When it comes to international service of process, the Hague Convention is the most common method used to effectuate the service of legal papers intentionally. This is because, in major part, more and more countries have become signatories to the international treaty. Below is a brief explanation of how this process works and will help you understand what you should expect when serving an international defendant through the Hague Convention.
Hague Convention Explained
Not all countries who are signatures to the larger Hague Convention are also signatures to the section of the international treaty on service of process and establishment of jurisdiction. The Hague Convention on the Service Abroad of Judicial & Extrajudicial Documents (“Hague Service Convention”), governs the international service of process. In other words, you should not assume that simply because a country is a signatory to the overarching Hague Convention, you can proceed with service in the method described by the Hague Service Convention. The Hague Service Convention created a central authority through which service requests pass. This method makes international service of process more streamlined.
It generally takes three to six months for international service of process to be effectuated under the Hague Service Convention. There are several factors that contribute to this time frame. Specifically:
● First, a special “letter of request” should be completed along with the required documentation. This is sent over to the proper Central Authority in the foreign country where the service of process is to be completed;
● Second, upon receipt the Central Authority will review the documents to make sure they are accurate and complete. These are given to the local court that has jurisdiction over the foreign defendant;
● Third, the local court will then send the service out to the individual or entity to serve the legal document;
● Fourth, the local court will send the documentation to the Central Authority to confirm that service was effectuated properly;
Thereafter, the Central Authority will complete the necessary documentation that complies with the Hague Convention to verify the completion of service. Finally, the Central Authority then sends the completed documentation back to the United States and back to the individual party that requested the service.
We Can Help
Because of the complexity of international process of service, it is prudent to hire an experienced
company to handle these aspects of litigation. This is because if forms are completed incorrectly,
this can cause a significant delay in effectuating service and the overall litigation matter. Contact
Ancillary Legal today to service all your litigation needs, domestic or international, as we have
years of experience.
We can also assist with any deposition needs you may have at Elizabeth Gallo Court Reporting