What? Atticus Finch was also a whaling ship captain?

[Update: April 22, 2022:  Aaaaand then he takes the opposite view, getting it wrong.  See my new rant way down at the bottom.]

In the Western District of Texas– Waco, specifically– patent litigation has exploded as a result of the efforts of a single jurist: Hon. Alan D. Albright.  Judge Albright’s ever-expanding docket is controversial, even drawing bipartisan ire from the Senate Judiciary Committee leadership.  Say what you will about Albright, J.– he got this question right.  In a pair of recent rulings,* Judge Albright denied leave to serve electronically where the defendants would be served in Hague-signatory countries.  This merely recognizes what I hope the rest of the judiciary, at both the federal and state levels, gets its head around: opinions from One First Street hold sway.

In this instance, I mean Volkswagenwerk Aktiengesellschaft v. Schlunk, 486 U.S. 694, 699 and 706 (1988) holds sway.  But you’d be amazed at how many lawyers– and courts– get it wrong.

It’s not a difficult concept.  The two holdings in Schlunk utterly destroy the arguments espoused in S.D.N.Y.’s Gurung decision and its progeny:

  1. If the Convention applies, thou shalt follow it.  Period.  (At 699)
  2. The methods laid out in the Convention are exclusive, so don’t get cute.**  (At 706)

Strangely, though, frustrated litigants and their counsel seek over and over again to evade Justice O’Connor’s logic.  And courts are starting to recognize more frequently Ted Folkman’s White Whale.  Namely:  a whole line of very, very, very flawed case law– including a terrible opinion in the California Supreme.  Last year, N.D. Cal. got it right in a China service case.  Most recently, W.D. Wash. hit the nail on the head in Amazon.com, Inc. v. Robojap Techs. LLC (2021), another China case.  Says Ted about that one:

Amazon “argue[d] that because the Hague Convention says nothing express about email service and India only objected to service by postal channels, the Convention does not prohibit service by email.”

The court recognized the many recent cases—all at the district court level—that had permitted service by email in similar circumstances. But it recognized the clear error in Amazon’s argument, which “gets things backwards.” Since the lists of methods of service the Convention authorizes or permits is exclusive, any form of service “not expressly permitted by the Convention” is “impermissible and prohibited. To conclude otherwise would mean that the Hague Convention’s forms of service are not exclusive, contrary to the Supreme Court’s clear pronouncement on this subject.” Although many courts have given weight to states’ failure to object expressly to service by email, the judge recognized that “[b]ecause the Convention does not expressly permit email service, India had no reason or need to affirmatively reject it for it to be considered prohibited.”

That stems directly from the second Schlunk holding.  The Convention’s methods are exclusive.  Lots of lawyers and lots of judges get it backwards– the fact that electronic service isn’t prohibited doesn’t mean it’s permitted. ***


* ACQIS, LLC v. Lenovo Group Ltd. et al. and The Trustees of Purdue University v. STMicroelectonics International N.V. et al.  [Hat tip to the fellows at Winston Strawn for their post on the story.]  The ACQUIS ruling gets to an even deeper analysis regarding service on a state statutory official.  I’ve written before that you can’t just serve the Secretary of State and call it good.  Effective service depends on (1) where service is ultimately completed– at the secretary’s office or in the defendant’s hands overseas– and (2) whether that completion comports with due process.  Oh, I could go on and on.

** Yes, yes, I know (Aaron’s rant coming here).  She didn’t actually write don’t get cute… but that’s what lawyers do when they try to conjure up creative ways to get around the Convention.  There are but three ways to “get around” the Convention:  (1) serve in the United States rather than in the foreign country, (2) get the defendant to waive (good luck with that), or (3) dismiss the thing.  Hear me well, dear reader… if you’re serving in a Hague country, YOU DON’T “GET AROUND” THE CONVENTION.  So knock it off.

*** That is not to say electronic service is never permissible.  It’s just not permissible where the Hague Service Convention applies and the destination country objects to Article 10.  If the Convention doesn’t apply… game on.


April 22, 2022… now this, again from the good folks at Winston & Strawn.  Quoting W&S here…

In authorizing alternative service, Judge Albright was motivated, at least in part, by the delay Hague service has presented to Sinox. As of the date of the order, Sinox’s Hague service has been outstanding for over three months, with further delays likely due to the coronavirus and geopolitical issues. Relying on Document Operations LLC v. AOS Legal Techs., Inc., Judge Albright observed that alternative service can be warranted when time considerations render Hague service inappropriate. No. 4:20-CV-1532, 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 211307, at *8 (S.D. Tex. Nov. 12, 2020). Noting that several months of delay associated with Hague service would permit the accused infringing products to continue to enter the market and delay the resolution of Sinox’s patent rights, Judge Albright determined that alternative service is appropriate.

Urgh.

“… motivated, at least in part, by the delay Hague service has presented (…) Hague service has been outstanding for over three months… ”

Three months is nothing in Hague time.  Even the fastest of Central Authorities take two or three months.

“… observed that alternative service can be warranted when time considerations render Hague service inappropriate.”

NO.  Just… NO.  Time considerations can’t render Hague service inappropriate without conflicting violently with Schlunk.  As Ted Folkman so succinctly puts it, this is simple and inexorable logic.

Flip Wilson, 1975. White House photo, via Wikimedia Commons.

(TL;DR– it isn’t used after service abroad, so why pay to translate it?)

The standard sheaf of documents that we’re asked to have served on foreign defendants in foreign lands obviously includes a summons.  The lion’s share of cases we handle are in federal court, so this naturally means a Form AO440 or the occasional AO441Page two of those forms, long before e-filing, were often printed on the physical reverse of the summons itself.  The front said to the defendant, essentially, “you’ve been sued, and you have 21 days to show up and argue your case.”  The back said to the court, “hey, judge, I’m Joe Bob the Process Server, and I handed the summons & complaint to the defendant on X date at Y time.”

But when we have somebody served abroad, the page two proof is not the operative document…

  • If we have service effected pursuant to Article 5 of the Hague Service Convention, the form of proof is prescribed by Article 6.  It’s called a Hague Certificate, and (as I posted a few years ago) it’s all the proof you need.
  • If we instead proceed under Article 10(b), proof comes in a full-blown affidavit rather than the flip side of the summons.  Why? Because the flip side doesn’t fully describe fulfillment of the applicable law.**

Consequently, the second page of the summons form is really of no legal, um… consequence.  It also might tend to annoy foreign authorities who view it as an inappropriate directive from a U.S. court.  So I usually pull it from the stack of service docs and save my client a few bucks in translation.

This all falls under Rule 4(l)(2) and it’s pretty straightforward stuff…

Rule 4. Summons

(l) Proving Service.

(1) Affidavit Required. Unless service is waived, proof of service must be made to the court. Except for service by a United States marshal or deputy marshal, proof must be by the server’s affidavit.

(2) Service Outside the United States. Service not within any judicial district of the United States must be proved as follows:

(A) if made under Rule 4(f)(1), as provided in the applicable treaty or convention; or

(B) if made under Rule 4(f)(2) or (f)(3), by a receipt signed by the addressee, or by other evidence satisfying the court that the summons and complaint were delivered to the addressee.

Rule 4(l)(2)(A) covers Article 5 service.  It also ostensibly covers Article 10(b), but since that Article doesn’t prescribe a form of proof, bump to (B).  Straight-up rule construction there.  In any event, note the parenthetical after “PROOF OF SERVICE” at the top of page two:

(This section should not be filed with the court unless required by Fed. R. Civ. P. 4 (l))

Without it, you’re good to go.


* Hat tip to the late, great Flip Wilson.  Pun very much intended.

**  If it is used, defense counsel ought to howl in protest.

Quite possibly the coolest national flag in the western hemisphere.  After all, Maserati apparently adopted in for its logo

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…

Now for the nuts & bolts aspect of our show:

Article 5

  • 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.

Article 10

  • 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 and for the other countries in the treaty—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.


* Ahem, that’s The Right Excellent Robyn Rihanna Fenty… who was named a Barbadian National Hero in ceremonies marking the island’s transition to Republic status last night (11/29/2021).

 

An iconic Shell station in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. David Bjorgen via Wikimedia Commons.

Reports the New York Times this morning:

Shell proposes a shift to Britain, dropping ‘Royal Dutch’ from its name.

The Anglo-Dutch energy conglomerate will apparently become just Anglo in the coming months, which begs the question… how do we serve the company when it’s sued in a North American court?  Simple answer: effectively the same way we’ve been doing it previously, but perhaps in a different place.

In most U.S. and Canadian jurisdictions, current practice allows for Shell to be served in either London or The Hague, with a similar treaty regime covering both.  Article 10(b) of the 1965 HCCH (Hague) Service Convention allows plaintiffs to effect service by directly engaging either a Dutch gerechtsdeurwaarder (bailiff) or an English solicitor (who in turn instructs a private process server).  The only difference in practice is that the Dutch operate under a civil law system while the English are common law.  That truly has little bearing on how the company gets served under Article 10(b).

So what happens when the company drops “Royal Dutch” from its name and officially moves its mother ship to the foot of the Millennium Eye?  Only one thing… my gerechtsdeurwaarder doesn’t get to serve it anymore.  Plaintiffs still have a fairly straightforward road to service.  But it remains critical to name the company correctly… Royal Dutch Shell plc will likely just be Shell plc in the coming year.

I’m older now than George Blanda was in this picture.  This is in his third decade of pro football. (L.V. Raiders archive.)

A couple of years ago, in The Before Times, the leadership of the National Docketing Association asked me to speak at its annual convention in Denver.  For those unfamiliar, the NDA is a fantastic coalition of court clerks, attorneys and law firm staffers who, simply put, make sure the trains run on time in the world of litigation.*  I’ve had the good fortune to work with many NDA members over the years, and I love Denver anyway, so it was an easy yes answer.  Thinking I’d give my stock CLE presentation about the Hague Service Convention and the minefield that lies before lawyers and law firm staffers whose opposing parties happen to be overseas, it would be easy to put an hour-long presentation together.

“No, Aaron, not a CLE session.  We want you to do the keynote.”

Um… huh?  [I’m eloquent that way.]

“The keynote, stupid.  The main event.  The big enchilada.  You know– the one where everybody is in the room?”  [I paraphrase for effect.  The NDA’s e-board is nothing if not professional.]

Well, that’s a different matter entirely, I thought, knowing I couldn’t get out of it.  These were clients, after all.

So what in the heck am I going to talk about?

I simply considered my audience, and it dawned on me.  Without skilled staff– or lawyers who pay close attention to detail– a case never even starts.  Sort of like a football game doesn’t kick off until, well, the kickoff.  And that requires somebody with both a monster foot and pinpoint precision.

Unless we’re talking about the Texas State Armadillos, the most maligned and ridiculed member of any gridiron squad is the kicker.**  It’s occasionally some guy from the former Soviet Bloc who couldn’t make it in the Premiere League, or he’s not the right size to play any other position, but he doesn’t do much else besides kick (the great George Blanda excepted– he was a kicker and QB).  He doesn’t get tackled, and he might actually hold the ball once a year.

In your average law office (does that even exist?), the docketing clerks and the paralegals don’t get much sunlight because it’s all shining on the litigators.  These people are unsung because their name isn’t on the door and they never step in front of a jury.

But of the top scoring leaders in NFL history, you have to go past the top twenty to get to a non-kicker.  What does that tell you about their effectiveness, their value?

Extend that analogy a bit.  What does that tell you about the clerks and paralegals in your firm?

Same answer: without some very talented people at those positions, you put fewer points on the board– if the game ever starts at all.  A kicker focuses on just one critical portion of the spectrum that is a football game, just like a clerk or para focus on a critical set of issues that lawyers, let’s face it… don’t.

So a little message for law firm staff: what you do… matters.  It matters just as much as the research and drafting and eloquent argument that your attorneys bring to a case.

And two takeaways for attorneys here:  (1) don’t get a big head– your support staff can make you or break you.  (2) Remember that, if you don’t pay attention to the minutiae of procedure, you can forget about collecting a judgment and making your client whole.


* It’s actually more staffers– para’s, LA’s, clerks– than lawyers, and that’s a good thing.  Staffers worry about deadlines and proper filing formats (procedural), while lawyers so frequently get hung up on the nuances of argument (substantive) that they forget timelines and font sizes– to their detriment.  I happily live in both worlds– yes, I’m a lawyer, but my bailiwick is procedural.

** Good luck finding the 1987 SNL clip “We Are the Kickers.”  Introduced by Walter Payton, the sketch lampooned the hell out of these guys.  It was funny, it was offensive, and it’s been scrubbed from the internet.

 

Another hat tip to the great Jan Stenerud, who is both a Norseman and a Kansas City transplant.
Photo by Behnam Norouzi on Unsplash

At least once a week, a client will ask how much time they should put in their request for an extension under Rule 4(m) when serving an overseas defendant.  My answer, as I’ve said before: DON’T.

Don’t request an extension. Don’t ask the court for “just a bit more time, Your Honor.”  Don’t even acknowledge that there’s a deadline, because there isn’t one.

Don’t request anything.  There’s nothing to extend.  If you request an extension, then you tell the court you agree that there’s a deadline (which there is not) and then you’ll play hell for the next 18 months begging for extension after extension after extension.

So stop it.  

If somebody in the clerk’s office barks at you about the 90-day deadline in Rule 4(m), tell them to read the entire rule.  Likewise the judge.

Rule 4. Summons

(m) Time Limit for Service. If a defendant is not served within 90 days after the complaint is filed, the court—on motion or on its own after notice to the plaintiff—must dismiss the action without prejudice against that defendant or order that service be made within a specified time. But if the plaintiff shows good cause for the failure, the court must extend the time for service for an appropriate period. This subdivision (m) does not apply to service in a foreign country under Rule 4(f), 4(h)(2), or 4(j)(1), or to service of a notice under Rule 71.1(d)(3)(A).

It bears repeating.  The deadline does not apply to service in a foreign country.
Does.
Not.
Apply.
Now, does this mean you have unlimited time?  Heck no.  It just means you have to be reasonably diligent, and that’s not a hard standard to meet.  If you call opposing counsel for a waiver or seek help from somebody like me to get the ball rolling, it’s going to be a piece of cake to show that you aren’t dragging your feet or wasting the court’s time.  The moment your request packet arrives at the foreign Central Authority, you are deemed diligent.

 

For a bit of elaboration on the time issue, see the following:

 

If you’re in state court, I hope it’s Colorado or Maine (among others), where they’ve pretty well adopted the federal view of things.  Most state rules do provide an extension mechanism (in which case, ignore all that “DON’T” admonishment above), so you should be okay.  Sorry, Wisconsin & Michigan… y’all got problems.  Or, you could just go federal at the outset.

Above all, know that treaty adherence is mandatory when you’re serving in a Hague Service Convention country.  Says who?  Says her:

O’Connor, J. Volkswagenwerk Aktiengesellschaft v. Schlunk, 486 U.S. 694 (1988).

My inbox frequently pings with an important query:

“Hey, Aaron, can you introduce me to local counsel in (Country ABC) to help with an enforcement action?”

Sometimes, you bet I can.  Ireland, Singapore, Germany,  Italy… no problem at all.  I’ve got people.

Other times, not so much.  Not because the country in question doesn’t have lawyers– but because I haven’t needed to make a connection there for whatever reason.

But the fact that I don’t know somebody “over there” isn’t the end of it.  A little known resource provided by the U.S. Department of State has usually yielded good results for me: the Legal Assistance lists available from the U.S. Citizen Services offices in our embassies worldwide.  Here’s how to find somebody (it’s really quick):

  1. Google “U.S. Embassy (Country ABC)”
  2. The search should show a link to U.S. Citizen Services right within the initial organic results, so you won’t have to navigate much.  If it doesn’t show up immediately, no worries.  Click onto the main page for the embassy, and you should see a comparable link without a lot of fanfare.
  3. On the U.S. Citizen Services page, scroll down to Local Resources, and click on Legal Assistance.
  4. The Legal Assistance page will show a list of English-speaking attorneys in that country who have identified themselves to the embassy staff and indicated that they welcome American clients.
  5. The document may even break down the list by geography and specialty (both are critical to finding the right colleague).

This list is not an endorsement of those lawyers by the U.S. government– it’s merely a resource, but I’ve always had pretty good luck with it– and have even gained a couple of friends out of the deal.  Also worth noting– many Canadian embassies maintain similar lists of attorneys who welcome Canadian clients– frankly, if you can’t find somebody on one country’s site, try the other!

James Bond’s sidearm of choice, the Walther PPK. Tomascastelazo via Wikimedia Commons.

Mid-conversation with a client last week, I’d passed the point of exasperation.

Good grief, Dave, we’ve been through this before.  Why didn’t you call me BEFORE you filed this thing?!

I’ve known Dave* for a few years.  He’s a patent litigator, and I’ve handled a few Hague Service Requests for him in those few years, but they all went to countries where translation was not an issue.  Even at that, they’d usually only involved one or two actual patents.  This time… a seventy-page complaint, exhibiting five patents, each about twenty pages long with tiny print, and going to three different countries.  All of which are Hague Service Convention parties, and all of which require translation.

You can see where this is going.  Several years ago, I posted Keeping Translation Costs Down, Part Deux (for Patent Litigators), where I suggested that, instead of attaching patents to the Complaint as exhibits, why not simply incorporate them by reference?  Some of my clients have done precisely that, providing a link to the PTO’s website so the patents at issue could be readily accessed with a single click (everything is on PACER now anyway, amirite?), and keeping the pleadings to a short and plain statement of the claim.  Their bills… minimized as much as possible.

Oh, but not Dave.  Dave is an old-school lawyer who thinks he gets paid by the word.  Put everything in there but the kitchen sink.  This is war, and Dave’s coming loaded for bear.

His costs– just for translation– were slightly north of $70,000.  That wasn’t even the frustrating part– after all, I’m not the guy footing the bill.

The frustrating part was that Dave only called me after his senior partner hollered “LOCK AND LOAD!” and the case was filed & ready to serve.  Dave only called me after he misnamed two of his offshore defendants.  Dave only called me after he’d used his one free amendment-as-a-matter-of-course.  I could have saved him a whole lot of heartache, and I could have saved his client a massive pile of cash.

Y’all, “trigger time” is not when you should tap me on the shoulder.  That time is before you even chamber a round.


* No, his name is not really Dave.  Yes, I’ve known him for years.  Details have been changed here to protect the innocent, but this illustrates a conversation I have at least once a month, with new clients and longtime clients alike.  My frustration level varies directly with the amount of money they could have saved if they’d only called me before they filed.

Ministry of Justice, Warsaw. Adrian Grycuk, via Wikimedia Commons.

I say all the time that we aren’t building rockets here.  But we are building a ship, of sorts, and a leaky ship means that people could not possibly reach North America from Europe.  A whole bunch of immigrants from Poland actually did reach North America over the past centuries, and they enriched our culture in a host of different ways– even making Chicago the second-largest Polish city (at least, at one time).  With so many family ties to the old country, it’s no surprise that litigation pops up now and again, which means attention must be paid to doing things right.

Serving process in Poland is subject to the strictures of the Hague Service Convention.  This holds true regardless of which U.S. or Canadian venue is hearing the matter.  You’ve got three ways to get it done:

  1. 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),
  2. Cruise over to the Hague Envoy platform at USM94.com to automate the completion of your forms in perhaps twenty minutes or so, or
  3. 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.

Here’s how it’s done in Poland:

Article 5 Service

  • Translate the documents. Poland’s declaration to Article 5(3) does not specifically require documents to be translated, but the defendant is afforded a chance to reject untranslated process.  That rejection puts you back at square one, and that’s not a fight worth having, if you ask me… just translate it.
  • 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 appropriate Central Authority, in this case Ministry of Justice in Warsaw.
  • Sit tight. It may take a while—likely several months from submission to return of proof.

Article 10 alternative methods

  • They simply aren’t available, because Poland objects to them all. Article 5 is the only way it can be done.

Seriously—that’s all there is to it.  The method is straightforward and simple.  Poland’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.  That actually happened once, with a defendant in Norway, and her lawyers were smart enough to fight the issue.  The Washington Court of Appeals erroneously thought going outside the Central Authority was okay, but their Supreme Court saw the matter differently.

The Mortuary Temple of Hatshepsut, Thebes. Vyacheslav Argenberg via Wikimedia Commons.

Nope.  We’re not building rockets here.  But we are building a ship of sorts, and a leaky vessel means the cargo may not make it to its destination.  Likewise, service of process in foreign countries must be undertaken in a very particular way, lest a judgment be thrown out later (or never won at all).  Serving process in Egypt is subject to the strictures of the Hague Service Convention, regardless of which U.S. or Canadian venue is hearing the matter.

You’ve got three ways to go:

  1. 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),
  2. Cruise over to the Hague Envoy platform at USM94.com to automate the completion of your forms in perhaps twenty minutes or so, or
  3. 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 confer coercive effect on subpoenas.  Repeat after me—you can’t just SERVE a subpoena abroad.  At least not if you want it to work. You have to file a Hague Evidence Request in most instances– or a Letter Rogatory in Egypt, which isn’t part of the Evidence Convention.  Dramatically different from serving a summons or notice.

Here’s how service is effected in Egypt:

Article 5 Service

  • Translate the documents into Arabic.  Egypt’s declaration to Article 5(3) doesn’t specify whether it’s required, but do it anyway.  Although the defendant may speak flawless English, omitting translated documents could prompt the Central Authority– or more likely, some local official– to reject your request.
  • 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 or more, from submission to return of proof.

Article 10 alternative methods

  • They simply aren’t available, because Egypt objects to them all. Article 5 is the only available channel.

That’s all there is to it.  There’s really only one way to get the job done, and going around official channels to effect service is a surefire path to disaster..

Egypt’s declarations and Central Authority information—as well as those of all the other countries in the treaty—can be found here.


An interesting side note for family law practitioners:  several years ago, Egypt rejected requests to serve divorce petitions because they felt that marital actions fell outside the “Civil and Commercial” category.  As such, their view was that the Hague Service Convention was inapplicable.

While that may truly be the case under Egyptian law, it’s not here in the U.S. and Canada, so somehow, somebody prevailed upon the Egyptians to execute the requests anyway.  I’ve actually had some succeed myself… but that’s not to say it won’t happen again down the road.  Practice tip, if that does happen:  use the foreign assertion of inapplicability to avoid Schlunk problems, and seek leave (or order) to serve by alternative means.