Process of service can be complicated, and international process of service can be even more so. Not surprisingly, issues with international service of process can cause significant headaches when the party initiating the lawsuit is dealing with two or more countries. Indeed, an attorney may ask the process server to purchase plane tickets so that an individual may be served in a terminal before he or she leaves to another country. While this can be an extreme example, there can be a serious amount of time, effort, and costs involved in the international process of service industry. Additionally, there are times when international service of process is unavoidable, such as in cases involving the collection of a judgment. Below are a few of the biggest issues that parties face when attempting to properly execute international service of process.
How to Serve
Perhaps one of the easiest issues to solve when it comes to international service of process is how to properly serve internationally. It is critical to know and understand whether a country where service needs to occur is a signatory to the Hague Service Convention (“Convention”) or to the Inter-American Service Convention (“IASC”). It is also important to know whether or not the party seeking a remedy needs a judgment to be enforced. Knowing these issues will help determine how to proceed with service of process.
Timing of Service
Depending on the type of international service of process, service can take from several months to up to a year. When someone is involved in a lawsuit or has pending legal matters, the parties want the issues resolved as quickly as possible. The general timeline of international service of process is not ideal for most in this situation. Further delays happen when foreign governments and consulates are involved. This is particularly true when the country in which service is being processed are not signatories to any treaties or conventions. This could result in an even longer timeline for international process of service.
Thankfully, there are alternatives, such as service via an agent, to seek out a shortened international service of process timeline. Going this route, however, depends upon whether or not the party is expecting a foreign sovereign to enforce a judgment or ruling after service has been completed. If the party initiating the international service expects to use service via agent, then he or she should expect to serve the international process according to the laws and rules of that specific country, which could take even more time.
Knowing Applicable Laws
While a sovereign may be a signatory to the Convention, this does not mean that the country complies with every portion of the international treaty. This is because a sovereign can refuse to agree to service by mail or alternate service of process and yet still be signatories to the Convention, by simply striking out the portions with which it does not agree.
We can Meet Your Process Service Needs
If you need process service help, contact Ancillary Legal today. Our experienced team has experience handling cases in the United States or overseas. Let us help support your litigation needs by contacting us today.