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Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Philippine Supreme Court Allows eService of Summons on Foreign Firms

In an ever increasing litigation trend globally, the benefits of today's technologies is set to be implemented in yet another court system.

The Philippine Supreme Court announced the adoption of the use of electronic means to serve summons on foreign corporations who have been sued in the Philippines but have no resident agent or not registered to do business in the country.

The rule states in part:

“When the defendant is a foreign private juridical entity which has transacted business in the Philippines, service may be made on its resident agent designated in accordance with law for that purpose, or, if there be no such agent, on the government official designated by law to that effect, or on any of its officers or agents within the Philippines.”
From a practical standpoint this new rule is similar to the United States Federal Rule of Civil Procedure FRCP 4 (f) (3). U.S. courts have read this provision flexibly, consistent with the constitutional requirements of due process.

For example, in Rio Properties, Inc. v. Rio International the United States Ninth Circuit held that the district court did not abuse its discretion by authorizing plaintiff to serve an Internet business outside the U.S. by email.

What does this mean for process servers? To say I knew for sure would be a stretch. I do believe that as the legal community in the Unites States and globally becomes more familiar with and accustomed to doing business online it is only a matter of time before traditional service of summons and complaints will be allowed by rule electronically.

Posted by Jeff H. Karotkin