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1997 Rules on Civil Procedure Rule 31

2001 Edition <draft copy. pls. check for errors> Consolidation or Severance

Rule 31
CONSOLIDATION OR SEVERANCE

SECTION 1. Consolidation. - When actions
involving a common question of law or fact are
pending before the court, it may order a joint
hearing or trial of any or all the matters in issue
in the actions; it may order all the actions
consolidated; and it may make such orders
concerning proceedings therein as may tend to avoid
unnecessary costs or delay. (1)

Consolidation involves several actions having a common question of law or
fact which may be jointly tried.

Severance contemplates a single action having a number of claims,
counterclaims, cross claims, 3rd party complaints or issues which may be
separately tried.

General rule:
Consolidation is discretionary upon the court.

Exceptions:
Consolidation becomes a matter of duty when the cases are:
1. pending before the same judge; or
2. filed with different branches of the same RTC and one of such cases has not
been partially tried.

Purpose:
To avoid multiplicity of suits, guard against oppression or abuse, prevent
delay, clear congested dockets, simplify the work of the trial court and save
unnecessary costs and expenses.

Q: When is consolidation of actions proper?
A: Consolidation is proper:
1.) when two or more actions involve the same or a common question of
law or fact; and
2.) the said actions (at least 2) are pending before the same court. (Section 1,
Rule 31; PAL vs. Teodoro, 97 Phil. 461)
3.) if filed with different courts, an authorization from the Supreme Court is
necessary.

Lakas Atenista 46
Ateneo de Davao University College of Law

the 30 of them decided to file claims for damages against the bus company. severally. ”Common question of law or fact. may. an EXAMPLE was given: Suppose 30 people were riding on a bus which met an accident and all the plaintiffs were injured. but the court may make such orders as may be just to prevent any plaintiff or defendant from being embarrassed or put to expense in connection with any proceedings in which he may have no interest. The phrase answers the questions: Q: When may 2 or more parties be joined together in one complaint. When we were in Rule 3. pls. check for errors> Consolidation or Severance First requisite: TWO OR MORE ACTIONS INVOLVE THE SAME OR A COMMON QUESTION OF LAW OR FACT Did you notice that phrase – “two or more actions involve the same or a common question of law or fact”? That phrase seemed to be familiar. They hired the same lawyer. After the incident. Q: When may actions be consolidated? A: One of the requisites is: when the actions involve a common question of law or fact. either as co-plaintiffs or co-defendants? A: There must be a common question of fact or law involved in their causes of action. where any question of law or fact common to all such plaintiffs or to all such defendants may arise in the action. 6 Permissive joinder of parties – All persons in whom or against whom any right to relief in respect to or arising out of the same transaction or series of transactions is alleged to exist. join as plaintiffs or be joined as defendants in one complaint.” where did we meet that requirement before? That is in joinder of causes of action – two or more causes of action can be joined in one pleading if they involve a common question of fact or law. In other words. Rule 3. whether jointly.1997 Rules on Civil Procedure Rule 31 2001 Edition <draft copy. there must be a connection somewhere between the rule on Consolidation of actions in Rule 31. or in the alternative. Lakas Atenista 47 Ateneo de Davao University College of Law . except as otherwise provided in these rules. Section 6: SEC. with the rule on Permissive Joinder of Parties in Rule 3.

the 30 cases should be raffled and assigned to only one judge. Meaning. The purpose of consolidation is to achieve the same effect of permissive joinder of parties under Rule 3. the 30 cases would be tried together. Imagine 30 cases sa 30 salas? Iba-ibang courts. The law says it must be in the same court. The defendant might feel that he would rather have the 30 cases tried together. that is permissive joinder of parties which is encouraged to expedite litigation. check for errors> Consolidation or Severance Q: Can the lawyer file 30 complaints for each plaintiffs? A: YES. Defendant says. pls. to economize the procedure or avoid repetition of evidence. kaya lang 30 complaints are to be tried together. The lawyer for the bus company can file a motion under Rule 31. Q: Can the lawyer file only one complaint naming as co-plaintiffs the 30 injured passengers? A: YES. Thus. My witnesses would have to testify 30 times because there are 30 separate complaints. There are the justification for permissive joinder of parties in Rule 3 Section 6 but they can only join one complaint if they have the same lawyer.? A: There can be no joinder of parties. This is to economize the procedure if the evidence will be presented only once. Lakas Atenista 48 Ateneo de Davao University College of Law . Section 6. to avoid multiplicity of suits. in the RTC of Davao City. there should be 30 complaints filed let’s say. Second Requisite: THE SAID ACTIONS ARE PENDING BEFORE THE SAME COURT Q: In the example above. suppose one passenger filed his case in Davao City. Para ka na ring nag-permissive joinder of parties. In this case.1997 Rules on Civil Procedure Rule 31 2001 Edition <draft copy. there being a common question of law or fact. Q: But suppose the 30 passengers were injured and after their discharge from the hospital the 30 of them hired separate lawyers. every time when the case is called. You cannot join the parties in one complaint because each plaintiff is represented by a different lawyer.” Q: Can the 30 cases be joined together para isang judge na lang? A: YES. That is why there is a connection between consolidation and permissive joinder of parties. and they are raffled to different branches or judges. Section 1 to consolidate the actions. and another files his case in Mati. “This is difficult. You end in having only one case. can there be consolidation of their cases? A: NONE. You cannot consolidate because they are pending in different courts in different provinces. another passenger filed his case in Tagum because he resides there.

provided.reshaping of the cases by amending the pleadidng and dismissing some cases and retaining only one case. Therre must be joinder of causes of action and of parties. CONSOLIDATION OF CRIMINAL ACTIONS under RULE 119 Now. cases are consolidated and decided together for the first time. 19. GR No. or forming part of a series of offenses of similar character may be tried jointly at the court's discretion. . by test-case method . sometimes the decision involves 2 or 3 cases. So. the cases retaining their original docket numbers. If we look at the SCRA. L-38352. Consolidation of trials of related offenses. Ang tawag dyan is COMPANION CASES because the same issues are being raised in the petitions.by hearing only the principal case and suspending the hearing on the other cases until judgment has been rendered in the principal case. even in the SC. and 3. by recasting the cases already instituted . but there’s only 1 decision. There are many times when cases are consolidated or joined together even when they are already on appeal. 1982) CONSOLIDATION under RULE 31 vs. 2. Why are these cases joined before the SC? Because there is a common question of fact or law or legal issue.It is a joint trial with joint decision. there is a common question of law or fact. The caption sometimes has 3 or more cases. there is also a provision in the rules on Criminal Procedure on consolidation of criminal actions under Rule 119. Section 14: SEC. The consolidation of civil and criminal cases is allowed. R 111 of the Rules of Criminal Procedure (Canos vs.Charges for offenses founded on the same facts. Cases are consolidated not only when the cases are before the trial court. pls. check for errors> Consolidation or Severance Take note that cases are consolidated because it will expedite their termination. 14. And these cases are coming from different parts of the country. (Rule 119) Lakas Atenista 49 Ateneo de Davao University College of Law . by consolidation proper or by consolidating the existing cases .1997 Rules on Civil Procedure Rule 31 2001 Edition <draft copy. The cases retain their original docket numbers. Consolidation of cases on appeal and assigned to different divisions of the SC and the CA is also authorized. thereby economizing on the procedure. Pealta. This is now sanctioned under Section 2(a). Aug. Three (3) ways of consolidating cases: 1.

There is no such thing as joinder of crimes. when the civil action was instituted ahead. Rule 111 from the moment the criminal case is filed. the so-called consolidation of criminal actions is not actually filing one information but it is only for the purpose of joint trial. only one offense can be the subject of one complaint or information. the opposite of consolidation is separate trial. Or.) In civil cases. He must wait for the outcome of the criminal case. the subsequent filing of the criminal case will mean there is no more civil action there.1997 Rules on Civil Procedure Rule 31 2001 Edition <draft copy. there is automatic consolidation also. And Section 2 of Rule 111. whereas In criminal cases. one or more causes of action may be embodied in one complaint because when there is permissive joinder. he cannot file the civil action – that’s the rule. the trial of the civil case is suspended to wait for the outcome of the criminal case. The criminal case enjoys priority. the opposite of consolidation is severance under Section 2. Therefore. In reality. Q: What happens if na-una na-file yung civil action? A: According to Section 2. there is actually no consolidation of criminal cases. A: The following are the distinctions: 1. the civil action is deemed instituted unless the offended party will make a reservation to file it separately. That is what you call duplicitous complaint or information. 2. check for errors> Consolidation or Severance Q: Distinguish Consolidation of civil actions from Consolidation of criminal actions. You cannot. The first thing for him to do is to file a petition to consolidate the trial of the criminal and civil case for them to be tried together and the evidence already presented in the civil case is Lakas Atenista 50 Ateneo de Davao University College of Law .) In civil cases. pls. Q: Can you file one complaint or information embodying two or more crimes? A: NO. whereas In criminal cases. Q: Is this prejudicial to the offended party? What is the remedy of the offended party? A: There is a way out according to Section 2. There is only joint trial of criminal cases. suppose the offended party made a reservation to institute a civil action and a criminal case is filed. consolidation of criminal actions is exclusively for joint trial. Rule 111. Under the rules on Criminal Procedure the accused may reserve the right to file the civil action separately when the criminal action is filed.

Both of the cases were assigned to Judge Peralta. Lakas Atenista 51 Ateneo de Davao University College of Law . It is permissive. the same may. Caños objected to the consolidation because according to his lawyer. he ordered the consolidation of the 2 cases under Rule 31. but arising out of the same incident. The respondent here was former CFI Judge Elvino Peralta. and the offended party in the criminal case is the plaintiff in the civil case. There was an incident which led to the filing of a criminal case by A against B. then he has to wait for the criminal case to be terminated before he can file the civil case. the offended party is the one to initiate this because if not. Dr. involving the late Dr. Section 1 allows the consolidation of a criminal and civil case because of the fact that there is a common question of fact or law between them and that they are pending before the same court. Actually. Rule 111: “…Nevertheless. A filed a separate civil case. Q: Can you move to consolidate in one court the criminal and the civil case when actually the degree of proof required in one case is different from the degree of proof required in another case? A: That was answered in the affirmative in the case of CAÑOS vs. check for errors> Consolidation or Severance deemed automatically reproduced in the criminal case. upon motion of the offended party. As a matter of fact. Section 1 applies only when there are 2 or more civil cases to be considered. Davao del Sur.1997 Rules on Civil Procedure Rule 31 2001 Edition <draft copy. to be tried together. Rule 111) Q: Is this consolidation mandatory? A: NO. ISSUE #1: Was the consolidation proper? HELD: The order of consolidation is correct. Rodolfo Caños. be consolidated with the criminal action in the court trying the criminal action…” (Section 2. consolidation of cases under Rule 31. Rule 31. before the same judge. When Judge Peralta noticed that the 2 actions arose out of the same incident – and the accused in the criminal case is also the defendant in the civil case. who owned the Caños Hospital there. pls. PERALTA 115 SCRA 843 FACTS: This case originated in Digos. This is what you call the consolidation of the civil and criminal action under Section 2. before judgment on the merits rendered in the civil action. A reserved the right to file a separate civil action under the rules on criminal procedure. Section 1.

If we follow Rule 30 (order of trial) before it reaches the 3rd-party complaint. matagal masyado. cross-claims. (2a) Section 2 is the exact opposite of Section 1. Under the order of trial. i. you ask the judge for a separate schedule for your 3rd-party claim. They can be consolidated but for purposes of decision. third-party complaints or issues. check for errors> Consolidation or Severance ISSUE #2: How do you reconcile these cases because the degree of proof in the criminal case is not the same in the civil case? HELD: The consolidation was proper under Rule 31 because there is a common question of fact and law. there is one case with several claims. Then there will be a separate schedule for the 3rd–party complaint rather than following the order of trial under Rule 30. in furtherance of convenience or to avoid prejudice. In Section 1.The court.  Lakas Atenista 52 Ateneo de Davao University College of Law . So for example. 2. counterclaims. counterclaim.1997 Rules on Civil Procedure Rule 31 2001 Edition <draft copy. cross-claims and third-party complaints. But under Section 2. SEC. may order a separate trial of any claim. the court may grant a separate trial for your 3rd-party claim or permissive counterclaim especially when there is no connection between my permissive counterclaim with the main action. The rule states that they should be tried together. or of any separate issue or of any number of claims. cross- claim. In section 2. one after the other. the court will now apply two (2) different criteria: Proof beyond reasonable doubt in the criminal case and preponderance of evidence in the civil case. pls. there are 2 or more cases which shall be joined together for joint trial. Separate trials.e. So there is no incompatibility. . or third-party complaint. I have to wait for my turn to prove my 3rd-party claim. and then one decision. counterclaims.