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To whom should the notice of pre-trial be served?


Section 3. Notice of pre-trial. — The notice of pre-trial shall be served on counsel, or on the party who has no counsel. The counsel served with such notice is charged with the duty of notifying the party represented by him (Rule 18, Rules of Court)


To whom should the notice of pre-trial be served?

The notice of pre-trial should be served on counsel. The counsel served with notice is charged with the duty of notifying the party he represents. It is only when a party has no counsel that the notice of pre-trial is required to be served personally on him. (Sec. 3, Rule 18, Rules of Court).


Is the sending of a notice of pre-trial mandatory?

●Yes. Sending a notice of pre-trial stating the date, time and place of pre-trial is mandatory. Its absence will render the pre-trial and subsequent proceedings void. This must be so as part of a party's right to due process.

If no notice of pre-trial is served, all the proceedings at the pre-trial et seq. are null and void. Hence, the absence of the requisite notice of pre-trial to the defendant's counsel (or to the defendant himself, in case he has no counsel) nullifies the order allowing the plaintiff to present his evidence ex parte. (Agulto vs. Tecson, G.R. No. 145276, November 29, 2005)

● Notice is so important that it would be grave abuse of discretion for the court for example, to allow the plaintiff to present his evidence ex parte for failure of the defendant to appear before the pre-trial who did not receive through his counsel a notice of pre-trial. Accordingly, there is no legal basis for a court to consider a party notified of the pre-trial and to consider that there is no longer a need to send notice of pretrial merely because it was his counsel who suggested the date of pre-trial.

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