Hong Kong is a Special Administrative Region (SAR) of the People’s Republic of China (PRC). China extended the Convention of 15 November 1965 on the Service Abroad of Judicial and Extrajudicial Documents in Civil or Commercial Matters to Hong Kong by note dated June 10, 1997 from the Ambassador of the People’s Republic of China to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for the Kingdom of the Netherlands.
The People’s Republic of China (PRC) had previously acceded to the Convention, also called the Hague Service Convention, six years earlier. Its provisions entered into force in China on January 1, 1992.
US attorneys seeking service in all parts of the People’s Republic of China, including Hong Kong, 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.