Service of Process Abroad

Photo by Zoë Reeve on Unsplash

In the lion’s share of cases, I recommend to clients that, in Hague jurisdictions where they’re available, a higher cost service option may actually end up saving their clients a chunk of change in the long run.  In just about all of those jurisdictions, we charge considerably more to have a defendant served privately than if we go through government channels; that’s just the way things work.  But the initial price tag can be deceiving. 
Continue Reading *Of course* it costs more, but go 10(b) if you can.

Edward Orde, via Wikimedia Commons.

<— Unless this thing used to fly over the jurisdiction where you’re serving, odds are pretty high that you’ll have to translate in order to satisfy the requirements of the destination jurisdiction under the Hague Service Convention.  In most places, there’s no getting around it, even if your defendant was born in Chicago and taught Shakespeare for thirty years before settling in the Kobe Prefecture or a quaint village just outside Palermo.  If you intend to serve him, foreign authorities will require a translation.
Continue Reading Beware the lowest translation bidder– especially those who price by the page.

Alejandro Barba, via Unsplash.

From time to time, I catch myself ranting in this space.  Not in this post, though.  I had so many great conversations with clients today that my voice is hoarse.  And there were so many recurring themes in those conversations that I suddenly feel the need to share my top tips for serving overseas defendants, and also to create sort of a digest of the best pieces of advice I can give a litigator who doesn’t want to screw things up.
Continue Reading Seven Tips for Service Abroad

Over doing the do-it-yourself philosophy. Lorax, via Wikimedia Commons.

Several years ago, I posted my thoughts on the impracticality of litigators handling overseas service on their own.  More recently, an interesting thought dawned on me.  Frankly, it’s not very novel, so I couldn’t really call it an epiphany, but it’s an awfully important analysis to any trial lawyer who works on contingency.
Continue Reading DIY service abroad? It’s costing more than you think.

Széchenyi Thermal Bath, Budapest. Victor Malyushev via Unsplash.

Sorry, folks.  Set aside thoughts of goulash, the Gabor Sisters, and nice chess games at a thermal bath… you’re litigating here, not sightseeing.  But with a Hungarian defendant, the procedure before you really isn’t overly challenging.  Service in Hungary is subject to the strictures of the Hague Service Convention.
Continue Reading How to Serve Process in Hungary

Mustafa Kemal Atatürk… he’s still very big over there. A bit like George Washington, Abe Lincoln, and FDR all rolled into one in the local zeitgeist.

[Ten years ago, I had the great pleasure of visiting the Republic of Turkey on a CLE adventure.   A dozen lawyers (some with their families!) had an amazing time hitting seven cities in ten days… and meeting some truly wonderful people.  In a nod to that country’s wishes, I’ll spell it Türkiye* from here on out.]

Service of process in Türkiye is subject to the strictures of the Hague Service Convention.
Continue Reading How to Serve Process in Turkey (Türkiye*)

Offloading medical supplies in the waning days of the 1989 revolution. U.S. Air Force photo.

For most of my childhood, Romania was one of those countries that adventurous travelers wanted to see… we just couldn’t go there because it was behind the Iron Curtain, a Soviet puppet state ruled by a ruthless dictator.  That changed dramatically in December, 1989,* when the world got to watch that dictator, Nicolae Ceaușescu, removed from power and his Communist regime toppled.  Three decades on, Romania is not only democratic, but a member of the European Union and NATO, literally the front line between the Ukrainian War and the west.  I could go on, but this is about civil procedure, so…
Continue Reading How to Serve Process in Romania

(TL;DR… publication is a horrible, terrible, woefully insufficient means of service, and the Supreme Court said so way back in 1950.  It should only be used as a last resort, and even then, only when there’s a reasonable chance that it’ll actually notify anybody that a case is afoot.)

A story flooded my news feed last Friday… US Judge Orders a Mexican Drug Cartel to Pay $1.5 Billion to Victims’ Families.  A default for a billion and a half bucks ($4.6B after it’s trebled) is almost real money in this day & age, so I got curious about the procedural posture of the case.  Because I live in civ-pro, several questions popped into my head, first among them being “who got sued?” (with a bit of incredulity).
Continue Reading Publication, 4(f)(3), and Mexican Cartels

Worst starting hand in Hold ‘Em.  You draw this… just fold it, man.

(See the author’s note below for clarification on which Hague Convention!)

A Hague Service Request, commonly known in the United States as a “USM-94” but also used in Canada, can be at once straightforward and daunting.  On the surface, it’s really just a fill-in-the-blank form.  But the devil is in the details, and when hell breaks loose in Georgia, the devil deals the cards.  It’s not as easy as it might seem, for a whole bunch of reasons.*
Continue Reading How to Fill Out a Hague Convention Request