International Archives - DGR Legal

International Process Service & Enforcing A Judgment: What You Need To Know

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Deciding what type of international process service method to use will be impacted by whether or not you’ll be enforcing a judgment. We have some tips on how to help you choose.

The considerable cost (anywhere from $700 to $2,000+) and time (one month to a year) associated with international service of process means it’s extremely important to choose the correct method the first time. While the United States may consider an individual served properly, the country in which the judgment will be enforced must also recognize service as valid. Otherwise you run the risk of not being able to collect on a judgment.

Choosing a Method

There are several options available for international process service including but not limited to: The Hague Service Convention Treaty, Letters Rogatory and service via agent. Each method has different timelines and costs associated with them.

In the event you would need to enforce a judgment, service via agent won’t be an option. The only choice would be to proceed through the official channels of the country. Service via agent is useful in instances where you wish to notify a party without any further judgment action abroad.

There’s considerable risk associated with choosing the wrong method of service. In a New Jersey district court case, Shenouda v. Mehanna,  a judgment for $578,600 was dismissed along with the case after it was determined the plaintiff’s method of service didn’t comply with The Hague Convention.

 In a past post, we shared a helpful info graphic for choosing which method of service would be best for your case. Take a look to see what method might be best for your case:

enforcing a judgment

Still not sure what method you should be using if you’re going to be enforcing a judgment? Contact us at any time. With thousands of serves completed in countries all around the world, we can help point you in the right direction.

 

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Supreme Court OKs International Service of Process By Mail Under Hague Service Convention

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International service of process by mailIn Water Splash Inc. v. Menon, the Supreme Court has unanimously determined international service of process by mail is acceptable and valid under the Hague Service Convention.

In the case, Tara Menon had been working for Water Splash and while still employed used their designs for a competitor. Water Splash sued and served Menon by mail at her home in Quebec, using First Class Mail, certified mail return receipt requested, e-mail and Federal Express. When the Texas state court granted a judgment in Water Splash’s favor due to the lack of response, Menon moved to set aside the judgment citing improper service under the Hague Service Convention. When the trial court denied the motion, she appealed and the case eventually wound up before the Supreme Court.

The issue at hand? The wording in Article 10 of the Hague Service Convention.

Article 10 states that if the destination country does not object, the Convention won’t interfere with the “(a) the freedom to send judicial documents, by postal channels, directly to persons abroad.” The court was to decide if the phrasing of “send judicial documents” applied to service of process.

Determination

The Supreme Court ultimately looked at the fact that the entire document pertains to the service of process and therefore Article 10(a) must be in reference to service of documents.

As such, service by mail would be allowed if the other country hasn’t objected and if service by mail is acceptable under other applicable law.

Looking Forward

This decision has helped clarify a long-standing grey area in international service of process. While service by mail can indeed be cheaper than service through the Central Authority of a country, there are limiting factors to the use of service by mail.

There are a significant number of countries who are signatories to the Hague Service Convention yet object to international service of process by mail. Additionally, if a plaintiff brings a lawsuit in a state court and the state court rules specifically object to service by mail then they would be unable to serve by mail under the Convention rules.

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What Attorneys Should Know About International Process Service

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international process service for attorneysInternational process service is something not every attorney deals with. But should you have to, here’s what you should know:

Not every country can be served the same way.

There are three primary ways to complete service internationally:

  • The Hague Convention on the Service Abroad of Judicial and Extrajudicial Documents
  • Letters Rogatory
  • Service via agent

You should expect a considerable timeline.

International service generally takes anywhere from a few months to a year. As most individuals and corporations would like to see legal matters resolved as quickly as possible, this isn’t a timeline many want to accept. But there is no way around it if you want to complete service in a manner that will hold up in a court of law.

Why does it take so long? It all comes down to the amount of time it takes for the documents to flow from our court system to that of another country, have service completed, then have the documents sent back through the proper channels.

You should also expect a higher cost than service within the US.

Fees for international services are considerably higher than traditional service within the US due to charges by the courts, the amount of effort included in completing service and translation requirements.

 Service type matters.

Looking to enforce a judgment? Be aware that service via agent will probably not stand up in a foreign court, especially when you are looking to enforce on one of their residents. Foreign courts will expect you to complete service in the specific manner prescribed by the country, whether it is it through the Hague Convention or Letters Rogatory.

Some countries will also have translation requirements depending on not only the native language of the country, but the language specific to the region of the country where service is being effectuated.

 Not all international process servers are created equal.

Failure to follow the proper procedures and translation requirements which vary from country to country can result in a court declaring service improper and dismissing it. After spending a substantial amount of time and money on service, no client wants to hear the service has been deemed improper and needs to be completed all over again.

Be sure to choose a process server who has considerable knowledge and expertise when it comes to international service.

 

Looking for an international process server? DGR has over 35 years of experience serving in every country around the world. Contact us today for more information.

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International Service of Process Convention

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international service of process conventionConventions pertaining to the Hague Convention and international service of process can be difficult for people in the United States to attend as they generally take place once a year internationally. This year though in honor of the 50th anniversary of the 1965 Hague Service Convention and the 45th anniversary of the 1970 Hague Evidence Convention there will be a special convention taking place right in Washington DC.

For those who want to take advantage of the close proximity of this event and the free attendance, you’ll get to hear from a great lineup about everything from the beginning to the future of the Hague Service Convention and international service of process.

Here are the event details:
Monday, November 2, 2015
Georgetown University
Washington, DC

The event will begin at 8:30, with a number of speakers including Secretary General of the Hague Conference on Private International Law Christophe Bernasconi and Hong Kong’s Secretary of Justice Hon. Rimski Yuen.

There will also be panel discussions on the creation of the convention, what’s working and what isn’t with central authorities and how civilians and commons lawyers deal with the conventions.

Expect to also hear on what is coming next and what challenges the conventions are facing.

For more information on the event you can go here.

To register, go here: https://www.law.georgetown.edu/academics/centers-institutes/business/rsvp-hague-conf.cfm.

There are also discounted hotel rates available for those who will be traveling into town for the convention.

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The 3 Biggest Problems In International Process Service

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international process serviceInternational process service can prove to be one of the biggest headaches in dealing with international cases. We’ve even had attorneys go so far as having us purchase plane tickets in order to be able to serve an individual in a terminal before they jet off to another country. Those extremes can still be less drastic than the amount of effort, time and money involved in international process service.

There are times, particularly in cases involving the collection of a judgment, when international process service is inevitable.

Here are the three biggest problems in international process service.

How to Serve

This is one of the easiest of the three issues in international process service to solve. Knowing whether a country is a signatory to the Hague Service Treaty  or Inter-American Service Convention and whether or not you need a judgment enforced will help you decide how to proceed with service. We’ve created this flowchart in case you need some help making the decision, or you can always call us and we’d be happy to help you.

Timing

International process service can take several months and sometimes up to a year depending on the type of service. When it comes to lawsuits and legal matters, most people want them resolved as quickly as possible so this timeline generally isn’t the ideal situation. Add into the situation delays when delayed with foreign governments and consulates, particularly ones who aren’t signatories to any conventions or treaties and you could see an even more extended timeline.

There are alternatives to obtain a shortened service time such as service via agent, but it all depends on whether or not you will be expecting a foreign country to enforce a ruling or judgment after service. If so, you should expect to serve according to the rules and laws of that specific country which could take time.

The reason for the length of the process is the amount of time it takes for the paperwork to work its way through the receiving country’s central authority as well as the receiving country when dealing with service through the Hague Convention. Service via Letters Rogatory will involve the US Justice Department and also involves dealing with the foreign courts and authorities who then forward the service on to the local courts with jurisdiction over the subject. This can take considerable time, in some cases up to a year.

Knowledge of Local/Country Laws and Rules

Even though a country may be a signatory to the Hague Service Convention, this doesn’t necessarily mean they comply with every portion. Countries can say they don’t agree to service by mail or alternate service and still be signatories, simply striking out the portions of the Service Convention.

On top of these partial acceptances of the Hague Service Convention, there are also specific local and country rules and laws which apply to service. Translation comes into play when dealing with different regions of a country, as the requirements for which language a document is to be translated into can vary depending on where in the country the service is being effectuated. Sending the documents in the wrong language can result in rejected service and having to resubmit to the service all over again.

 

 

Looking for a knowledgeable international process server? We’ve served all over the world. Feel free to contact us to see how we can help.

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Early Adopters of International Service of Process Through the Hague Convention

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international service of process through the Hague ConventionThe Hague Convention is one method of international service of process abroad. There are currently 63 signatories to the Hague Convention on Service Abroad of Judicial and Extrajudicial Documents.

The Hague Service Convention was adopted on November 15, 1965 in the Netherlands. Countries continue to adopt the Hague Service Convention, providing an easier method of service than pursuing Letters Rogatory. Yet there are some countries who have been a party international service of process through the Hague Service Convention since it was created. The earliest adopters of the Hague Service Convention (with the date ratified) include:

  • Barbados (1969)
  • Botswana (1969)
  • Denmark (1969)
  • Egypt (1969)
  • Finland (1969)
  • Norway (1969)
  • Sweden (1969)
  • United Kingdom (1969)
  • United States (1969)

While the Hague Service Convention was adopted in 1965, it took the majority of countries a number of years to fully adopt its provisions with the first countries entering it into force in 1969.  Interestingly enough the Netherlands (where the Convention was adopted), while signing the Convention in 1965, didn’t officially enter its provisions into force until 1975.

As more countries continue to ratify the Hague Service Convention, international service of process becomes an easier and less costly venture in these countries.

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3 Easy Steps to Pick an International Process Service Method

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Not sure which international process service method is right for your case? We put together this infographic that can help give you a general idea of what method may be best for your case.

If you’re still not sure after going through, feel free to get in touch – we’d be happy to let you know which method makes sense for your case.

choose international process service

Breaking down the flow chart:

Does the service need to be personal or is it a corporation headquartered in another country?

If you don’t need to serve someone personally, then there is a chance you effectuate service on another appropriate individual within the country. For example, if the subject is on vacation for two weeks abroad, you may be able to serve another member of the household which will be considered valid service.

Will you possibly need to enforce a judgment?

Whether or not you need to enforce a judgment matters when the times to actually collect. If you don’t need to collect a judgment, service via agent may work for your case. This type of service is much quicker and cheaper than Letters Rogatory or the Hague Convention.

However, if you need to enforce a judgment, the court may not consider service valid if you use service via agent. This can cause considerable issues within a case, particularly as both other methods require a considerably larger amount of time.

Is the country where you need service effectuated a signatory to the Hague Convention on the Service Abroad of Judicial and Extrajudicial Documents?

Whether or not the country is a signatory to the section of the Hague Convention pertaining to service will determine whether or not you can pursue service through that method. Not all countries who are signatories to the Hague Convention are also signatories to the service section. You must be careful when determining whether or not the country is a signatory. Otherwise you may waste valuable time preparing the documents or spending money to serve through the Hague only to find out you must instead use Letters Rogatory.

 

Still not sure which service method is right for your case? Give a call at 973-403-1700 or email us at service@dgrlegal.com and we’ll gladly let you know which method is correct.

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International Service of Process Under The Hague

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International Service of Process Under the Hague Convention

International service of processinternational service of process under the hague under the Hague Convention is one of the most common methods for effectuating service as more countries become signatories. But how does the process work and what should you expect when serving through the Hague Convention?

Not all countries who are signatories to the overarching Hague Convention are signatories to the part pertaining to service of process and establishing jurisdiction: The Hague Convention on the Service Abroad of Judicial and Extrajudicial Documents.  You should not assume that because you know the country is a signatory that you will be able to proceed with service of process through this method. It is important to either research yourself or to contact a professional who can provide you with information regarding the country you need to serve in.

Essentially the Hague Convention established a central authority for service requests to flow through, making it easier to pursue international service of process.

Timeline

As far as a general timeline goes for international service of process under the Hague, you should expect the service to take around three to six months. Why so long? Take a look at some of the basic steps the service goes through and you’ll understand:

  1. A special “letter of request” is completed along with the necessary documentation and is sent to the appropriate central authority in the country where service is being completed.
  2. The central authority there reviews the documents to ensure completion and accuracy. They are then given to the local court with jurisdiction over the defendant.
  3. The local court then sends the service out an individual to serve the document.
  4. The local court then sends documentation to the central authority that service was effectuated.

And now the process has to go in reverse…

  1. The central authority then completes paperwork in accordance with the Hague Convention to verify service was completed.
  2. The central authority forwards the documentation back to the United States and sends it back to the individual who originally requested service.

It is generally recommended to hire a company experienced in these types of matters, as there are nuances and associated costs for each country. Additionally, if you fill out the forms incorrectly or have missing information you were not aware you needed, you could see a delay of anywhere from two to four months in effectuating service. That doesn’t make for a happy client.

Translation

Prior to actually sending out the service to the appropriate court, the documents may need to be translated depending on where they are going. Certain countries have particular regions which require a different translation language than in another part of the country. Without the proper translation, the service may be rejected by the central authority of the country it is being sent to or service may be considered invalid down the road.

That’s just a brief overview of international service of process under the Hague Convention. Have questions or not sure if the country you need service is a signatory? Give us a call and we’d be happy to get you the information you need.

 

 

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Choosing An Experienced International Process Server

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When choosing an international process server, making sure they are experienced should be one of your top priorities. There are a number of ways to find an international process server, but there are also some questions you should ask to make sure the server can handle service properly. While Google can tell you which international process servers are in your area (chances are there aren’t many), it doesn’t always tell you how qualified they are.

Referrals are another common way people find out which international process server to use, but there is a chance the server your colleague used to effectuate service in India may not know how to properly handle service in Cambodia. Each country has specific rules and laws which must be followed in order to make sure the judgment is enforceable. Without knowing if the server has experience within the specific country you need service in, you run the risk of completing the case only to find out you can’t enforce the judgment. For you that means starting the case all over as well as losing out on all of the costs.

Here are some questions you should ask when looking for an international process server:

Are you familiar with the Hague Convention Treaty or Letters Rogatory process? Which one will be used to serve in this country?

Anyone who has served internationally is familiar with these types of ways to serve. If they have served in this country previously they will also know the best way to effectuate service there.

Will translation be required?

A good server will tell you right off the bat if something needs to be translated, but if not always ask. Some countries do not require translations while others with multiple national languages require them based on the region of the country you will be serving in.

What kind of turn-around time should I expect?

Serving through an agent is the best way service can be expected to take less than a month. If you find a server who tells you they can serve through Letters Rogatory in just a few days, you should look elsewhere! There is no way when serving through Letters Rogatory to bypass the necessary legal channels and procedures.

With over 34 years of experience, DGR has served hundreds and hundredsof cases around the world. From service in Russia to China to utilizing the Inter-American treaty, we’ve know how to handle service anywhere.

If you’re looking for an international process server, get in touch to see how we can help you.

International Process Server

 

 

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International Service of Process in Central and South America

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When dealing with international service of process, Central and South America offer several ways to effectuate service. While some countries in Central and South America are signatories to the Hague Service Convention, there are many which are not. When attempting to establish jurisdiction in these countries, there is an alternative for countries who are signatories to another multi-lateral treaty: the Inter-American Convention on Letters Rogatory and Additional Protocol.

With Venezuela, Argentina and Mexico being the only Central/South American countries who are signatories to the Hague Service Convention, the alternative to serve  through the Inter-American Service Convention is good news for US attorneys.13 countries are currently party to the Inter-American Convention, including Guatemala, Uruguay, Panama and Peru. Several countries, including Mexico, are parties to both the Hague Convention and the Inter-American Convention.

The Inter-American Convention has some similarities to the Hague Convention, using Letters Rogatory and calling for the translation of all documents being served. However, there are some issues one can encounter through the Inter-American Convention which don’t exist through the Hague Convention.  The lack of designated Central Authorities is one of these issues. Without the clear establishment of Central Authorities, knowing where to send paperwork in order to ensure service is effectuated can be difficult.

Although point of difficulty is that although the Inter-American Convention was developed to create a uniform code for service of process among its members, there are still some discrepancies. Article 2 of the Inter-American Convention states the scope is limited to civil and commercial matters. While Article 16 allows signatories to increase the scope to criminal and administrative matters, so far only Chile has stated it will do so.

As in most countries who are not signatories to the Hague Service Convention, service under the Inter-American Convention can be expected to take anywhere from six months to a year. According to an article by Proskauer however, it appears Peru generally completes service within three months.

Although the Inter-American Convention has some limitations, it is a better alternative to service of process in Central and South American than traditional Letters Rogatory.  Given that it is a treaty, the signatories have agreed to work together regarding service of process, particularly in regard to civil and commercial matters. When the Hague Service Convention is not an option, the Inter-American Treaty is the next best resort.

Service of Process in Central and South America

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