I say all the time that we aren’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…
Serving process in Norway, if you can get past the stunning topography, 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.
You’ve got three ways to go:
- Tap us on the shoulder for bespoke attention—and probably some amusing commentary to boot (see the upper right if you’re on a desktop, or way down below if you’re on a phone/tablet),
- Cruise over to the Hague Envoy platform at USM94.com to automate the completion of your forms in perhaps twenty minutes or so, or
- If you’re feeling froggy & would like to handle the whole thing yourself, keep reading. This lays out the framework you’ll need.
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 Norway:
Article 5 Service
- Translate the documents. Norway’s declaration to Article 5(3) requires documents to be submitted in Norwegian, Swedish, or Danish (a big cost saver if you have defendants elsewhere in Scandinavia) unless it can be established in advance that the defendant speaks English. Now, I have yet to meet a Norwegian who doesn’t speak English as well as I do, but it’s usually more hassle to establish the fact than to just translate and be done with it.
- 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 Royal Ministry of Justice and Public Security.
- Sit tight. It may take a while—likely five or six months from submission to return of proof.
Article 10 alternative methods
- They simply aren’t available, because Norway objects to them all. Article 5 is the only way it can be done.
Seriously—that’s all there is to it in Norway. The method is straightforward and simple. Its declarations and Central Authority information 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.
Author’s note: my ancestral homeland we’re talking about here. If family lore and frequent mispronunciation are any guide, our name was originally Løkken, a Viking-sounding name if ever there was one. I would call it an Ellis Island name, but Ellis didn’t open until well after my great-great grandparents arrived in the 1880s. It wasn’t until they reached the frozen tundra of the Upper Midwest that they felt truly at home– notwithstanding the fact that they were over a thousand miles from an ocean.
Then again, the village of Løkken is inland, about forty miles southwest of Trondheim. In the 1880s, that was quite a journey over hill & dale.
My Norwegian ancestry is the reason I named the firm Viking Advocates. Obviously.