Service of US process upon foreign defendants must meet certain requirements. If requisite standards are not met, a foreign defendant may be able to successfully challenge the service.
When US law firms learn their foreign clients have been served with US process, they’ll often contact Legal Language Services to review the resulting proofs of service.
In many cases, their clients have not been properly served and LLS is able to prepare a persuasive affidavit in support of a Motion to Quash service.
Each service gives rise to unique considerations, and there may be multiple grounds for challenge. However, non-compliance with relevant treaties is a recurring problem.
Compliance with International Treaties
Service of US process upon foreign defendants must comply with any bilateral or multilateral treaties in effect.
The Hague Service Convention
The Hague Service Convention is the exclusive and mandatory means of service in member countries, according to the US Supreme Court’s holding in Volkswagenwerk AG v. Schlunk.
Some litigants are unaware of the requirement to serve US process pursuant to the provisions of the Hague Service Convention. Others mistakenly believe there are “informal” methods of service that allow them to circumvent the Treaty.
One of the attorneys at LLS can review your Hague Certificate/affidavit of service to confirm the requirements of the Hague Convention have been met, including whether:
- An authorized requesting authority initiated the Hague Request – pursuant to US declarations to Article 3 of the Hague Convention, US process servers are NOT authorized requesting authorities
- Documents were served in compliance with the Destination State’s declarations to the Treaty – for example, not all jurisdictions permit mail service.
- A competent judicial officer served the documents – for example, litigants frequently retain UK process servers directly to serve US process in contravention to the UK declarations to the Hague Convention
The Inter-American Convention
The Inter-American Convention on Letters Rogatory and Additional Protocol is another treaty regulating international service of process. The US and many South and Central American countries are members of this Treaty.
Unlike the Hague Service Convention, the Inter-American Convention has not been held to be the exclusive and mandatory method of service in member countries.
However, if litigants intend to enforce a judgment in a Destination State where the Inter-American Convention is in effect, service must be effected pursuant to that Treaty.
The circumstances of each service are unique. Contact LLS for expert advice from our staff attorneys on whether service complied with all relevant treaties.