The Republic of Finland ratified 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 September 11, 1969. The Convention’s provisions entered into force in Finland the following November 10th.
US attorneys seeking service in Finland would be wise to familiarize themselves with the mandatory character of the Convention as set forth in Volkswagenwerk A.G. v. Schlunk, 486 U.S. 694 (1988).
Canadian attorneys should consult provincial precedent — Canadian courts take a more nuanced view of the Convention, but effectively reach the same conclusion: its limitations must be observed. Regardless of forum court requirements, the service rules of the receiving country must be observed, or enforcement of a judgment may become impossible.
As is the case throughout Scandinavia, the Finnish Central Authority is methodical and efficient in carrying out Hague service requests, usually effecting service within four to eight weeks from the date the documents arrive at the Central Authority.
For service to be compelled upon the defendants, documents must be translated into Finnish or Swedish, both official languages of Finland. Without an accompanying translation, defendants will be advised of their right to refuse service.
Note that in all cases, documents must reasonably be understood by the defendant in order to fulfill US Due Process requirements. In particular, for documents served upon a recipient who speaks neither English nor Finnish/Swedish, translation into a third language may even be necessary. US practitioners should discuss this issue with our legal staff.
The Central Authority for Finland is:
Ministry of Justice
P.O. Box 25
Finnish law provides for several types of service, but their availability and effectiveness vary. Our staff can assist you in discerning the best of these options.
Finland has not declared that it objects to direct service by postal channel. However, this does not imply that such method is valid service. Mail service pursuant to the Hague Service Convention is fraught with problems — even when the destination state has not objected to such service.
American jurisdictions are split regarding propriety of mail service under the Convention. Plaintiffs are advised to proceed with caution when employing this channel — and LLS recommends against using this channel.
Finland expresses no opposition to direct service by a judicial officer, official or other competent person. However, such terms are defined under the laws of the destination state, not under those of the requesting state.
Finnish authorities are not obliged to assist litigants who choose this channel.
Likewise, Finland does not object to direct service by “interested persons,” but its authorities are under no obligation to assist litigants utilizing this channel.
LLS can assist you with service and can help you understand and meet the requirements for service of process in Finland. Please call 1-800-755-5775 for more information.
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