Getting the Deal Through: Enforcement of Foreign Judgments 2018
by Ricardo Maria Ongkiko, Anthony Raphael Jacoba, Trisha Beverly Flores
Published: December, 2017
Submission: December, 2017
Is your country party to any bilateral or multilateral treaties for the reciprocal recognition and enforcement of foreign judgments? What is the country’s approach to entering into these treaties and what, if any, amendments or reservations has your country made to such treaties?
The Philippines is not a party to any bilateral or multilateral treaty for the recognition and enforcement of foreign judgments. Philippine case law, however, recognises that recognition and enforcement of foreign judgments are generally accepted principles of international law because of widespread practice and the embodiment of procedures for recognition and enforcement of foreign judgments in the rules of law, whether statutory or jurisprudential, adopted in foreign jurisdictions (BPI Securities Corporation v Guevara, 752 SCRA 342, 365 (2015), citing Mijares v Ranada, 455 SCRA 397, 421-422 (2005)), and considers as an established international legal principle ‘that final judgments of foreign courts are reciprocally respected and rendered efficacious subject to certain conditions that vary in different countries’ (BPI Securities Corporation v Guevara, 752 SCRA 342 (2015), citing St Aviation Services Co Pte Ltd v Grand International Airways, Inc, 505 SCRA 30, 34 (2006)).
2. Intra-state variations
Is there uniformity in the law on the enforcement of foreign judgments among different jurisdictions within the country?
Yes. The Philippines does not have a federal system and accordingly there is uniformity in the law and procedure within the jurisdiction in respect of the enforcement of foreign judgments. The Philippine Constitution requires the uniform application of the Rules of Court for all courts of the same grade (Const., article VIII 5(5)), which, as will be discussed below, is the primary source of law for the enforcement of foreign judgments. The Rules of Court apply in all courts, except as otherwise provided by the Supreme Court (Rules of Court, Rule 1, section 2).
3. Sources of law
What are the sources of law regarding the enforcement of foreign judgments?
Foreign judgments may be enforced in the Philippines under procedural rules or jurisprudence (Mijares v Ranada, 455 SCRA 397 (2005)).
Rule 39, section 48 of the Rules of Court primarily governs the enforcement of foreign judgments. Under this rule, the foreign judgment merely creates a right of action, and its non-satisfaction is the cause of action by which a suit can be brought upon for its enforcement (BPI Securities Corporation v Guevara, 752 SCRA 342 (2015)). The rule creates a distinction between a foreign judgment in an action in rem and one in personam. For the former, ‘the foreign judgment is deemed conclusive upon the title to the thing’, while for the latter, the foreign judgment is merely ‘presumptive, and not conclusive, of a right as between the parties and their successors in interest by a subsequent title’ (BPI Securities Corporation v Guevara, 752 SCRA at 367 (2015), citing Mijares v Ranada, 455 SCRA 397, 409 (2005)). In either case, the foreign judgment ‘may be repelled by evidence of want of jurisdiction, want of notice to the party, collusion, fraud, or clear mistake of law or fact’ (Rules of Court, Rule 39, section 48, last paragraph).
Decisions of the Supreme Court applying or interpreting the rule on enforcement of foreign judgments form part of the legal system of the Philippines (Civil Code, article 8).
Reproduced with permission from Law Business Research Ltd. Getting the Deal Through: Enforcement of Foreign Judgments 2018, (published in September 2017; contributing editors: Patrick Doris, Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP) For further information please visit gettingthedealthrough.com.
Ricardo Ma. P.G. Ongkiko heads the firm's Litigation Department. His practice areas include international and domestic arbitration, construction arbitration, mediation, civil and commercial litigation, corporation law, and contract law. He has handled and tried a broad range of cases involving contract disputes, corporate restructuring and arbitration, debt recovery, infrastructure and engineering disputes, intra-corporate controversies, insurance cases, and tort.
Anthony Raphael V. Jacoba is a member of the firm’s Litigation and Arbitration practice group. Mr. Jacoba has represented clients in a broad range of commercial litigation, including intra-corporate disputes, insolvency cases, and enforcement of foreign judgments, before all levels of the Philippine judiciary. He has also represented clients in white collar criminal litigation, and in administrative proceedings before mining, energy, and consumer protection regulators.
Trisha Beverly C. Flores is an associate at SyCip Salazar Hernandez & Gatmaitan. Ms. Flores is a newly-inducted member of the Philippine Bar.
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