In civil or commercial matters a judicial authority of a Contracting State may, in accordance with the provisions of the law of that State, apply, by means of a Letter of Request, to the competent authority of another Contracting State to request it, within its jurisdiction, to obtain evidence, or to perform some other judicial act.
Letters of Request shall be transmitted by the consul of the requesting State to the authority which shall be designated by the State of execution. That authority shall send to the consul the document establishing the execution of the Letter of Request or indicating the fact which prevented its execution.
Any difficulties which may arise in connection with the transmission shall be settled through diplomatic channels.
Any Contracting State may declare, by a communication addressed to the other Contracting States, that it intends that Letters of Request to be executed on its territory be transmitted through diplomatic channels.
The foregoing provisions shall not prevent two Contracting States agreeing to allow the direct transmission of Letters of Request between their respective authorities.
Unless there is agreement to the contrary, the Letter of Request must be written either in the language of the requested authority, or in the language agreed between the two States concerned, or else it must be accompanied by a translation, done in one of those languages and certified as correct by a diplomatic officer or consular agent of the requesting State of origin or by a sworn translator of the State of execution.
The judicial authority, to which the Letter of Request is addressed, shall be obliged to comply with it using the same measures of compulsion as for the execution of orders issued by the authorities of the State of execution or of requests made by parties in internal proceedings. These measures of compulsion shall not necessarily be employed where the appearance of the parties to the case is involved.
The requesting authority shall, if it so requests, be informed of the date and place of execution of the measure sought, so that the party concerned may be able to be present.
The execution of the Letter of Request may be refused only –
(1) if the authenticity of the document is not established;
(2) if, in the State of execution, the execution of the Letter does not fall within the functions of the judiciary;
(3) if the State, on the territory of which the execution is to be effected, considers that its sovereignty or its security would be prejudiced thereby.
If the authority to whom a Letter of Request has been transmitted is not competent to execute it, the Letter shall be automatically sent to the authority in the same State which is competent to execute it in accordance with the provisions of its own law.
In all cases where the Letter of Request is not executed by the requested authority, the latter shall immediately so inform the requesting authority, indicating, in the case of Article 11, the reasons why execution of the Letter was refused and, in the case of Article 12, the authority to which the Letter has been transmitted.
The judicial authority which executes a Letter of Request shall apply its own law as to the methods and procedures to be followed.
However, it will follow a request of the requesting authority that a special method or procedure be followed, provided that this is not contrary to the law of the State of execution.
The provisions of the foregoing Articles shall not exclude the right of each State to have Letters of Request executed directly by its diplomatic officers or consular agents, if that is allowed by conventions concluded between the States concerned or if the State on the territory of which the Letter is to be executed does not object.
The execution of Letters of Request shall not give rise to reimbursement of taxes or costs of any nature.
However, unless there is agreement to the contrary, the State of execution shall have the right to require the State of origin to reimburse the fees paid to witnesses or experts, and the costs occasioned by the employment of a judicial officer, rendered necessary because the witnesses did not appear voluntarily, or the costs resulting from any application of the second paragraph of Article 14.