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Background on the Philippine Judicial System

The Constitution 
The Constitution of the Philippines ordains that judicial power shall be vested in one Supreme Court and such lower courts as may be established by law. [Section 1, Art. VIII, 1987 Constitution). 
The Law 
Under Philippine laws [Judiciary Reorganization Act of 1980 (Batas Pambansa Bilang 129) which took effect on January 18, 1983 and other laws] the Philippine judicial system consists of the following courts:chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary 
Lower Courts 

I. Municipal Trial Courts and Municipal Circuit Trial Courts 

Every municipality in the Philippines has its own Municipal Trial Court.  It is referred to as such if it covers only one municipality; otherwise,  it is called Municipal Circuit Trial Court if it covers two or more municipalities. 
II. Metropolitan Trial Courts and Municipal Trial Courts in Cities 
Municipal Trial Courts in the towns and cities in the Metropolitan Manila area, as distinguished from the other political subdivisions in the Philippines, are referred to as Metropolitan Trial Courts. 
In cities outside Metropolitan Manila, the equivalent of the Municipal Trial Courts are referred to as Municipal Trial Courts in Cities. 
III. Regional Trial Courts 
Regional Trial Courts were established among the thirteen regions in the Philippines consisting of Regions I to XII and the National Capital Region (NCR). There are as many Regional Trial Courts in each region as the law mandates. 
IV. Shari'a Courts 
Equivalent to the Regional Trial Courts in rank are the Shari'a District Courts which were established in certain specified provinces in Mindanao where the Muslim Code on Personal Laws is being enforced. 
Equivalent to the Municipal Circuit Trial Courts are the Shari'a Circuit Courts which were established in certain municipalities in Mindanao. 
There are five Shari'a District Courts and fifty one Shari'a Circuit Courts in existence. 
V. Court of Tax Appeals 
A special court, the Court of Tax Appeals, composed of a Presiding Judge and two Associate Judges, is vested with the exclusive appellate jurisdiction over appeals from the decisions of the Commissioner of Internal Revenue and the Commissioner of Customs on certain specific issues.  
VI. Sandiganbayan 
A special court, the Sandiganbayan, composed of a Presiding Justice and eight Associate Justices, has exclusive jurisdiction over violations of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act [Republic Act No. 3019], the Unexplained Wealth Act [Republic Act No. 1379] and other crimes or felonies committed by public officials and employees in relation to their office, including those employees in government-owned or controlled corporations.  
VII. Court of Appeals 
The Court of Appeals, composed of one Presiding Justice and sixty eight Associate Justices  is vested with jurisdiction over appeals from the decisions of the Regional Trial Courts and certain quasi-judicial agencies, boards or commissions.  
The Highest Court - Supreme Court 
The Supreme Court is the highest Court in the Philippines.  There is only one Supreme Court composed of one Chief Justice and fourteen Associate Justices. It is the final arbiter of any and all judicial issues.  When so deciding, it may sit en banc or in divisions of three, five or seven members.  

Background on the Philippine Judicial System
Philippine Judicial Hierarchy
Regular Courts
Special Courts
Collegiate Courts
Lower Courts
The Supreme Court
The Court of Appeals
Court of Tax Appeals
Regional Trial Courts
Shari'a District Courts
Shari'a Circuit Courts
Municipal Trial Courts
Metropolitan Trial Courts
Municipal Circuit Trial Courts
Municipal Trial Courts in Cities
Constitutional Provisions on the Judiciary
Rules of Court of the Philippines
Supreme Court Decisions
Supreme Court Circulars
Philippine Law Update:  The Supreme Court & the Judiciary

of the following courts:chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary


Supreme Court
Court of Appeals
Court of Tax Appeals
Regional Trial Courts
Metropolitan Trial Courts in Cities
Municipal Trial Courts/Municipal Circuit Courts
Shari'a District Courts
Shari'a Circuit Courts

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