costly paper (for the purpose of saving trees, conserving precious water and helping mother earth), the Supreme Court issued the Efficient Use of Paper Rule (A.M. No. 11-9-4-SC; see full text). This Rule, which took effect on 1 January 2013, prescribes the format of pleadings, motions and documents filed in courts.

Format and Style

a) All pleadings, motions and similar papers intended for the court and quasi-judicial body’s consideration and action (court-bound papers) shall written in single space with one-and-a –half space between paragraphs, using an easily readable font style of the party’s choice, of 14-size font, and on a 13 –inch by 8.5- inch white bond paper; and

b) All decisions, resolutions and orders issued by courts and quasi-judicial bodies under the administrative supervision of the Supreme Court shall comply with these requirements. Similarly covered are the reports submitted to the courts and transcripts of stenographic notes.

Margins and Prints

The parties shall maintain the following margins on all court-bound papers: a left hand margin of 1.5 inches from the edge; an upper margin of 1.2 inches from the edge; a right hand margin of 1.0 inch from the edge; and a lower margin of 1.0 inch from the edge.

Every page must be consecutively numbered.

Copies to be filed

Unless otherwise directed by the court, the number of court- bound papers that a party is required or desires to file shall be as follows:

a. In the Supreme Court, one original (properly marked) and four copies, unless the case is referred to the Court En Banc, in which event, the parties shall file ten additional copies. For the En Banc, the parties need to submit only two sets of annexes, one attached to the original and an extra copy. For the Division, the parties need to submit also two sets of annexes, one attached to the original and an extra copy. All members of the Court shall share the extra copies of annexes in the interest of economy of paper.

Parties to cases before the Supreme Court are further required, on voluntary basis for the first six months following the effectivity of this Rule and compulsorily afterwards unless the period is extended, to submit, simultaneously with their court-bound papers, soft copies of the same and their annexes (the latter in PDF format) either by email to the Court’s e-mail address or by compact disc (CD). This requirement is in preparation for the eventual establishment of an e-filing paperless system in the judiciary.

b. In the Court of Appeals and the Sandiganbayan, one original (properly marked) and two copies with their annexes;

c. In the Court of Tax Appeals, one original (properly marked) and two copies with annexes. On appeal to the En Banc, one Original (properly marked) and eight copies with annexes; and

d. In other courts, one original (properly marked) with the stated annexes attached to it.

Annexes Served on Adverse Party

A party required by the rules to serve a copy of his court-bound on the adverse party need not enclose copies of those annexes that based on the record of the court such party already has in his possession. In the event a party requests a set of the annexes actually filed with the court, the part who filed the paper shall comply with the request within five days from receipt.

Applicability

This Rule applies to all courts and quasi-judicial bodies under the administrative supervision of the Supreme Court.

The Rule, however, is silent on the effect/s of failure to comply with the requirements.

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