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JUDGES- Reminders for FTF Trial

REMINDERS FOR FACE-TO-FACE TRIAL

1. JUDGES

The Judge may instruct the parties/counsels /witnesses that:

1.1 Terms of Reference

1.1.1. The basis of the trial will be the TOR—the TOR controls the scope of
trial.1
1.1.2. Only disputed facts in the TOR will be considered by the Judge during
trial.2

1.2 Order of Trial

1.2.1. Trial of the Issues and not Plaintiff’s or Defendant’s entire case.
1.2.2. State the issue/s and related issue/s and list the schedule of the issue/s
and related issue/s to be tried.3
1.2.3. List the schedule of the witness/es who will appear for each issue or
related issue/s.4
1.2.4. Determine the need to refer certain issue/s or related issue/s to trial by
commissioners.5
1.2.5. List the witness/es who are exempt from Face-to-Face Trial and will be
examined separately.6

1.3 Face-to-Face Trial

1.3.1 1st Phase


1.3.1.1 Only the Judge is allowed to examine the witness/es regarding
the issue/s or related issue/s at hand, in no particular
sequence, and may also direct its questions to one or more
witness/es from contending sides.7
1.3.2 2 Phase
nd

1.3.2.1 Counsels from contending sides are allowed to cross-examine,


re-direct, re-cross the witness/es based on their judicial
affidavits, the attached exhibits, the answers the witness/es
gave during the Judge’s examination during the 1st Phase, or
their testimonies.8
1.3.2.2 The Judge will order whose witness goes first.
1.3.2.3 The Judge can intervene at any time.9
1.3.2.4 The reception of evidence for the next issue or related issues
may be scheduled in another setting in accordance with the
Order of Trial.10

1.4. Ground Rules

1.4.1. General Guidelines

1.4.1.1. Only one person at a time can speak (“One Mouth Rule”).11
1.4.1.2. All persons should observe courtesy.
1.4.1.3. Address all questions/answers to the Judge and not to the
other party, counsel or witness.12
1.4.1.4. Any party, counsel or witness who wishes to speak must raise
his hand and wait for the Judge’s permission before speaking.
JUDGES- Reminders for FTF Trial

1.4.1.5. A party, counsel or witness who is allowed to speak should


always state his name, e.g. Atty. Santos, Mr. Reyes, etc., before
speaking so the stenographer will accurately identify the
person speaking.
1.4.1.6. Only a party, counsel or witness who has been allowed and
recognized by the court can speak.13
1.4.1.7. Do not interrupt any person speaking. Parties will be given
equal time and opportunity to answer/reply to a statement
made by a party, counsel or witness.14 The counsels/parties
are assured by the Judge that their position will be heard.
1.4.1.8. The Judge shall inform the parties, counsels and witnesses that
the proceeding will be a balanced inquiry.
1.4.1.9. The Judge will inform counsels that they will be given an equal
and reasonable opportunity to cross-examine, re-direct and re-
cross the witness/es.15
1.4.1.10. The stenographer will record in the TSN only the statements of
the party, counsel or witness allowed to speak and any
interruptions not allowed by the Judge will not be recorded.
1.4.1.11. Any person who keeps interrupting the proceeding/hearing
may be cited for contempt and/or sent out of the courtroom.
1.4.1.12. The Judge will initiate the inquiry into each factual issue
strictly in the sequence provided in the Order of Trial although
such inquiry may cover two or more closely related issues.16
1.4.1.13. To the extent possible, the Judge will not allow a debate on
legal arguments/issues during the hearing/proceeding. He
will primarily focus on factual determination. The Judge will
allow the parties to fully discuss legal arguments in their
respective memoranda.

1.4.2. 1st Phase

1.4.2.1. A Judge may address his/her questions to a party, counsel or


witness (the other witness/es of the same side may
supplement, clarify or qualify the answer of the first party,
counsel or witness). Witness/es of opposing sides will be
given equal time and opportunity to answer/rebut properly.17
1.4.2.2. The Judge will ensure balanced and equal treatment by giving
both parties equal time (objective standard) to
answer/respond, e.g, 5 minutes for the plaintiff, 5 minutes for
the defendant, 2 minutes for the plaintiff to reply, 2 minutes
for the defendant to rebut.18
1.4.2.3. Counsel may take exception to the questions asked by the
Judge during his examination of the witness. However,
counsel must wait after the Judge has finished his/her
question. Counsel must raise his hand and be recognized by
the Judge before taking exception. Counsel’s exception shall
simply state the legal grounds for the exception with no
further explanation unless the Judge will order him/her
otherwise.19
1.4.2.4. The Judge will allow counsels to take exceptions to questions
and/or move to strike out answers already given during the
Judge’s examination of the witness:
a. If the exception is to form—the Judge may take note
or the rephrase the question and/or strike out the
answer;
JUDGES- Reminders for FTF Trial

b. If the exception is to substance—the Judge shall


promptly rule on such actions and/or strike out
answers already given
c. If the exception is to admissibility—the Judge may
simply take note of the exceptions and consider the
same when deciding the case.20
* Remind Lawyers: Judge knows how to apply the Rules on
admissibility and giving due weight to the evidence. It is enough
to point out the objection and the Judge will know how to
appreciate the evidence/statement.
1.4.2.5. The Judge may allow the witnesses from contending sides to
continue their divergent exchange if new facts or new
arguments are introduced and the testimonies have not
become repetitive.21
1.4.2.6. The Judge may, before moving from one issue to the next
issue, may summarize the respective positions of the parties
and then move to the next issue or related issues. 22
1.4.2.7. Witnesses will not be allowed to pose questions to other
witnesses (except for expert witnesses allowed by the Judge to
pose questions to other expert witnesses).23

1.4.3. 2nd Phase

1.4.3.1. Counsels will be given an equal and reasonable opportunity to


cross-examine, re-direct and re-cross the witness/es.24
1.4.3.2. The order of examination will be plaintiff’s counsel first, then
the defendant’s counsel after.
1.4.3.3. Where there are multiple parties involved, the Judge will fix
the order of cross, re-direct and re-cross examination of the
counsels involved.25
1.4.3.4. The Judge can intervene at any time.26
1.4.3.5. Counsel may object to the questions asked by the opposing
counsel during his examination of the witness. However,
counsel must raise his hand and be recognized by the Judge
before making the objection. Counsel’s objection shall simply
state the legal grounds for the exception with no further
explanation unless the Judge will order him/her otherwise.27
1.4.3.6. The Judge will allow counsels to object to questions and/or
move to strike out answers already given during opposing
counsel’s examination of the witness:
a. If the objection is to form—the Judge may take note
or order counsel to rephrase the question and/or
strike out the answer;
b. If objection is to substance—the Judge shall
promptly rule on such actions and/or strike out the
answer;
c. If the objection is to admissibility—the Judge may
simply take note of the objection/s and consider the
same when deciding the case.28
* Remind Lawyers: Judge knows how to apply the Rules on
admissibility and giving due weight to the evidence. It is
enough to point out the objection and the Judge will know how
to appreciate the evidence/statement.

1.5. Internal Guidelines for the Judge (need not be publicly announced)
JUDGES- Reminders for FTF Trial

1.5.1. To the extent possible, questions will be asked alternately on points


which are favorable to a party.
1.5.2. Use name plates for the parties, counsels, witness/es.
1.5.3. The Judge should read the pleadings/affidavits and prepare a list of
questions based on the disputed facts. (Judge can tick-off questions from
his list when answered).

1 Sec. 22.4.
2 Sec. 24.4 (a).
3 Sec. 22.9 (d)(1)(3).
4 Sec. 22.9(d) (2).
5 Sec. 22.9(d) (5).
6 Sec. 22.9(d) (4).
7 Sec. 24.7(a).
8 Sec. 24.7(g).
9 Sec. 24.7(g).
10 Sec. 24.7(i).
11 Sec. 24.6(c).
12 Sec. 24.6(d).
13 Sec. 24.6(c)
14 Sec. 24.6(e)
15 Sec. 24.6(e) and Sec. 24.7(c).
16 Sec. 24.4 (a).
17 Sec. 24.7(a)(b)(c).
18 Sec. 24.6(e) and Sec. 24.7(c).
19
Sec. 24.8.
20 Sec. 24.8 (a)(b)(c).
21 Sec. 24.7(d).
22 Sec. 24.7(f).
23 Sec. 24.6(e) and Sec. 24.11.
24 Sec. 24.6(e) and Sec. 24.7(g).
25 Sec. 24.7(h).
26 Sec. 24.7(g).
27 Sec. 24.9(a)(b)(c)(d).
28 Sec. 24.9(c) and Sec. 24.8 (a)(b)(c).