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The Shari'a District Courts in the Philippines




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 Code of Muslim Personal Laws of the Philippines is being enforced.

There are five Shari'a District Courts and fifty one Shari'a Circuit Courts in existence.

A Shari'a District Court is of limited jurisdiction.   It was created under Presidential Decree No. 1083. Cases falling within the exclusive jurisdiction of the Shari'a District Courts primarily pertain to family rights and duties as well as contractual relations of Filipino Muslims in the Mindanao. 

    It has exclusive original jurisdiction over the following:chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary

      1.  All cases involving custody, guardianship, legitimacy, paternity and filiation arising under Presidential Decree No. 1083

      2.  All cases involving disposition, distribution and settlement of the estate of a deceased Muslim, probate of wills, issuance of letters of administration or appointment of administrators or executors regardless of the nature or the aggregate value of the property; 

      3.  Petitions for declaration of absence and death and for cancellation and correction of entries in the Muslim Registries mentioned in Title VI, Book Two of Presidential Decree No. 1083;

      4.  All actions arising from customary contracts in which the parties are Muslims, if they have not specified which law shall govern their relations; 

      5.  All petitions for mandamus, prohibition, injunction, certiorari, habeas corpus, and all auxiliary writs and processes in aid of its appellate jurisdiction; 

It has concurrent original jurisdiction over the following:chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary

      1.  Petitions by Muslims for the constitution of the family home, change of name and commitment of insane person to any asylum; 

      2.  All other personal and real actions not mentioned in paragraph 1(d) wherein the parties involved are Muslims except those for forcible entry and unlawful detainer which shall fall under the exclusive original jurisdiction of the Municipal Circuit Courts; and 

      3.  All special civil actions for interpleader or declaratory relief where the parties are Muslims or the property involved belongs exclusively to a Muslim. 

The Shari'a District Court has appellate jurisdiction over all cases tried in the Shari'a Circuit Courts within their territorial jurisdiction.

It shall decide every case on the basis of the evidence and the records transmitted as well as such memoranda, briefs or oral arguments as the parties may submit.

The decisions of the Shari'a District Courts, whether on appeal from the Shari'a Circuit Courts or not, shall be final. The Supreme Court shall, however, continue to exercise original and appellate jurisdiction over certain issues as provided by the Constitution.


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

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Since 19.07.98


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