Katarungang Pambarangay, or the Barangay Justice System is a local justice system in the Philippines. It is operated by the smallest of the local government units, the barangay, and is overseen by the barangay captain, the highest elected official of the barangay and its executive.
The system exists to help decongest the regular courts and works mostly as "alternative, community-based mechanism for dispute resolution of conflicts," also described as a "compulsory mediation process at the village level."
Throughout the Philippines the Barangay Justice Systems handles thousands of cases a year. Since officials have more flexibility in decision-making, including from complex evidence rules, and receive some resources from government, the courts are more numerous and accessible than other courts and therefore the courts are able to hear more cases and to respond more immediately.
The Katarungang Pambarangay share characteristics with similar traditional, hybrid courts in other countries such as the Solomon Islands, Papua New Guinea, Nigeria and South Africa, among others. Such courts emerged during colonial periods as Western imperial powers introduced western legal systems. The Western legal systems were usually applied to westerners while the local dispute resolution systems were integrated into the Western system in a variety of ways including incorporation of local decision makers into the government in some way. After independence, many states faced the same problems as their former rulers, especially "limited geographical reach of state institutions, Western-modeled institutions often divorced from community structures and expectations, and resource constraints in the justice sector." Hybrid courts became a "middle ground for supporting community decision-making while simultaneously expanding the authority and reach of the state."
Besides "hybrid courts", other authors have described the system as a "Non-State Justice System".
- "Barangay Justice System (BJS), Philippines". BASES Wiki. Retrieved 1 October 2012.
- Clark, Samuel, and Matthew Stephens (2011). Reducing Injustice? A Grounded Approach to Strengthening Hybrid Justice Systems: Lessons from Indonesia. Traditional Justice: Practitioners’ Perspectives WORKING PAPERS series. International Development Law Organization (IDLO). p. 5. "For example, the Philippines’ compulsory mediation process at the village level, known as the Barangay Justice system,..."
- Chapman, Peter. "Hybrid Courts in East Asia & Pacific: A recipe for success?". "East Asia & Pacific on the rise" blog. The World Bank. Retrieved 16 November 2012.
- Chapman, Peter. "History of Hybrid Courts in East Asia & Pacific: A ‘best fit’ approach to justice reform?". "East Asia & Pacific on the rise" blog. The World Bank. Retrieved 16 November 2012.
- Golub, S (2003). 'Non-state Justice Systems in Bangladesh and the Philippines'. Department for International Development, London. Retrieved 16 November 2012.
- For more details about the rules and procedure of the system, see Legal Procedures 03: Katarungang Pambarangay from Legal Updates blog
- The Katarungang Pambarangay Handbook from the website of the Department of the Interior and Local Government Regional Office No. 5. For an online version go to Scribd.com
- PRESIDENTIAL DECREE No. 1508 (repealed by R.A. 7160) ESTABLISHING A SYSTEM OF AMICABLY SETTLING DISPUTES AT THE BARANGAY LEVEL
- R.A. 7160 AN ACT PROVIDING FOR A LOCAL GOVERNMENT CODE OF 1991