In recent years, the Chinese Central Authority (CCA) has been a model of inefficiency.
The turnaround time for service of process in China pursuant to the Hague Service Convention was approximately 2 years and, on occasion, took as long as 3-4 years. At the same time, the time to execute a Letter of Request to take evidence in China pursuant to the Hague Evidence Convention, took 6-12 months — if the CCA executed the request at all. (Many requests to take evidence in China are not executed and China provides little in the way of explanation as to why.)
Accordingly, to reduce this time, Legal Language Services has recommended filing for a default judgment under Article 15 of the HSC. The CCA, meanwhile, has not been unaware of the problems and, during 2019, it took steps to improve its service.
Throughout 2019 — and especially during the fourth quarter — LLS noted that the CCA’s level of service has been substantially improving in the following ways:
When service could not be effected because the address was bad, as part of the Hague Certificate of Non-Service, the CCA sometimes included a photograph of the empty and vacated premises. No other Central Authority provides such documentation.
Furthermore, after discovering the address listed for a defendant to be bad, the CCA — occasionally and on its own initiative — performed address research and then served the defendant at a new address. While some Central Authorities will sometimes do this, the CCA, of late, has been doing so more frequently.
The CCA has computerized its process. Documents can now be submitted via the CCA’s webpage. This new computerized request process holds the potential to result in reduced shipping fees and improved tracking.
Additionally, while we are still receiving notices of completion of service requested before 2018, many requests for service initiated in 2019 were completed in 2019. That is to say, while there is still a backlog of requests made prior to 2019, the CCA’s computerization and innovations appear to have requests for service made in 2019 moving through the system at a pace comparable to other Central Authorities.
While it is still too earlier to expect service in China to be completed in under a year, if this trend continues, there will likely be a much smaller need for Article 15 default judgements in the future.
Execution of Letters for Request
LLS assisted one client with a Letter for Request to take documents from a third-party witness in China. The CCA had this Letter of Request executed within 3 months of its arrival in China.
How LLS Can Help
LLS applauds the CCA’s efforts to improve the quality of its judicial assistance. Since 2019, we have seen numerous improvements in the time it takes to effect service and execute Letters for Request.
If you require assistance serving process in China, (or any other country), contact the professionals at LLS today. With more than 35 years of experience, we are the US’s premier source of international litigation support.
Call us today at 1-800-788-0450 or simply fill out our free quote form.
Meng Yu & Guodong Du: China Striving to Improve the Efficiency of Judicial Assistance. China Justice Observer. 30 June 2019. https://www.chinajusticeobserver.com/a/china-striving-to-improve-the-efficiency-of-judicial-assistance.