Notes on payment of docket fees

[1] AMOUNT OF DAMAGES PRAYED FOR SHOULD BE SPECIFIED IN THE PRAYER.

Amount of damages prayed for should be specified not only in the body of the pleading but also in the prayer, and said damages shall be considered in the assessment and payment of filing fees.

[2] PAYMENT OF DOCKET FEES CLOTHES A TRIAL COURT WITH JURISDICTION.

It is not simply the filing of complaint or initiatory pleading but also payment of prescribed docket fee that vests a trial court with jurisdiction over subject matter or nature of the action.

[3] NO PAYMENT OF DOCKET FEES, NO COMPLAINT/PLEADING FILED.

Without payment of correct docket fee, no original complaint or similar pleading is considered filed. Hence, amendment of such complaint or similar pleading, or payment of docket fee based on the amounts sought in the amended pleading will not vest jurisdiction in the court.

[4] REASONABLE PERIOD MAY BE ALLOWED BY THE COURT FOR THE PAYMENT OF THE NECESSARY DOCKET FEES.

Where the filing of the initiatory pleading is not accompanied by payment of the docket fee, the court may allow payment of deficient docket fee within a reasonable period but not beyond the applicable prescriptive or reglementary period.

[5] IF REASONABLE TIME GIVEN, PRESCRIPTION STILL RUNES.

If the court grants the petitioner/complainant enough time to pay docket fees, the prescriptive continues to run since the complaint is deemed not filed. This same rule applies to permissive counterclaims, third party claims and similar pleadings, which shall not be considered filed unless the filing fee is paid.

[6] IF AWARD NOT SPECIFIED IN THE PLEADINGS, LIEN ON THE JUDGMENT.

Where the trial court acquires jurisdiction over a claim by the filing of the appropriate pleading and payment of the prescribed filing fee but, subsequently, the court awards a claim not specified in the pleadings, such as damages arising after the filing of the complaint or similar pleading, the additional filing fee therefor shall constitute a lien on the judgment.

READ: Sun Insurance Office, Ltd. vs. Asuncion, 1989; Tacay vs. Regional Trial Court of Tagum, Davao del Norte, 1989; and Heirs of Hinog vs. Melicor, 2005.

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