Whether we like it or not, there will always be someone in your lives who will be in a pinch. And sometimes, it’s impossibly hard to say no to someone who has reached rock bottom.
While there is nothing wrong with lending someone some cash, there are instances when the person will try to get away with his debt.
So if you’ve been wondering if you can take your case to the court, you may want to read first about small claims and what the best way to get your money back from the people who owe you money.
Can you sue people into paying you?
In the old days, people had to undergo a lot of legal gymnastics—which was both expensive and lengthy even for the complainant—and file a civil case against the person who owed them money. The traditional route to settle claims was cumbersome, so people with money grievances would either just drop the case altogether or pursue it with tremendous losses in terms of time and money.
Because of this, the country’s judicial system devised a way to make a much more streamlined process that is both quick and efficient.
In 2009, the Supreme Court established the Rule of Procedure for Small Claims Cases as a solution to make claims for debts amounting to P100,000 or less become simpler, quicker, and less expensive.
To put it simply, only the parties involved in such claims are required to attend the hearing and there is no need for lawyers to represent both sides.
With both parties presenting their case without any legal jargon, it is much easier for both parties to reach a compromise. The court’s presence is merely to assist them to finally have middle ground.
So to answer the question, you may not file a lawsuit against them but you can take it to the court to have a fast and efficient way of settling issues of debt since the person indebted will be required to appear before the court. In addition to this, our 1987 Constitution protects people from being imprisoned because of debt, unless in cases where there is intent to defraud someone like estafa.
Better, more streamlined settlements
The Small Claims Act gives average citizens the power to run after the people who have financial obligations to them. This time, without all the legal hurdles they previously had to encounter.
With the court treating these cases as a simple a settlement with a local barangay officer, there are fewer processes, less legal procedures, and the lack of need for legal representatives, the parties involved can reach an agreement without the fear of legal obfuscation and other technicalities.
In case someone owes you an amount not more than P200,000 and many times they have broken their promise to pay it, then here are the steps on how you can file a case for small claims:
1. Accomplish a Statement of Claim and have the information provided verified. It should be noted that to file a small claims case, you have to be sure you haven’t field any case of similar nature in other courts. You also have to include supporting documents like contract, promissory note, statement of witnesses, and others that will help you build a case.
2. Pay the docket and other legal fees that at the time of filing. If you do have insufficient money to pay for the docket fees, you may apply as an indigent. However, everyone has to pay P1,000 for the services of summon and other processing fees, whether you’ve been waived of the docket fee or not.
3. From there, the court will then inform the defendant through the Issue of Summons that a person filed a case to him at the Small Claims Court. He can then respond by submitting supporting documents within 10 days after receiving the summons.
4. Alternatively, the defendant can file for a counterclaim if he thinks that the plaintiff is the one who owes him money. If believes he is entitled to be paid by the party, the defendant can include a counterclaim in his response.
5. When both parties have already sent their response, the court will send a Notice of Hearing, which includes details about the date and time of the settlement.
6. During the hearing, both parties will present their claims and make a case without the aid of any legal representative. After hearing both parties, the judge then will render a decision during the same day as to how both parties will proceed with the case. Decisions reached by the judge are final and non-appealable.
The Small Claims Act exists to help people who don’t have the resources necessary to pursue the people who owe them money. With more and more people knowing about this, debt settlements are no longer lengthy, expensive, and overall difficult.