This is penned on July 9, 2024, well in advance of the Dominican Republic’s implementation of the Hague Service Convention. It will be revised in total on October 1 when the Convention enters into force.

If the action can wait until then… wait, because for the moment, the Convention’s lack of force is at once a blessing and a curse. On one hand, we aren’t bound to a mandatory means of service (this applies to U.S. and Canadian actions alike). On the other, we don’t have a streamlined way of doing things either. As such, there are really three ways currently available, though none of them carries the heft of a Hague procedure. These methods pertain to U.S. federal (civil matters) only– state matters and those heard in Canadian courts require a bit more complex analysis. Still, you’ll get the gist:

  • Option 1: MAIL. Ordinarily, I contend that mail service is a bad idea, but in most non-Hague jurisdictions, I often recommend it. The DR is one of them. If you don’t anticipate having to go abroad to enforce, it’s completely viable, legally speaking. You still have a fact problem, but legal validity isn’t a challenge. Just make sure you’re doing it right.
  • Option 2: ELECTRONIC SERVICE. Completely valid from a due process standpoint, and available by court order under Rule 4(f)(3). Like mail, if you don’t anticipate having to go abroad to enforce, you’re on solid ground.
  • Option 3: Letter Rogatory. The oldest of old-fashioned methods of serving someone in a foreign jurisdiction. It’s pricy, it takes a while, and plaintiff’s counsel has zero control over the matter, but it’s the only way to overcome a validity challenge in an enforcement action abroad.

Stay tuned in the fall, as this will change.