THE Supreme Court has approved changes to both the 1997 Revised Rules of Civil Procedure and Revised Rules on Evidence.

The high court approved the amendments in separate resolutions and incorporated “technological advances and developments in law, jurisprudence and international conventions.”

Both changes will take effect on May 1.

The court took into account the reform plans of Chief Justice Lucas P. Bersamin in approving changes to the Civil Procedure rules, it said.

The new rules will pave the way for a just, speedy and inexpensive disposition of cases that will decongest the courts, the court said.

Under the new rules, the clerk of court must summon the defendants in a case within five days unless the complaint is “on its face dismissible.”

In case the sheriff, his deputy, or proper court officer fails to serve the summons, a plaintiff may now serve the summons together with the sheriff.

Under the amended rules, a summons remains valid until duly served unless recalled by the court.

Meanwhile, amendments to the Rules on Evidence were started in 2008 and completed in 2010, but were put on hold] due to technological advances. The changes were approved only in a resolution dated Oct. 8.

The new rules now allow recordings, still pictures, drawings, stored images, X-ray films, motion picture and videos as part of documentary evidence.

The Constitution empowers the Supreme Court to promulgate rules on pleadings, practice and procedure in all courts and admission to the practice of law, among other things. — Vann Marlo M. Villegas