How The Central Authority Works in The Philippines

This article will provide guidance on How The Central Authority Works in The Philippines. Simplifying cross-border delivery of process, the Convention on the Service Abroad of Judicial and Extrajudicial Documents in Civil or Commercial Matters or the Hague Service is a global framework for process serving among its member states. Under the Convention, each member state has designated a Central Authority to operate as the principal contact. By and large, member nations agree that where lex fori requires extrajudicial delivery. Click here for How the Hague Convention Simplifies International Process Service.

The Philippines is a member of the Hague Service Convention. It is necessary to get authorization from the High Court in the Philippines before seeking to serve process outside of the court’s jurisdiction. Even though the Philippines is a party to the Hague Convention, a private process service like Undisputed Legal is always advisable to deal with the domestic requirements of the country’s legal system. Click Here for Frequently Asked Questions About Process Servers!

the Hague Service Convention in the Philippines 

The Hague Service Convention gives international litigants tools for the benefit of expedites and streamlines the process of serving documents overseas, upon which the promise is made that the addressee will be served in more than enough time; Click here for information on How To Identify A Good Process Service Agency.

The Court Administrator’s Office was appointed by the Court of the Philippines, (OCA) as the Philippine Central Authority  The authority to establish regulations rests with the Supreme Court, as stated in the Constitution. The Philippines government has established a mechanism for the serving of papers in the country and private process servers like those at Undisputed Legal will adhere to the specifications of the Central Authority. The Central Authority can reject the request for service in the event that it fails to meet the requirements of Philippine law.   Click here for information on How Rush Process Service Can Expedite Your Case. 

Justices with authority over the region where the document is to be served, as well as the Office of the Court Administrator of the Supreme Court of the Philippines, are authorized to execute the certificate under the Hague Service Convention. The Supreme Court of the Philippines’ Office of the Court Administrator is designated as the receiving authority. The Integrated Bar of the Philippines serves as an additional authority for the service of extrajudicial documents. Click here for information on How Service of Process Ensures A Solid Foundation.

Orders for service of process must be served by the Office of the Court Administrator via the appropriate courts having authority over the specified address. Unless it is absolutely necessary, the relevant judge will appoint a sheriff, process server, or other competent individual to personally serve the document. Parties must complete and submit the Request in English or Filipino along with any attachments. Fees associated with carrying out the service request will amount to U.S.D. 100.00 for every addressee. Click here for information on How Process Servers Protect Your Rights: Myths Debunked

After receiving a party’s request for a judge’s permission in a civil case in a business or commercial case, the court will decide how to proceed with service according to domestic law. It is essential to provide service through the Hague Service Convention in compliance with the Rules of Court. Included in the Order is a directive asking the requesting party to obtain and provide a pre-paid courier bag that will be utilized for the conveyance of court documents to the Central Authority. In the instance of collegiate courts, the court, in its capacity as sending authority, is required to complete the Request by signing it using the Model Form, verify the accuracy and fullness of paperwork, and guarantee conformity with regulations of the Requested State’s Convention and the Hague Service Convention. Click here for information on How To Overcome Language Barriers in Process Service

The address of the person who will receive the documents should include details and specifics. A payment must be included with every request. When sending to more than one person at the same address, parties are only required to pay one fee. The applicant will promptly receive confirmation of payment along with a copy. Click here for information on How Timelines Are Important in Process Serving.

The transmission of the requested documents is required by the State from where they originated. Parties can send their request and supporting paperwork (including payment confirmation) electronically by email or via transmission by physical means, such as certified mail or courier to the nation of the Philippines. If the request is made -and upon OCA assessment does not adhere to any of the previously stated needs, or if there are concerns about carrying out the request- the OCA must communicate with the Forwarding Authority, detailing the objection(s) to the SAE. If The Chief Justice in the case -being the judge presiding over a single-sala court or multiple-sala courts- will promptly designate an appropriate official, such as a sheriff or process server, in order to administer the document in compliance with the Rules of Court. 

The document’s designated officer must complete the return on service as per the Court’s regulations and turn it into the court judge who ordered the delivery of the record no later than five(5) days following delivery. The proof of service should record the document and any attachments that were sent, and it should contain the procedure, the time and location of delivery, as well as the recipient of the document delivered.

Central Authority in the Philippines

The primary responsibility of the Office of the Chief State Counsel (Legal Staff) of the Department of Justice, is to assist the Secretary in carrying out their duties as the Attorney General of the Republic of the Philippines and as the ex-officio legal officer of state-owned or controlled corporations or enterprises and their subsidiaries. The responsibilities of the Department of Justice include representing foreign governments with whom the Republic of the Philippines has extradition or mutual legal assistance treaties in criminal proceedings, as well as acting as the country’s Central Authority in relation to formal requests for legal assistance or extradition.

To put it simply, the Secretary receives assistance and handles all requests regarding from the Office of the Chief State Counsel.  When it comes to criminal cases, the Department of Justice is also the go-to place for mutual aid in law enforcement. Formal requests for assistance to and from the Philippines are handled and processed by the Office of the Chief State Counsel of the Department of Justice. As per the provisions of the applicable MLAT, the Philippines may extend assistance to countries with which it has an existing MLAT in criminal matters. The requesting party is expected to comply with a future request for similar assistance from the Philippines regarding a criminal matter involving an offense that corresponds to the foreign offense for which assistance is sought, as part of the undertaking of reciprocity.

The Philippines expects all Hague Service Convention countries to follow its rules when it comes to the transmission of civil requests. This might be achieved by personally serving the defendant or by sending registered mail with an acknowledgment of receipt (AR) to their last known address through a private process service agency like Undisputed Legal.

Regarding matters of extradition, the Central Authority is the Department of Justice. Requests for extradition are handled and processed by the Office of the Chief State Counsel of the Department of Justice in compliance with the provisions of the Philippine Extradition Law and any relevant extradition treaty.

Civil Procedure in the Philippines

A summons is served in the Philippines, according to Rule 14, Sections 6 and 7 of the Rules of Civil Procedure. For personal service, the defendant must be personally served with a copy of the summons. In the event that they decline to accept and sign for it, the summons must be tendered to them. In the event that personal service is not feasible, substituted service may be carried out by depositing duplicates of the summons and complaint at the person’s house with an adult reasonably able to handle them. Substituted service is also acceptable at the person’s place of business with an adult reasonably able to oversee their operations.

It is permissible to serve the defendant by publication at any location and for an unlimited number of times as the court permits if the defendant’s whereabouts are unknown, which happens often in such circumstances. It is recommended to serve the document in compliance with Philippine law, and a private process service agency with expertise in skip tracing, like Undisputed Legal, can be helpful. Often in such circumstances, the other side frequently tries to establish that the US court did not have jurisdiction over the defendant by arguing that the summons was not validly served.

Unless the court specifies an alternative time, the defendant has fifteen (15) days from the date of the summons to provide a response to the complaint. The defendant, if it is a foreign private juridical entity, has thirty (30) days from the date of receipt of the summons to file an answer. This requirement applies in cases where the defendant is served with the summons by a government official designated by law. The defendant is required to respond to an updated complaint filed by the plaintiff within fifteen (15) days after receiving a copy of the complaint. The defendant has ten (10) days from the date of notification of the order admitting the revised complaint to respond, unless filing it is not a matter of right. If no new response is submitted, an answer that was previously filed might be used as the answer to the amended complaint.

 Unless the court orders service upon the party personally, service upon any party who has appeared via counsel must be done upon any of their counsels. However, a private process service agency like Undisputed Legal is the most effective way of conducting service in the Philippines. 

Original copies of all papers (including pleadings, appearances, motions, notices, orders, judgments, and any other documents) must be submitted either in person to the court clerk or sent by registered mail with the appropriate stamp. The first scenario calls for the court clerk to stamp the filing time and date on the pleading. For the second scenario, the date that motions, pleadings, or any other documents, payments, or deposits were sent (as shown by the post office stamp on the envelope or the registry receipt) will be used as the day that they were filed, paid, or deposited in court. The case file must have the envelope attached. All documents that follow the complaint, such as judgments, resolutions, orders, pleadings, written motions, notices, appearances, demands, offers of judgment, or similar papers, must be submitted to the court and served upon the parties involved.

When serving a party or their counsel by registered mail, the copy must be placed in a sealed envelope and clearly addressed to the party at their office or residence, as applicable. The postage must be fully pre-paid, and the sender must instruct the postmaster to return the mail to them after ten (10) days if it remains undelivered. It is possible to serve via regular mail if there is no registered mail service available in the vicinity of either the sender or the recipient. 

Proof of a pleading or paper’s filing is its presence in the case record. If the clerk of court writes or stamps an acknowledgment of filing on a copy of the document, it can be used to prove personal filing if it is not in the record. If registered mail is used, the registry receipt and an affidavit from the person who mailed it can be used as well. The affidavit should include a full statement of the date and place of depositing the mail in the post office, in a sealed envelope addressed to the court, with postage fully prepaid. If the mail is not delivered after ten (10) days, the postmaster should return it to the sender. 

A written acceptance of service by the party served an official return of the server, or an affidavit of the party serving that fully states the date, location, and method of service constitutes proof of personal service.  Our Undisputed Legal private process servers are local to the country and will serve your papers in accordance with the civil procedure laws of the Philippines.

Serving any one defendant in a case involving an entity without juridical personality allows for service upon all defendants, regardless of whether they are generally or commonly known, or upon the person in charge of the office or place of business maintained in that name. However, no individual whose relationship to the entity has been severed before the action was initiated, upon proper notice, will be bound personally by such service. 

Notary in the Philippines

To aid in the proper execution of legal documents, the government appoints an official known as a notary public. International or foreign transactions, such as a Special Power of Attorney utilized in the Philippines, as well as deeds, affidavits, certifications, contracts, licenses, trusts, and estates, are examples of such documents. Notaries publicize themselves as witnesses to the signing of legal documents in order to ascertain the identity of the signatories and affirm that they comprehend the transaction’s or documents’ nature and consequences. The notary must also have the impression that the signing is entirely voluntary, without coercion. It is also possible to have a notary public attest that a document’s copies are authentic.

Presenting valid identification, such as a current passport, driver’s license, or any other government-issued photo ID, is necessary for the individual affirming or swearing to a document to be witnessed by a commissioner of oaths or notary public. A notary public or commissioner of oaths must be present when the document is signed. Anyone who has to appear before a notary public for an Affidavit of Loss, Deed of Sale, or any other legal document will have to do it at some point in their lives. It is important to remember that notaries and commissioners of oaths are not responsible for the content of the document, but only for the signature of the signer.

Not every attorney also serves as a notary public. However, every notary public is also a lawyer. At ALL times, a personal appearance before a notary public is necessary. It is not permissible for a notary public to execute a notarial act in the absence of the person who is legally authorized to sign the instrument or document, as stated in the 2020 Interim Rules on Remote Notarization.

No notary public can perform notarial acts outside of the boundaries of their own territory. The authority of a notary public to execute notarial acts is not unqualified. No notary public can perform notarial acts outside of the boundaries of his own territory. Therefore, a notary public commissioned in Manila cannot conduct notarial acts in Makati, and the same holds true for Makati.

According to the 2004 Notarial Rules, a notary public is not allowed to conduct a notarial act outside of their usual place of business, unless there are specific exceptions. When a document is notarized, it becomes a public record. By transforming it into a public document, a notarized document can be used as evidence without the need for additional verification of its legitimacy. This means that the law recognizes and accepts, at face value, a notarized document. 

There are significant legal ramifications to having a document notarized. A document that has been notarized becomes public and can be used as evidence in court without additional verification of its legitimacy.

Power of Attorney in the Philippines 

Some parties live out of the country. Consequently, they will designate a representative to handle their affairs in the Philippines, including property, business, and legal and financial matters. An instrument known as a power of attorney can be used to designate an individual as a representative in legal matters.

In order to delegate all authority to the attorney, parties can create a General Power of Attorney. They can also use a Special Power of Attorney to restrict their attorney’s authority to handle only certain matters or transactions. The power of attorney should be prepared by someone familiar with Philippine law, legal process, and legal documents.

A Special Power of Attorney, or ‘SPA’, is a legal document that gives one person the power to act on behalf of another, called the principal or grantor, by designating another person as the agent or attorney-in-fact. An SPA is an essential tool for individuals who require global access to manage specific tasks, such as managing finances, selling property, or attending legal proceedings, as opposed to a General Power of Attorney that encompasses more general aspects.

The individual who establishes the Power of Attorney, delegating power to another, is known as the principal or grantor. One who is trusted with the authority to act on behalf of the principal is called an agent or attorney-in-fact. The Power of Attorney allows principals to legally overcome time and distance limitations by managing assets and investments securely by delegating financial transactions or taking care of real estate transactions without actual presence. .

It is important to make sure the agent knows exactly what you have given them permission to do and make decisions. Choose an agent carefully; parties want someone they can put their faith in, who can meet their expectations, and who can look out for their best interests.

 For an SPA to have any force or effect, it needs to be notarized. Notary publics are involved in this process because they officially stamp documents after verifying the signatories’ identities and the voluntariness of their intentions. If made outside of the country, it must be authenticated in the country of its signing to confirm its applicability there. Notary publics are the only individuals who can witness special power of attorney documents that are required to be stamped with an apostille in the Philippines. A power of attorney must be prepared in the Philippines in accordance with the laws of the state in which the principal’s residence is located if the principal is to be appointed to act only within the Philippines and not abroad.

 Effective service of legal documents across international boundaries is essential. The whole team at Undisputed Legal is well-versed in the art of international document service. You can always rely on us to provide top-notch document servicing. All plaintiffs in the Philippines should be able to submit their documents more easily via the Philippine judicial system. The accurate and culturally sensitive delivery of all paperwork in the local language is our top priority at Undisputed Legal. No matter where you are across the globe, we can serve you.

Written by: Undisputed Legal Inc.


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1 As long as certain conditions are met, the Service Convention will be applicable in the Philippines.
circumstances are met:

  1. One State Party is required to transmit a document to another for assistance to a different State Party;
  2. The receiving state’s postal code where the beneficiary resides
  3. This is a judicial document that needs to be served; and
  4. A civil or commercial action is at the heart of the document that needs serving. matter.

2 Address: Third Level
The Supreme Court’s Former Structure
Faura Street, Padre
Manila, Ermita 1000
The nation of the Philippines
Contact number: +632 8536 9040

3 As amended (A.M. No. 19-10-20-SC, 15 October 2019), the Rules of Civil Procedure from 1997 provide further information on modes of service.

4 If more than one person lives at the same address, just one payment is required. A revised Statement of Cost must be sent by the Central Authority to the Requesting State’s forwarding authority for payment if the cost of document service surpasses US $100.00.

5 The proposal needs to include, with a copy of each, the following papers:

  1. The Request, the Certificate, and a duplicate of the Model Form
  2. Summary of Process for Serving Documents and Cautionary Notes;
  3. The original or certified true copy of the documents that are to be served along with all accompanying documents;
  4. A certified version of the Model Form along with all documents that are required to be included;
  5. A promise to pay in full for all costs concerned with the delivery of the paperwork; and
  6. Everything else the Requested State may need, considering due consideration of its announcements, reservations, and notifications

6 The failure to pay the fees in full when required shall constitute a basis in addition to any additional sanctions that the judge may impose for direct contempt of court the authority to impose in line with the Rules of Court.

7 It needs to incorporate, to the extent that it can, which house, which building, which street, which barangay, postal code, state or province, and jurisdiction

8 The Central Government
Administration of Justice Office

The Philippine Supreme Court
Level 3, Historic Supreme Court Building
Ermita, Manila 1000, Padre Faura Street

9 Established by Republic Act No. 2705

10 In criminal cases, the Philippines may offer the following forms of mutual legal assistance:

  1. utilizing the evidence provided by individuals 
  2. supplying evidence in the form of records, papers, and objects seeking out and naming potential witnesses or culprits the process of serving papers
  3. making preparations for witnesses to testify or provide assistance with investigations
    the process of locating, identifying, freezing, forfeiting, and seizing assets believed to be associated with illegal activity; this includes halting transactions involving property or assets that are deemed to be instrumental in criminal activity.
  4. carrying out search and seizure orders

11 Head of the Justice Department
Attn: Chief State Counsel’s Office
The Judgement Centre
One thousand Padre Faura Street, Ermita, 


12 The law governing extradition in the Philippines is Presidential Decree No. 1069. As far as is reasonably possible and does not contradict the expedited character of the proceedings, extradition cases are governed by the Rules of Court.

13 The court clerk must sign the sealed summons and include the following information: 

  1. the parties involved and the name of the court; 
  2. the deadline for the defendant to respond as set forth in these Rules; and 
  3. a warning that the plaintiff may seek relief or take judgment by default if the defendant does not respond within the specified time

14 A lawyer can become a notary public by meeting all the requirements outlined in the Rules on Notarial Practice from 2004 and submitting a Petition for Notarial Commission to the Executive Judge in their commissioning jurisdiction.

15 2020 Interim Rules on Remote Notarization of Paper Documents A.M. No. 20-07-04-SC

16 Notarial acts performed for specific relatives are not authorized by a notary public. To be more precise, a notary public cannot perform a notarial act if he is married to, in a common-law relationship with, grandfather of, or otherwise directly related to the person whose act is being notarized within the fourth civil degree by affinity or consanguinity.

17 2004 Rules on Notarial Practice A.M. No. 02-08-13-SC

18 Both ‘Notarial Act’ and ‘Notarization’ encompass the full range of powers granted to notaries public by Rule II, Section 7 of the 2004 Rules on Notarial Practice.

19 Case number 129416, Tigno v. Sps. Aquino, G.R. 25 Nov. 2004


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