Supreme Court extends physical closure of courts nationwide to court users
Following the extension of the Enhanced Community Quarantine, the Supreme Court, through Administrative Circular No. 34-2020 (hereafter “A.C. 34-2020”), has physically closed the courts nationwide to all court users until 30 April 2020, subject to certain exceptions.
While closed to court users, i.e. the general public, the courts shall continue to operate Mondays to Fridays from 9:00am to 3:00pm in order to act only upon urgent matters such as the filing of criminal complaints and informations, posting of bail, and conduct of urgent hearings. Night courts and Saturday courts, however, shall be completely suspended.
To act on urgent matters, justices- and judges-on-duty, along with their personnel, shall determine their respective schedules. But all the while, justices and judges are required to continue drafting decisions or orders which shall be promulgated or issued once courts are fully operational.
As regards the filing of petitions, appeals, complaints, motions, pleadings and other court submissions that full due on or before 30 April 2020, A.C. 34-2020 extends the reglementary period of these for thirty (30) calendar days from 01 May 2020, unless parties opt to file within the suspension period, in which case they must do so electronically. Court actions with prescribed periods are similarly extended for thirty (30) calendar days from 01 May 2020.
Pertinent filings, submissions, and communications must be sent out electronically between 8:30am to 2:00pm. Meanwhile, contact with the courts can be maintained via their respective details published in http://sc.judiciary.gov.ph/hotlines/.
Finally, save for matters that may be called or authorized by the Chief Justice or the Judiciary Task Force on COVID-19, official meetings, seminars, trainings, and other functions are deferred until after 30 April 2020.