Service of Process Abroad

Once or twice a month, a client will call or email me expressing incredulous frustration that it takes Swiss or French or German authorities two or three months to return a proof of service following a Hague Service Convention request. Or even worse, that it takes Mexican or Chinese or Indian authorities a year or

Send your request in duplicate to the Central Authority.

Read that to yourself again, but this time, do it in the accent of General Alexei Anatoly Gogol.*

Send your request in duplicate to the Central Authority.

No, this is not a command from a Soviet spy chief. It’s just what we need to do when submitting a Request for service pursuant to Article 5 of the Hague Service Convention, instruction taken quite literally from Article 3. The term Central Authority merely refers to the agency (or agencies) designated by member countries to receive those requests. It shouldn’t conjure images of some nefarious Cold War-era black ops outfit behind the Iron Curtain, like the Stasi or KGB. In just about all countries, the designated Central Authority is a regular government agency, usually a court or counterpart to the U.S. Departments of State or Justice.Continue Reading What is a Central Authority?

For real. This is a screenshot of the registry for the biggest company in England. Handy to have when you need to serve.

Say what you will about law professors– the best ones always hammer on the most important mantras that soon-to-be lawyers must internalize even before the bar exam.

  • Don’t have (relations) with your client. [Sadly, yes, it’s still necessary to say this.]
  • Don’t steal your client’s money. [Still necessary to say this, too.]
  • Keep reading. [This is one that I’m constantly telling clients to remind the judge about!]

But the biggest one:

  • BUILD A RECORD. [This one is prescient in my particular niche of niches.]

Continue Reading Always take screenshots of address sources. Always, always, always.

John McArthur via Unsplash

Every once in a while, the Venn Diagram of Treaties overlaps a bit.  In my line of work, it’s usually the interplay of various Hague Conventions– noting that there is no such thing as “The” Hague Convention— which pertain mostly to private international law.  Lots of civil stuff in play with these, the most frequently used examples:

  • Hague Service Convention, 1965
  • Hague Evidence Convention, 1970
  • Hague Child Abduction Convention, 1980
  • Hague Adoption Convention, 1993
  • Hague Child Support Convention, 2007

There is also no such thing as “The” Montréal Convention– there are more than just one– but in common parlance in the litigation world, there’s little doubt which is in play.
Continue Reading The Montréal Convention and Hague Service

No.  No, no no… NO.

Stop believing key word results without thinking things through.  Just stop it.

If you Google “Process Server Germany” a whole bunch of hits come back that would lead you to believe that you can simply hire a guy in Frankfurt or Munich or Berlin to walk up to a defendant