We aren’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 Barbados is subject to the strictures of the Hague Service Convention, regardless of which venue is hearing the matter. Barbados gained its independence from the United Kingdom in 1966, though it remained a member of the Commonwealth of Nations, and fully implemented the Service Convention just three years later. As of today, Barbados is a Republic, but still a member of the Commonwealth, and still home to a pop mega-star called Rihanna (and her umbrella).*
And still, nothing has really changed in the application of the Hague Service Convention– it’s simply about time I posted something about this tiny island nation and the way they handle service of U.S. and Canadian process. Some background is in order, if you’re so inclined…
- 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 confer coercive effect on subpoenas. Repeat after me—you can’t just SERVE a subpoena abroad. In Barbados, you’ll need a request pursuant to the Hague Evidence Convention. Dramatically different from serving a summons or notice.
Now for the nuts & bolts aspect of our show:
- Translation: Barbados makes no declarations to Article 5(3) of the Service Convention. As a former British Colony, English is the operating language, so 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 several months from submission to return of proof.
- Barbados does not object to service via Article 10 methods.
- Mail service is available, but it’s a bad idea anyway.
- Service via private agent (process server) is available under Article 10(b)/10(c).
Central Authority information for Barbados can be found here. Pretty straightforward stuff down there; not a lot of fanfare, if you’re careful and complete the right paperwork. Oh, and a 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.