SC Approves Guidelines on Implementation of Hague Service Convention on Judicial Documents

September 18, 2020

The Supreme Court has approved the Guidelines on the Implementation in the Philippines of the Hague Service Convention on the Service Abroad of Judicial Documents in Civil and Commercial Matters, which will address court delays and simplify the serving of summons and other documents in a foreign jurisdiction.

This development is pertinent to Chief Justice Diosdado M. Peralta’s top priority to declog the court dockets, included in his Ten-Point Program which he had made public shortly after he took the chief justiceship in October last year. The Program has four core areas ─ Efficiency, Integrity, Security, and Service.

The Guidelines shall govern the operation and implementation of the Hague Service Convention in the country, insofar as they concern judicial documents in civil or commercial matters.

According to its website, the Service Convention “provides for the channels of transmission to be used when a judicial or extrajudicial document is to be transmitted from one State party to the Convention to another State Party for service in the latter.” The Convention deals primarily with the transmissionof documents and does not address or comprise substantive rules relating to the actual service of process.

Last March, the Chief Justice, along with Court Administrator Jose Midas P. Marquez, joined officials from the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) to witness the Philippines, through the DFA, deposit the Instrument of Accession to the Service of Process Convention at the Peace Palace, The Hague, Netherlands during the meeting of the Council on General Affairs and Policy of The Hague Conference on Private International Law (HCCH). The Convention shall enter into force in the Philippines beginning October 1.

Chief Justice Peralta has welcomed the accession underscoring that it would minimize delays in the justice system and enhance the overall administration of justice. 

The HCCH Convention establishes a streamlined transmission of judicial and extrajudicial documents from one State Party to another State Party. It is one of the most practical international instruments with a direct benefit to the millions of Filipinos globally who are burdened with inefficiencies in the traditional mode of serving processes.

Full text of the Guidelines