International Service of Process in Ireland under the Hague Service Convention

The Republic of Ireland acceded to 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, signed on April 5, 1994. The treaty entered into force for Ireland on June 4 of the same year.

US attorneys seeking service in the United Kingdom would be wise to familiarize themselves with the mandatory character of the Convention as set forth in Volkswagenwerk A.G. v. Schlunk, 486 US 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.

Challenges Unique to Service of Process in Ireland

Service on the “Emerald Isle” is complicated by the divided governance of the country. The threshold issue in any service request is location — a valid address is required for all service abroad — and nowhere is this more vital than in Ireland. The island was partitioned at the beginning of the Irish Free State, shortly after the First World War, and it remains divided to this day.

The counties of Antrim, Armagh, Derry/Londonderry, Down, Fermanagh and Tyrone comprise Northern Ireland, and remain part of the United Kingdom. The remaining 26 counties of Ireland comprise the Republic.

While the UK is also a member of the Hague Service Convention, it handles service requests differently (and much more efficiently) than the Republic. Neither government may effect service in the territory of the other, so litigants must confirm whether their defendant is located in the Republic or the counties of Northern Ireland.

Unfortunately, the Irish Central Authority is currently not functioning, so litigants are left with only one option for personal service: service via our Irish solicitors.

Service via solicitor does not run afoul of Irish law, and the Republic does not object to the method. As such, the method of service should not prevent recognition of a US or Canadian judgment by an Irish court.

Fortunately, LLS’ solicitors in Ireland are adept at both (1) serving in compliance with Irish law and (2) documenting compliance with the Hague Service Convention.

Translation Requirements for Serving Process in Ireland

Ireland does not require translation of documents already in English. In all cases, however, documents must reasonably be understood by the defendant in order to fulfill Due Process (US) and procedural fairness (Canada) requirements.

Central Authority

The Central Authority for the Republic of Ireland is:

The Master of the High Court
Inns Quay
Dublin 7
Ireland

Service through Alternate Channels

The Republic of Ireland objects to alternative service under Article 10(b), with one exception: service via solicitor (see supra).

Ireland also does not object to service via the postal channel, but this method is not advisable. International registered mail can be unreliable, and US circuits are split as to the validity of mail service under the Convention.

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