International Access to Justice News:
“Justice on Wheels” in Manila –
Through the Justice on Wheels program, judges go to the field aboard a bus to adjudicate and dispose of cases. Inside the bus are two courtrooms, complete with tables and benches for the judges, lawyers and litigants. When the program rolled off the ground in 2004, three mobile courts were put in operation. They were deployed to cities and municipalities without regular courts, detention centers or youth reception centers.
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Chief Justice Puno likened the program to an experiment “when we see the highest officials of the judiciary coming down from their ivory tower and giving a human face to our system of justice, showing compassion, giving heart to our justice system.” He vowed to bring the program to every nook and cranny of the country to address the common grievance that the justice system is unresponsive to the needs of ordinary citizens and the social justice mandate of the Constitution—a major cause of public discontent and political instability.
“When you consider the realities on the ground, the poor and the marginalized oftentimes play in an uneven legal field. So the JOW program is predicated on the rationale of bringing social justice to the disadvantaged sectors of our society as a living reality,” he said.
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