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The Rules of Court

The Rules of Court as a whole constitute the body of rules governing pleadings, practice and
procedure. As they do not originate from the legislature, they cannot be called laws in the
strict sense of the word. However, since they are promulgated by authority of law, they have the
force and effect of law if not in conflict with a positive law.
The Rules are subordinate to statute, and in case of conflict, the statute will prevail.

Rule-making Power of the Supreme Court and its power to amend or suspend procedural
rules
The SC has the constitutional power to promulgate rules concerning pleadings,
practice and procedures (Sec 5(5), Art. VIII, Constitution).
Section 5. The Supreme Court shall have the following powers:
(5) Promulgate rules concerning the protection and enforcement of constitutional
rights, pleading, practice, and procedure in all courts, the admission to the practice
of law, the integrated bar, and legal assistance to the underprivileged. Such rules shall
provide a simplified and inexpensive procedure for the speedy disposition of cases, shall
be uniform for all courts of the same grade, and shall not diminish, increase, or modify
substantive rights. Rules of procedure of special courts and quasi-judicial bodies shall
remain effective unless disapproved by the Supreme Court.
Power to amend the rules. The SC has the power to amend, repeal or even establish new
rules for a more simplified and inexpensive process, and the speedy disposition of cases. The
constitutional power of the SC to promulgate rules of practice and procedure and to amend or
repeal the same necessarily carries with it the power to overturn judicial precedents on points
of remedial law through the amendment of the ROC.
The ROC are to be liberally construed in order to promote their objective of securing a just,
speedy, and inexpensive disposition of every action or proceeding.
But this is not an absolute power, it is subject to some limitations.
Limitations on the rule-making power of the Supreme Court
The following are imposed by the Constitution on the rule-making power of the SC:

a) The Rules shall provide a simplified and inexpensive procedure for the speedy
disposition of cases;
b) The Rules shall be uniform for courts of the same grade; and
c) The Rules shall not diminish, increase, or modify substantive rights (Sec. 5(5), Art. VIII,
Constitution). Only the legislature can do these acts, not the SC.
The courts have the power to relax or suspend technical or procedural rules or to except a
case from their operation when compelling reasons so warrant or when the purpose of
justice requires it. What constitutes good and sufficient cause that would merit suspension of
the rule is discretionary upon the courts.
Reasons which would warrant the suspension of the Rules:
1. Existence of special or compelling circumstances;
2. the merits of the case;
3. a cause not entirely attributable to the fault or negligence of the party favored by the
suspension of rules;
4.

lack of any showing that the review sought is merely frivolous and dilatory; and

the other party will not be unjustly prejudiced thereby.

Implications with regard to Independence


This arrangement constitutes a safeguard for this reason: it protects the judiciary from the
employment of indirect control from other branches.
When other branches are given control over the rules over which the judiciary is to operate, it is
in effect a form of control to some extent over the judiciarys actions. If the legislative branch
were to be given this power (to promulgate the rules of court) it would have control of not only
declaring what is legal and what is not but it will also have the power to direct the judicial branch
over its means and methods. Such would then operate as undue influence between the said
branches to which our constitution specifically does not allow. Being the experts of the field, it is
only right that the judiciary be given the power to control its operations in court.

Another thing is that, placing the judiciary at the mercy of other branches of the government
unduly destroys the system of checks and balances to which the whole system of our
government was patterned for.