The Kingdom of Sweden 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 August 2, 1969.
The Convention’s provisions entered into force in Sweden the following October 1st.
US attorneys seeking service in Sweden 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.
The Swedish Central Authority is diligent in carrying out Hague service requests with as little delay as possible.
Swedish law provides for numerous types of formal service via the Central Authority, but their effectiveness and availability to foreign litigants vary. Our advisors can guide you in selecting the most effective channel to pursue.
Swedes learn English from the very beginning of their school years, and continue studying the language even beyond university level. Like most of their Scandinavian neighbors, all but the very oldest and very youngest Swedes speak fluent English. Nonetheless, Sweden requires that documents served in English must be accompanied by a Swedish translation.
In all cases, however, documents must be reasonably 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 Swedish, translation into a third language may be necessary. US practitioners should explore this issue at length with our legal staff.
The Central Authority for Sweden is:
Ministry of Justice
Division for Criminal Cases and
International Judicial Co-operation / BIRS
SE-103 39 STOCKHOLM
Sweden provides numerous avenues for formal service via the Central Authority, but the most expeditious channel is not necessarily the most effective. Note also that certain types of substituted service and mailbox service may be routinely effected under foreign law, but have adverse Due Process implications in US jurisdictions.
Though often time-consuming, most process served via the Central Authority channel is deemed to have been proper in the foreign jurisdiction, and US courts will generally not look behind the foreign Central Authority’s proof of service. Northrup King v. Compania Productora Semillas, 51 F. 3d 1383, 1390 (8th Cir. 1995).
Our staff can assist you in discerning the best of Sweden’s options.
Sweden has declared that it has no objection to direct service by postal channel.
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 it.
In all cases, service via the postal channel should include a signed receipt mechanism (required under Fed. R. Civ. P. 4).
Sweden expresses no opposition to direct service by a judicial officer, official or other competent person. However, Swedish authorities are in no way obligated to assist litigants utilizing this channel. LLS does not recommend using this channel.
Likewise, Sweden does not object to direct service by “interested persons,” but Swedish 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 Sweden. Please call 1-800-755-5775 for more information.
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