When a court case requires international service of process, things can get complicated quickly. Dealing with consulates, diplomatic channels, and designated authorities who handle this type of service can be a challenge. On top of that, deadlines can be tight and it can take months to see process effectuated.
Luckily, understanding the basics of how this process works, knowing what rules and treaties apply, and working with an exceptional process server can simplify the process and ensure the service is legal.
Below we outline some of the key information regarding this type of service.
Federal Rules of Civil Procedure
The United State’s Federal Rules of Civil Procedure outline acceptable means, methods, and process for serving foreign individuals. The primary note within these rules is that service must be effectuated in a method that is reasonably calculated to give the defendant notice.
This means that service must…
- Be completed in a way permitted by the foreign country’s service of process laws
- Be compliant with the country’s direction given in response to your official request letter
- Not violate any of the country’s laws
Personal service and service by mail are two common methods used in international service of process. In most instances you will be required to submit a letter rogatory to the proper channel in order to ensure the laws of that country are being upheld in the process. This will differ depending on the country and whether the country is a party in The Hague Convention, but it can be a lengthy process that takes up to 6 months and, in some cases, longer.
The Hague Convention
The Hague Convention (fully titled The Hague Convention on the Service Abroad of Judicial and Extrajudicial Documents) is an international treaty adopted in 1965 allowing service of legal documents from one country to another using consulates and diplomatic channels. Like the Uniform Interstate Depositions and Discovery Act did for service of process in other states, the Hague Convention simplifies the process when legal documents must be served between two countries that are part of the treaty.
When Does the Hague Convention Apply?
The Hague Convention applies when…
- A document is to be transmitted abroad for service in a signatory country
- The address of the company or person to be served is known
- The document is a judicial or extrajudicial in nature
- The document relates to a civil or commercial matter
The Hague Convention Process
Each country that has signed the Hague Convention treaty must designate an authority to accept and handle incoming requests for service of process. This usually means a judicial officer can send a request for service to that authority. The authority will then arrange for service to be made through a local court, always in a matter permitted within their country. A certificate of service is then sent to the judicial officer as notice of completion.
This process requires the use of three standardized forms:
- A request for service,
- A summary of the proceedings, or
- A certificate of service.
This process usually takes two to four months, which is must faster than alternative means for countries that don’t recognize the Hague Convention, though other means, like service by mail, can be used if necessary.
Countries That Recognize the Hague Convention
- Antigua & Barbuda
- Bosnia & Herzegovina
- Czech Republic
- South Korea
- Republic of Macedonia
- Saint Vincent & the Grenadines
- San Marino
- Sri Lanka
- United Kingdom
Do You Have International Service of Process Needs?
If you are in need of international service of process services, contact Torri’s Legal Services to get started. We provide exceptional service, and our professionalism, knowledge, and experience with international service means we will be able to effectuate your service promptly and legally. Give us a call today at 800-990-SERV(7378) or email firstname.lastname@example.org to get started.