Tribunal puts dirty money cases in special courts

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THE SUPREME COURT has ordered special commercial courts to exclusively handle money laundering cases including forfeiture of dirty money, and other lawsuits under various special laws.

In a Nov. 9, 2021 resolution published in a newspaper on Sunday, the tribunal also said these special trial courts would now handle lawsuits involving bank secrecy, foreign investments, e-commerce and data privacy.

Special commercial courts will also exclusively hear cases involving violations of the Securities Regulation Code, Consumer Act, Price Act and Food, Drug and Cosmetics Act, Chief Justice. Alexander G. Gesmundo said in the order.

The transfer of these lawsuits from regular branches of regional trial courts to special commercial courts, which are supposed to be more proficient in corporate disputes, would be “in the interest of a speedy and efficient administration of justice,” the tribunal said. 

The court order is prospective and will only apply to future lawsuits.

Henceforth, special commercial courts will be excluded from the raffle of regular cases unless the Office of the Court Administrator deems it otherwise.

Under the order, these special courts will now hear intra-corporate disputes, cases on intellectual property, rehabilitation, insolvency and liquidation, cyber-crime, competition, letters of credit and violations of the Access Devices Regulation Act. — J.E.G. Tan

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