Understanding the Guidelines on the Service Abroad of Judicial Documents in Civil and Commercial Matters
(Supreme Court Administrative Order No. 251-2020)
What is the scope of the guidelines?
The Guidelines shall govern the operation and implementation of the Hague Service Convention in the Philippines, insofar as they concern judicial documents in civil or commercial matters.
What are the conditions to be met for the Hague Service Convention to apply?
The following must be present:
a. A document is to be transmitted from one State Party for service to another State Party;
b. The address of the intended recipient in the receiving State Party is known;
c. The document to be served is a judicial document; and
d. The document to be served relates to a civil or commercial matter.
Definition of Some Terms:
Service – the transmission and formal delivery of documents that is legally sufficient to charge the defendant with notice of a pending action; Provided, that it shall not be interpreted to comprise substantive rules relating to the actual service of process, nor shall it determine the conditions or formalities of that service;
Central Authority – the receiving authority in charge of receiving requests for service from Requesting States and executing them or causing them to be executed. The Office of the Court Administrator (OCA) is the designated Central Authority for the Philippines for judicial documents;
Forwarding Authority – the authority or judicial officer of the Requesting State competent to forward the request for service. All justices and Clerks of Court of collegiate courts, and Judges of lower courts are designated as Forwarding Authorities in the Philippines;
Judicial Document – orders, resolutions, judgments, and other official documents issued by courts in relation to civil or commercial proceedings, as well as pleadings and other court submissions by parties to such civil or commercial proceedings;
Briefly, how is OUTBOUND request for service (from the Philippines to other State Parties) made?
a. Application – Upon motion for leave of court of a party in a civil or commercial proceeding, the court shall determine whether extraterritorial service through the Hague Service Convention is necessary, in accordance with Rules 13 and 14 of the Rules of Court, as amended. The motion shall be accompanied, in duplicate by the required documents;
b. Order granting extraterritorial service – If the court finds that extraterritorial service is warranted, it shall issue an Order to that effect which shall include a directive to the requesting party to procure and submit a prepaid courier pouch which shall be used for the transmission of documents from the court to the Central Authority of the Requested State;
c. Fees and costs – When the request for service entails costs and fees, the party, in accordance with his/her undertaking, shall settle the payment and submit the required proof of payment to the clerk of court;
d. Transmission of documents abroad – Once all the requirements are submitted by the party requesting the extraterritorial service, the court shall coordinate with the Central Authority of the Requested State and transmit the documents sought to be served, among others;
e. Execution of request – The Central Authority of the Requested State shall then process the request and attempt service in accordance with its domestic laws. It shall thereafter provide formal confirmation whether the service was successful or unsuccessful which shall be transmitted back to the requesting court, and shall form part of the records of the case.
When does the Administrative Order take effect?
The Administrative Order takes effect on October 01, 2020.
 See the list here: http://sc.judiciary.gov.ph/13552/