is Appellate Court Mediation?
Mediation is the process of resolving disputes with
the help of a neutral third party (mediator) to reach
a settlement that is mutually acceptable to all parties.
Appellate Court Mediation (ACM) is a mediation program
in the Court of Appeals (CA), corollary to Court-Annexed
Mediation in the lower courts. It provides a conciliatory
approach in conflict resolution. Through ACM, the
CA promotes a paradigm shift in resolving disputes
from a rights-based (judicial) to an interest-based
is Appellate Court Mediation different from Court-Annexed
Mediation or Judicial Dispute Resolution?
In Court-Annexed Mediation, a case eligible for
mediation at a First Level Court or Regional Trial
Court during the pre-trial stage is referred by the
presiding judge to the Philippine Mediation Center
(PMC) Unit for mediation. Mediation is successful
if the parties enter into a Compromise Agreement,
and the judge renders a decision based on this agreement.
If it fails or the parties refuse to undergo mediation,
the case goes back to court for trial.
In Judicial Dispute Resolution under the JURIS Project,
the mediation process is also in the lower courts
and mediation is conducted just like in Court- Annexed
Mediation. If mediation fails or the parties refuse
mediation, the case goes back to the judge who does
not yet try the case. The judge, acting sequentially
as Conciliator, Neutral Evaluator and Mediator or
a combination of the three, attempts to convince the
parties to settle their case amicably. If the parties
still refuse to settle, the case goes back to court
In Appellate Court Mediation, the case has been tried
and judgment has been rendered at the lower courts
but has been appealed to the Court of Appeals (CA).
Thus, Party A already won the case in the lower courts
but Party B appealed the decision to the CA.
are the benefits of Appellate Court Mediation?
For the judiciary, Appellate Court Mediation, as
part of the Supreme Court’s Action Program for
Judicial Reform (APJR), aims to reduce the congestion
of court dockets. A review of pre-ACM court statistics
shows that although the disposal rate is high at 98.5
percent, the number of cases added to the backlog
grows at an annual rate of 58 percent. Mediation offers
a promising solution to lessening this backlog.
For litigants, after mediation has failed in the
lower courts, Appellate Court Mediation provides an
added option to put an end to costly and long-drawn
litigation. Since mediation is a non-adversarial approach
to resolving a case in court, it facilitates the interest-based
settlement of the dispute through proposals coming
from the parties themselves or suggested by the mediator
and accepted by the parties.
Mediation helps litigants settle their dispute and
rebuild their relationship. It is a win-win solution
for both parties.
and how did implementation of ACM start?
The Supreme Court authorized the Philippine Judicial
Academy (PHILJA) to pilot-test the mediation program
in the Court of Appeals on April 16, 2002. The pilot
ACM Project ran for almost three months from September
16 to November 22, 2002, with a success rate of 67
Thirty-one appellate court mediators from the ranks
of retired justices and judges, senior members of
the Bar, and senior professors of law participated
in the orientation workshop conducted by experts from
the Philippines and Singapore.
The Supreme Court approved the institutionalization
of Appellate Court Mediation (ACM) on March 23, 2004
following the successful pilot-test. It also approved
the Revised Guidelines for the Implementation of Mediation
in the Court of Appeals to provide the legal framework.
From 2004 to 2006, PHILJA went on to recruit and
train a core of mediation faculty from ADR practitioners
and the academe; revised the training curriculum and
materials to make them more relevant to the Philippine
setting; developed case study materials from actual
cases; trained a new batch of 51 mediators for the
Court of Appeals; capped their training with an internship
program that required each mediator to handle at least
two ongoing cases; formally launched the CA Mediation
Center at the ground floor of the CA Annex Building;
and finally developed a Mediation Training Manual
for the Court of Appeals. The Project Director who
supervised this project was Professor Alfredo F. Tadiar.
What organizations are helping implement the ACM
There are six institutions working together to implement
the mediation process in the Court of Appeals.
The Court of Appeals (CA)
Selects and refers cases and other documents or information
Philippine Judicial Academy (PHILJA)
Oversees the training program of appellate court mediators
and assigns a PMC (CA) coordinator to oversee the
operations of a PMC (CA) office, among other responsibilities.
Philippine Mediation Center-CA
Helps facilitate successful mediation by providing
administrative and operational support services.
Public Information Office of the Supreme Court
Assists in the in formation, education and communication
campaign program of the project.
Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP)
Collaborates with PHILJA in its mediation advocacy
and assists in the disciplinary actions for erring
Philippine Association of Law Schools (PALS)
Includes Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) courses
(including Mediation) and negotiating skills in the
curriculum and re-orients law professors and students
on legal aid.
all cases elevated to the Court of Appeals eligible
for Appellate Court Mediation?
No. Only the following cases elevated to the Court
of Appeals are eligible for Appellate Court Mediation:
- Civil cases brought on ordinary appeal or petition
- Appeals from final orders, awards, judgments,
resolutions of the Court of Tax Appeals and quasi-judicial
agencies in the exercise of their quasi-judicial
functions through petition for review or certiorari
that questions a decision for having been rendered
in grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack of
These quasi-judicial agencies include the following:
Central Board of Assessment Appeals, Securities
and Exchange Commission. Land Registration Authority,
Office of the President, Civil Aeronautics Board,
Bureau of Patents, Trademarks and Technology Transfer,
National Electrification Administration, Energy
Regulatory Board, National Telecommunications Commission,
Department of Agrarian Reform under TA. 6657, Government
Service Insurance System, Employees Compensation
Commission, Agricultural Inventions Board, Insurance
Commission, Philippine Atomic Energy Commission,
Board of Investments, Construction Industry Arbitration
Commission, and Voluntary Arbitrators authorized
- Special civil actions for certiorari, except those
involving pure questions of law.
- Habeas corpus (court order directing law enforcement
officials or custodians of detained persons to produce
that person in court) cases involving custody of
minors, with the consent of the parties, provided
that the minor is not detained for commission of
a criminal offense.
- Criminal cases cognizable by the Katarungang Pambarangay
(Barangay Justice System) under Republic Act No.
7160 or offenses punishable by imprisonment not
exceeding one year or a fine not exceeding P5,000.00
or both such fine and imprisonment.
cases cannot be mediated under ACM?
- Civil cases, which by law cannot be compromised.
- Criminal cases except those under No. 4 above (habeas
corpus of minors not detained for a criminal offense).
- Habeas corpus petitions involving custody of minors
when the subject is detained for commission of a criminal
- Cases with pending application for restraining
orders/preliminary injunctions, unless both parties
request for mediation
Who is qualified to serve as mediator in Appellate
Only an Appellate Mediator who is trained and accredited
by the Philippine Judicial Academy (PHILJA) can mediate
in the Court of Appeals.
As a basic qualification, he/she must be a retired
justice, judge, senior member of the Bar, or senior
law professor, who possesses creative problem-solving
skills and has strong interest in mediation.
are the duties and responsibilities of an Appellate
Since mediation proceedings are confidential, violations
made by either party or even the mediator will be
- Conducts mediation proceedings and calls caucuses
(private meetings with each party) whenever necessary.
- During mediation proceedings:
a. informs parties of the rules and procedures for
b. assesses the risks and costs of continuing litigation
c. draws out the underlying interests of the parties
d. explores common ground for settlement
- May suggest options for the parties to consider
and, if practical or necessary, seek the assistance
of a co-mediator to assess (on a nonbinding basis)
the strengths and weaknesses of each party’s
- May request for a court order to impose appropriate
sanctions if the parties fail to comply with the directives
of the mediator such as, but not limited to, the payment
of mediation fees, appearance of parties during scheduled
conferences, and submission of written authority of
representatives prior to the mediation proceedings.
- Prepares the written terms of the compromise agreement
that disposes of the dispute in whole or in part.
- May terminate mediation at any time if parties
are not interested to settle.
- If the parties fail to reach a settlement, returns
the case to the CA Division of origin and makes a
confidential report to the Philippine Mediation Center-CA
on the reasons for failure.
- Discloses to the parties any circumstance that
may create or give the appearance of a conflict of
interest and any other circumstance that may raise
a question as to his/her impartiality.
- Ensures strict confidentiality of all communications
made by the parties during the mediation proceedings.
What is the process in Appellate Court Mediation?
The entire mediation process in the appellate level
consists of five phases: (1)
selection of case, (2) resolution to appear, (3) agreement
to mediate, (4)
mediation proceedings, and (5) disposition of case.
Phase 1: Selection of Cases
Phase 2: Resolution to Appear
- The Division Clerk of Court, with the assistance
of the PMC-CA, identifies the pending cases for mediation
to be approved by the Ponente (Justice in charge of
the case) either for completion of records or for
- The petitioner or appellant specifies, by writing
or by stamping on the right side of the caption of
the initial pleading (under the case number), that
the case is qualified for mediation.
- If the case is eligible for mediation, the Ponente,
with the concurrence of the other members of the Division,
refers the case to the PMC-CA.
Phase 3: Agreement to Mediate
- The Ponente, with the concurrence of other members
of the Division, issues a resolution (after submission
of the appellant’s brief or after the filing
of a petition for review or certiorari) directing
the parties to appear at the PMC-CA without counsel
to consider the possibility of mediation.
- The resolution also suspends the running of the
period to file the appellee’s brief or comment
on the petition for review or certiorari, as the case
may be, until further order of the Court.
Phase 4: Mediation Proceedings
- Upon agreement of the parties to mediate, the PMC-CA
requires the parties to execute an Agreement to Mediate
in a form provided for the purpose.
- The parties choose a mediator and the date and
time of the initial mediation conference.
- The Court then furnishes the following documents
to the PMC-CA:
a. Appellant’s brief and any memorandum or record
b. Decisions or Orders of the court/tribunal being
appealed or subject to certiorari
Phase 5: Disposition of Cases
- The mediator tries to complete the mediation proceedings
within thirty (30) days from the date of the initial
mediation conference. However, the duration of mediation
proceedings may be extended for another thirty (30)
days if there is a request for extension based on
a justifiable ground or reason.
- Individual party litigants are required to attend
mediation conferences in person; corporate parties
must be represented by a corporate officer duly authorized
by Board resolution.
- Initial mediation conferences are held in the PMC-CA,
but subsequent mediation conferences may be held outside
the CA with notice to the Court.
- If the parties agree to a full or partial compromise,
the mediator drafts written terms with the concurrence
of the parties/counsel.
- The parties/counsel and mediator sign the compromise
agreement which is transmitted to the Court.
- The Court approves the compromise agreement, renders
judgment upon a full or partial compromise, as the
case may be, and makes an immediate entry of judgment.
- In the case of full settlement, the parties agree
to withdraw the appeal and enter into a mutual satisfaction
of claims and counterclaims. Upon receipt, the Court
renders an order of dismissal.
- If the parties fail to reach a settlement, the
mediator returns the case to the Division of origin.
He or she then makes a confidential report to the
PMC-CA on the reasons for the failure.
How long does the mediation process take under ACM?
The mediation process ideally takes thirty (30) days
from the date of the initial mediation conference.
The mediation proceedings may be extended for another
period not exceeding an additional thirty (30) days
after a motion is filed with the Court.
How much does mediation cost?
Mediation fees in the amount of one thousand pesos
(P1,000.00) are collected by the Clerk of Court of
the trial court upon filing of the Notice of Appeal
or by the Clerk of Court of the Court of Appeals for
cases that are directly filed therein.
The collected amount becomes part of the Mediation
Fund which is utilized for the promotion of court-annexed
mediation and other relevant modes of alternative
dispute resolution (ADR), training of mediators, payment
of mediator’s fees, and the operating expenses
of PMC units nationwide.
Who are exempt from paying the mediation fee?
A pauper litigant is exempt from paying the mediation
fee. The unpaid amount is a lien to any monetary award
in a judgment favorable to the pauper litigant.
The accused-appellant is also exempt from paying the
Are mediation proceedings admissible as evidence?
All matters discussed or communicated by the parties
(including the request for mediation) during mediation
conferences and documents presented before the PMCCA
are privileged and confidential. These are inadmissible
as evidence for any purpose in any other proceedings.
However, evidence or information that is otherwise
admissible does not become inadmissible solely by
reason of its use id mediation. This is to prevent
the abuse of this privilege by crafty parties or their