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COURT NEWS FLASH

Chief Justice Sereno: Prepare for Apostille Convention

January 30, 2014

Chief Justice Maria Lourdes P. A. Sereno today urged members of the judiciary and the legal profession to prepare for the country’s impending accession to the The Hague Apostille Convention, the Convention Abolishing the Requirement of Legalisation for Foreign Public Documents.

“It is important for the judiciary and the members of the legal profession to remain prepared… We have to embrace technology as part of delivering justice worldwide,” the Chief Justice said in her closing remarks during the Seminar-Workshop on the Apostille Convention held at the 20th Floor of Bro. Andrew Gonzales Building, Dela Salle,Manila with a remote site at the En Banc Session Hall of the Supreme Court by video conference on January 30, 2014. Chief Justice Sereno underscored the importance of maintaining the security and integrity of its documents and so the judiciary, among others, has to review how to keep public records.

The Convention aims to abolish the often time-consuming and costly paperwork surrounding the legalization of foreign public documents, and to replace it with a simple single procedure but without doing away with legalisation. It is time- and cost-efficient, a one-stop-shop for authenticated foreign public documents.

The Department of Foreign Affairs participants, led by its Office of Consular Affairs Authentication Division Acting Director Joaquin Ricardo Aragon, confirmed that it was “only a matter of time” that the country will accede to the Convention. “It will happen. We just have to be prepared for it,” said Mr. Aragon, adding that it “may be imperative for the DFA and the judiciary to take the lead on the Apostille Convention.”

The seminar-workshop was in anticipation of the Philippines' accession to the Convention Abolishing the Requirement of Legalisation for Foreign Public Documents, more commonly known as “The Hague Apostille Convention.” This was drawn up by the Hague Conference on Private International Law during its ninth session in 1960. The Convention aims to abolish the often time-consuming and costly paperwork surrounding the legalization of foreign public documents, and to replace it with a simple single procedure but without doing away with legalisation. What it establishes are certain formalities in international legal transactions, without the loss of legal certainty, by reducing the legalisation process to a single action: the application of an apostille--which is a kind of certificate. A document bearing an apostle would then not require any further legalization by the embassy or consulate of the country in which it is to be used.

Also present was Justice Teresita J. Leonardo-De Castro and Philippine Judiciary Academy (PHILJA) Chancellor (Ret.) Justice Adolfo S. Azcuna. The resource persons were Prof. Peter Zablud, Chairperson of the Board of Governors of the Australian and New Zealand College of Notaries (ANZCN) in Australia; and Pro. Anselmo Reyes, Representative of the Hague Conference Asia Pacific Regional Office (HAPRO), based in Hongkong.

Sponsored by the Philippine Judicial Academy, in partnership with the Hague Conference Asia Pacific Regional Office and the De La Salle University College of Law, the seminar-workshop was streamed live (video and audio) from the DLSU. ###