From the Access to Justice Blog: Justice on Wheels in the Phillippines

This from the Access to Justice Blog:

The Justice on Wheels is an access to justice programme which was commenced in 2004 by the country’s Supreme Court  following the example of the Guatemalan Mobile Court System. JOW aims to bring justice closer to the poor by providing on-the-spot fast and free dispute resolution services – adjudication, mediation and conciliation.

A bus is travelling the country literally delivering accessible justice to the local communities. One part of the bus has been transformed into a court room and the other serves as a mediation chamber. The disputants are offered not only facilities but also can benefit from the professional services of judges, prosecutors, mediators, clerks and lawyers. Even process server and a court room guard travel with the bus.

More info from the press release from the Philippine Information Agency.

SC conducts ‘Justice on Wheels’ orientation in Dipolog

by Franklin P. Gumapon
DIPOLOG CITY, May 13 (PIA) – An orientation on the Justice on Wheels (JOW) program was recently conducted here by the Supreme Court (SC) with barangay officials and court employees as participants.
Topics discussed included the Barangay Protection Order (BPO) that comes along Republic Act (RA) 9262, a law that protects the rights of women and children, RA 9344 or the Juvenile Justice Act, RA 9208 or the Anti-trafficking of Persons Act, Rules and Procedures for Small Claims Cases, and Environmental Protection and Preservation.
The resource speakers were Prosecutor Elisa R. Sarmiento-Flores of Muntinlupa City, SC Deputy Court Administrator Nimfa Cuesta-Vilches and Atty. Asis G. Perez, in-country US representative of the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG).
JOW program started during the time of Chief Justice Hilario Davide Jr. in 2004 aimed at reaching out to poor Filipinos and expediting litigation of cases. It is patterned after the mobile court introduced by the Guatemalan government which seeks to provide the people in remote areas with adequate and inexpensive access to justice.
Chief Justices Artemio Panganiban and Renato Puno pursued the project and even expanded its coverage to medical and dental missions, legal assistance, and information dissemination and training to barangay officials and law students on court mediation. (FPG/PIA-Zambo. Norte)

The closest I know to this in the US is the Ventura mobile self-help center.


About richardzorza

I am deeply involved in access to justice and the patient voice movement.
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1 Response to From the Access to Justice Blog: Justice on Wheels in the Phillippines

  1. Claudia Johnson says:

    Thanks for sharing this. I believe in India they are taking similar approach. I think that with the funding cuts, both courts and legal aids should consider mobile units that are equipped with wireless, printer, scan, computer and that using remote web services can access their main offices/databases/and systems. This may obviate the need to open up offices in remote locations, so that instead of having one office with one or two attorneys, maybe you have a mobile office that can cover a rural county. If you do this in partnership with a community center or other non-profit in the winter months, when being outside is not possible, you can move your office into that building. Many public libraries are now being built with community rooms that could be used. This model has been used for a long time in public health, particular maternal/child care outreach and education. In Philadelphia, Congreso de Latinos Unidos had a mobile unit called the “Ma Mobile” that went into North Philly and did outreach maternal health, nutrition, and health care to hard to reach pregnant women. It improved the birth outcomes. This model has potential in law and hopefully innovators will package “Justice to go” with a menu that includes web search, online forms, web chat, hotline services (both information referral and advice and counsel), brief services and maybe temporary emergency orders/ex parte court decisions from a court.

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