As a UK territory, the Cayman Islands are a signatory 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.

US attorneys seeking service in the Cayman Islands would be wise to familiarize themselves with the mandatory character of the Convention as set forth in the US Supreme Court case Volkswagenwerk A.G. v. Schlunk, 486 US 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.

Translation Requirements

Since English is an official language of the Cayman Islands, documents to be served do not need to be translated. In all cases, however, documents must reasonably be understood by the defendant in order to fulfill Due Process (US) and procedural fairness (Canada) requirements. Accordingly, if the defendant speaks a language other than English, translation may still be required.

Service Through Alternative Channels

As an overseas territory, service in the Cayman Islands is subject to the same declarations and restrictions to the Hague Service Convention made by the UK, including several alternative methods of service.

Article 10(a):

The Cayman Islands do not object to service by postal channel.

Caveat: Mail service pursuant to the Hague Service Convention is fraught with issues, including the need to have it executed in accordance with the forum court’s local rules, and where service abroad is proper when the destination country has not affirmatively stated that it is not opposed to mail service.

Article 10(c):

Likewise, with regard to direct service via a private agent (process server) the Cayman Islands do not object. However, it is vital that the agent be instructed by a UK solicitor, or the attempt to serve is ineffective, as it violates the UK’s position on Article 10.

LLS Can Help

LLS can assist you with service and can help you understand and meet the translation requirements for service of process in the Cayman Islands. Please call 1-800-755-5775 for more information.