Wednesday, March 16, 2011

SC allows e-summons for foreign firms without PH rep

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

The SC approved the amendment to the Rules of Court, particularly Rule 14, Section 12, which only provided for the manner of service of summons upon a foreign corporation who has an agent or is doing business in the country.

The said rule stated: “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.”

Deputy public information chief Gleo Guerra said, however, that the amendment to the service of summons should be done with “leave of court (permission of the court to take action)”.

With the change, summons can now be served through the following means:

* By personal service coursed through the appropriate court in the foreign country with the assistance of the Department of Foreign Affairs;
* By publication once in a newspaper of general circulation in the country where the defendant may be found and by serving a copy of the summons and the court order by registered mail at the last known address of the defendant;
* By facsimile or any recognized electronic means that could generate proof of service or by such other means as may be warranted in the discretion of the court.

Guerra did not specify the other forms of electronic means — the most common of which is e-mail — but pointed out that it will be sufficient as long as that it can be proven in court that the defendant has received the summon.

The SC official said the amendment will become effective 15 days after publication in a news paper of general circulation.

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