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Guidelines on the Implementation of the Hague Service Convention in the Philippines 

by Ricardo Maria Ongkiko, John Christian Joy Regalado

Published: October, 2020

Submission: October, 2020

 



This is an overview of Supreme Court Administrative Order No. 251-2020 (Guidelines on the Implementation in the Philippines of the Hague Service Convention on the Service Abroad of Judicial Documents in Civil and Commercial Matters)1 (the Hague Service Convention Guidelines). The guidelines became effective on October 1, 2020.2


A. Scope


The Hague Service Convention Guidelines govern the service of judicial documents in civil or commercial matters from one State Party to another State Party pursuant to the Convention on the Service Abroad of Judicial and Extrajudicial Documents in Civil or Commercial Matters (Hague Service Convention).3 The guidelines will apply to requests by party litigants in the Philippines to serve judicial documents abroad as well as requests from litigants in a case abroad to serve judicial documents in the Philippines. According to the Supreme Court, the guidelines will simplify the serving of summons and other documents in a foreign jurisdiction.


B. Steps to Request Service Outside the Philippines


Below is an outline of the steps under the Hague Service Convention Guidelines for a party in a civil or commercial proceeding in the Philippines to request the Forwarding Authority (which is the authority or judicial officer of the Requesting State4 competent to forward the request for service)5 for the extraterritorial service of judicial documents.


The litigant has to file a motion for leave of court (with the Model Form) before the Forwarding Authority. In the Philippines, all Justices and Clerks of Court of collegiate courts, and Judges of lower courts are designated as Forwarding Authorities.6

The Model Form accomplished by the litigant has to be attached to the motion. A copy of the Model Form is posted at https://www.hcch.net/en/publications-andstudies/details4/?pid=6560&dtid=65 and it consists of the following:

a. Request – A request for service has to be sent to the Central Authority (which is the authority in charge of receiving requests for service from Requesting States and executing them or causing them to be executed)7 of the Requested State.8 In the Philippines, the Office of the Court Administrator (OCA) is designated as the Central Authority for judicial documents;9

b. Certificate – This certificate confirms whether or not the documents have been served; and

c. Summary of Documents to be Served – A summary has to be delivered to the addressee and preceded by a Warning relating to the legal nature, purpose, and effects of the documents to be served.


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Footnotes:

1 Supreme Court Administrative Order No. 251-2020 (Guidelines on the Implementation in the Philippines of the Hague Service Convention on the Service Abroad of Judicial Documents in Civil and Commercial Matters) dated September 11, 2020; http://sc.judiciary.gov.ph/13552/ last accessed at 3:13 PM on September 21, 2020.
2 Hague Service Convention Guidelines, V.1; The Guidelines were published in the Manila Bulletin and Philippine Star on September 17, 2020.
3 Hague Service Convention Guidelines, I.1. and I.2.
4 Hague Service Convention Guidelines, I.5.d; under Article 3 of the Hague Service Convention, the Requesting State refers to the State in which the documents originate.
5 Hague Service Convention Guidelines, I.5(d).
6 Hague Service Convention Guidelines, I.5(d).
7 Hague Service Convention Guidelines, I.5(c).
8 Hague Service Convention Guidelines, I.5.d; under Article 3 of the Hague Service Convention, the Requested State refers to the State to which the request is addressed to.
9 Hague Service Convention Guidelines, I.5(c)


 

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