I say all the time that we ain’t building rockets here. But we are building a ship, and a leaky ship means that your people could not possibly reach North America from Europe. Do it the right way, and you’re the FIRST EUROPEANS TO REACH NORTH AMERICA. That’s right, I said it. Scandinavians got here first. Er, well, we didn’t get here first. But we beat Columbus to the punch by about five hundred years.
Aaaaaanyhew… I often joke about those “evil Swedes who kept my Norwegian ancestors under their thumb for centuries” but the truth is, Scandinavia is made up of several (three or four, depending on who you talk to) wonderful and kindred cultures, and I look to Swedes as family. We all answer to the Viking Horn and we all know intuitively that Valhalla awaits us in the afterlife. And deep down, we all reeeeally want to drive a Volvo.
Serving process in Sweden is subject to the strictures of the Hague Service Convention. This holds true regardless of which U.S. or Canadian venue is hearing the matter. Some background is in order, if you’re so inclined, before we cut to the chase.
- The roadmap to the overall process—the recipe to our Secret Sauce.
- The structure of the Convention itself is discussed in this four-part series.
- And an absolutely critical note: the Hague Service Convention does not pertain to subpoenas. Repeat after me—you can’t just SERVE a subpoena abroad. You have to file a Hague Evidence Request. Dramatically different from serving a summons or notice.
Here’s how it’s done in Sweden:
Article 5 Service
- Translate the documents. Sweden’s declaration to Article 5(3) requires documents to be submitted in Swedish– or in Norwegian or Danish (a big cost saver if you have defendants elsewhere in Scandinavia).
- Fill out a USM-94. Be very careful about ensuring that it is complete and concise, and make sure that it is signed by a court official or an attorney. If it is not, make sure that the person signing is commissioned by the court.
- Send to the appropriate Central Authority, in this case the Länsstyrelsen i Stockholms län. [There will be a quiz later.]
- Sit tight. It may take a while—likely three or four months from submission to return of proof.
Article 10 alternative methods
- Mail service is available, depending on where you are, but it’s a bad idea anyway. If you do select this route, pay particular attention to the venue court’s rules about how mail service is initiated—in federal cases, adhere strictly to FRCP 4(f)(2)(C)(ii).
- Sweden also allows direct access to “judicial officers or other competent persons” under Article 10(b), but they make no definitive statement in their declarations about who those people are. Moreover, no authority is Sweden is obliged to assist foreign litigants. Frankly, it doesn’t matter because Sweden’s Central Authority is pretty efficient.
Seriously—that’s all there is to it in Sweden. Sweden’s declarations and Central Authority information—as well as those of all the other countries in the treaty—can be found here.
And remember… if you’re defense counsel, always question the validity of service effected on your overseas client, because the plaintiff may not have done it correctly. That actually happened once, with a defendant in Norway, and her lawyers were smart enough to fight the issue. The Washington Court of Appeals erroneously thought going outside the Central Authority was okay, but their Supreme Court saw the matter differently.
For the record (pun intended), my favorite Swedish export is not the Volvo. It’s not Saab, it’s not IKEA (although– go there, go there again, and go there repeatedly), and I’ve never even been inside H&M. It’s the fabulous pop sensation that forms the soundtrack of my childhood. No kidding. –>