Watch this space for updates… nothing really to say just yet, as I usually just advise clients to serve by mail if their defendants are in the Republic of the Philippines. There’s currently no treaty in force, Letters Rogatory take seemingly forever, and I have yet to find a private agent or law firm there who (1) understands fully what I seek, (2) is willing to take the project on for less than an outrageous fee, and (3) I trust to actually do what needs to be done.* Remember that old lawyers’ saying “you want good, cheap, and fast… pick two of those.” That’s pretty much been my approach to service in the Philippines for the past five years.
The Philippines will soon accede to the Hague Service Convention, a treaty that simplifies the process of serving court documents on parties living in another state, Foreign Affairs Undersecretary Eduardo Malaya bared (sic) Thursday.
This is tremendous news, especially for the many individual litigants whose attorneys contact me for service in divorce actions, but also for the many business owners involved in disputes with Philippine parties. I don’t see any indications as yet whether the Republic will object to Article 10 and its alternative methods, but this space will be updated as soon as the answers to that question and others are made available.
UPDATE: The Philippines acceded to the Convention effective March 4, 2020, but it does not enter into force until October 1, 2020. Aside from Central Authority information, the Hague Conference website still lacks additional information as to the Philippines’ views on the treaty.
Still.. stay tuned.
* The Department of State offers that “service of process in the Philippines may be effected by mail, by agent, such as a local attorney, or through letters rogatory. Litigants may wish to consult an attorney in the Philippines before pursuing a particular method of service of process, particularly if enforcement of a U.S. judgment is contemplated in the future.” Enforcement is right at the top of my list of concerns where a litigator chooses a simplistic means of service– particularly mail, which I generally recommend against— but in the Philippines, it’s usually the only realistic method.