Legal Language Services was recently contacted by a client who was attempting to serve process in Latvia.
Because the client had local counsel in Latvia, their thought at the time when they called us was that the documents, once translated, could be served by their own local counsel. If only it were that easy.
Service of Process to Latvia under the Hague Convention
Service to Latvia must be pursuant to the Hague Convention. Volkswagenwerk Aktiengesellschaft v. Schlunk – 486 U.S. 694, 108 S. Ct. 2104 (1988). Latvia only allows Hague service via its Central Authority or via mail.
Service via the Central Authority
If you serve via the Latvian Central Authority there is no guarantee that the defendant will be “personally” served. Additionally, Latvia charges a service fee in all instances where service is conducted via their Central Authority.
Service via Mail
Alternatively, service to Latvia can be via mail, but the documents must first be translated into Latvian.
Also, there are specific rules about how mail service must be effected.
Finally, under US rules, Hague mail service must conform with the forum court’s rules — Water Splash v Menton, 581 U.S. ___ (2017) — and some states (e.g. Minnesota) do not allow mail service.
The Takeaway & How LLS Can Help
The one thing that is clear about serving process in Latvia is that such service cannot be via an agent or attorney. Accordingly, the client hoping to use their local counsel to serve documents in Latvia was out of luck.
Fortunately, at LLS we have years of experience navigating the intricacies of foreign law. We can assist you not only with the translation of documents to be served, but also with service itself.
And YES we at Legal Language translate English into Latvian, too!
Contact LLS today to learn more about how we can help you serve process in Latvia as well as 90 other countries.
Call 1-800-755-5775 or simply fill out our online inquiry form.