We ain’t building rockets here. But we are building a ship of sorts, and a leaky hull means the cruise ship might not get you to that cabana sheltered rum drink you’ve been craving. Serving process in the Cayman Islands is subject to the strictures of the Hague Service Convention, regardless of which U.S. or Canadian venue is hearing the matter– in exactly the same way as service in England and Wales. Still an overseas territory, the United Kingdom has extended the Convention’s coverage to the Caymans.
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.
Now for the nuts & bolts aspect of our show, in case you need to serve a resort or one of the thousands of corporations that have set up a figurative (ie: legal) home in the Caymans:
Article 5 Service
- Translate the documents. The UK’s declaration to Article 5(3) requires that documents be in English. Game over, right? Pack up and go home? Not so fast, counsel… make sure your individual defendant speaks English, because his U.S. Due Process rights follow him, in a sense. Anybody sued in a U.S. court must be served in a language they understand, so if they don’t speak English, translation is still necessary.
- 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 Central Authority.
- 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.
- Service via private agent (process server) is available to U.S. litigants under Article 10(c). This is absolutely critical—make sure to have the process server instructed by a solicitor, or the attempt to serve is ineffective, as it violates the UK’s position on Article 10.
The UK’s declarations and Central Authority information—as well as those of all the other countries in the treaty—can be found here.
Bonus practice tip… if you’re defense counsel, always question the validity of service effected on your overseas client. The plaintiff may not have done it correctly.
Following the death of Queen Elizabeth II, much speculation has been thrown around concerning whether certain members of the Commonwealth of Nations might jettison their membership, kick out the monarchy, and go it alone as a republic. That’s not in the cards for the Caymans– they’re not an independent state. They’re a British Overseas Territory.