The Russian Federation 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 1 May 2001. The Convention’s provisions entered into force in Russia in December of same year.

However, service pursuant to the Convention is impossible for US litigants.

The Russian Central Authority categorically refuses to accommodate US requests for Hague service, claiming that the US has violated the terms of the Convention by charging foreign plaintiffs for service of process in the United States, thus rendering it ineffective between the two nations.

About Hague Service in Russia

Although the Russian Federation is a signatory to the Hague Service Convention, service of process from the United States to Russia does not occur pursuant to the Convention.

Requests for service in Canadian cases, however, are still accommodated by the Russian Central Authority, so attorneys should consult provincial precedent to determine requirements. Canadian courts take a more nuanced view of the Convention than their US counterparts, but effectively reach the same conclusion: its limitations must be observed where possible. LLS can prepare Hague service requests for Canadian counsel, for dispatch from Canada.

Regardless of forum court requirements, the service rules of the receiving country must be observed, or enforcement of a judgment may become impossible. For US litigants, recognition and enforcement of a US judgment is all but impossible in Russia, but a method reasonably calculated to notify the defendant of the claim is still necessary to fulfill Due Process requirements.

Translation Requirements

All documents to be served in Russia require a certified Russian translation.

US Service Via Alternative Methods

Despite the mandatory character of the Convention as set forth in Volkswagenwerk A.G. v. Schlunk, 486 U.S. 694 (1988), US counsel must rely on alternative methods to serve Russian defendants — with leave of the forum court. To that end, our staff attorneys regularly submit affidavits/declarations in support of motions to permit alternate methods of service. Those alternatives may include service upon a foreign subsidiary outside Russia, service by mail/FedEx, etc., as forum rules allow.

Contact LLS for Assistance

LLS can help you determine the proper method to effect service in Russia for your specific case. We can also assist you in meeting the translation requirements for service of process in Russia. Please call 1-800-755-5775 for more information.