International 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.