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UPDATE 10/27/20: The Philippines formally announced its opposition to mail service, but has yet to make any announcements regarding agent service.

On March 4, 2020, the Philippines signed on to the Hague Service Convention. The Convention takes force in the Philippines on October 1, 2020. Accordingly, after October 1st – just a few days from now – service to the Philippines must be pursuant to the Hague Convention.[1]

To date, the Philippines have set up a Central Authority,[2] but it has not (as yet) posted any declaration or reservations to the Convention.[3] So, the question is, how will service to the Philippines proceed after October 1st?

How to Serve Process in the Philippines After October 1, 2020

To obtain some insight, we contacted the Philippine Central Authority and received a very polite reply that confirms all of the above, but did not provide any further detail.

It is clear that Central Authority service (under Article 5) will be available – but based on our past experience (see below), it is unlikely that mail or agent service under Article 10 will be proper.

Translation Requirements

Because English is an official language of the Philippines, service through the Central Authority will only require translation if it is known that the defendant speaks or does business only in Filipino.

We would recommend that if there is any doubt as to this matter, translation is the conservative choice.

What is unclear is whether the Philippine Central Authority may have some as yet unspecified other requirements. (For example, the US, China, and Canada all impose a processing fee).

Service Originating in the US

Historically, the Philippines took a relaxed attitude with respect to service of process originating in the United States. If you were not worried about the enforcement of a judgment in the Philippines, you could simply hire a Filipino process server. (If you were worried about enforcing a judgment, service would need to be via a Letter Rogatory.)

Service Originating from the Philippines

A few years back, we looked into the mechanics of serving process in the Philippines. We learned that service originating from a Filipino court when effected upon a Filipino defendant was highly regulated and violation of such regulations was a criminal offense.

Accordingly, we do not believe that service of process in the Philippines under Article 10 will be proper.

Future Trends

What do you think will happen with service of process under Article 10 in the Philippines? Will fees for service become more universal following precedent in US, Canada, and the PRC? Let us know your thoughts in the comment section below.

How LLS Can Help

International service of process is complex and should never be attempted without the help of experienced professionals. At LLS, we have more than 35 years of experience effecting service in 90+ countries.

Contact LLS today to learn more about how we can assist you.

Call 1-800-755-5775 or simply fill out our online inquiry form here.

[1] Volkswagenwerk Aktiengesellschaft v. Schlunk – 486 U.S. 694, 108 S. Ct. 2104 (1988).
[2] https://www.hcch.net/en/states/authorities/details3/?aid=1138.
[3] https://www.hcch.net/en/instruments/conventions/status-table/?cid=17.

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