Service of Process in China

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International Service of Process in China under the Hague Service Convention

The People’s Republic of China (PRC) acceded to the Convention of 15 November 1965 on the Service Abroad of Judicial and Extrajudicial Documents in Civil or Commercial Matters, also called the Hague Service Convention, on May 6, 1991, and its provisions entered into force on January 1, 1992.

(For general background on processes and the methods of service available under the Hague Service Convention, please click here.)

US attorneys seeking service in China would be wise to familiarize themselves with the mandatory character of the Convention as set forth in Volkswagenwerk A.G. v. Schlunk, 486 U.S. 694 (1988).

Canadian attorneys should consult provincial precedent — Canadian courts take a more nuanced view of the Convention, but effectively reach the same conclusion: its limitations must be observed. Regardless of forum court requirements, the service rules of the receiving country must be observed, or enforcement of a judgment may become impossible.

Issues Unique to China

Legal Language Services is recognized by the Chinese Central Authority as the model for foreign requesting agencies; our submissions have become the standard by which other requests are evaluated, and we have extensive experience navigating the myriad requirements China applies to Hague Requests.

China’s Central Authority covers a population four times that of the United States, and the fastest growing economy in the world. Accordingly, the bureaucracy is huge, and not speedy. Still, properly drafted Requests are executed regularly.

Accurate address information is absolutely crucial to successful service in China. Litigants must ensure that (1) the defendant can be found at the location indicated, and (2) the address is formatted properly.

Translation Requirements for
Serving Process in China

The PRC requires a translation into Chinese of all documents to be formally served via the Central Authority.

Central Authority

The Central Authority for the PRC is:

The Ministry of Justice
Department of Judicial Assistance and Foreign Affairs
Division of Judicial Assistance
10, Chaoyangmen Nandajie
Chaoyang District
Beijing 100020
People’s Republic of China

Alternative channels under Article 10:

China objects to service via alternate channels — only Article 5 may be utilized.

Contact LLS

Call 800-755-5775 to speak with one of our staff attorneys about service of process in China.

We welcome feedback and suggestions regarding the content contained on this page. Send your comments to kshreefer@legallanguage.com.