Service of Process
Service of process both provides a defendant with notice of a lawsuit and asserts the court’s authority over the defendant. Proper service is necessary to obtain a judgment that will be recognized in other jurisdictions. In the United States, service can be accomplished through private parties. Many foreign states, however, regard service as a public act that can only be effectuated by government officials. That difficulty is addressed by the Hague Service Convention, to which the United States is a party and with which compliance is mandatory when a case falls within its scope.
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 4(f), which incorporates the Convention, explains how to serve defendants in federal cases when they are located outside the United States.
[Editors: This post is one in a series of Primers on topics in transnational litigation. Primers on each of the topics listed in the Topics menu are planned, and some already appear on the relevant topic pages.] The procedural and substantive rules that U.S. courts apply in transnational litigation come from many sources, including the…Continue Reading
The Hague Service Convention is supposed to provide a reliable means of serving process abroad. But what can the United States do about countries like Russia that refuse to execute U.S. requests for service? In an earlier post, I suggested that the Convention could be interpreted, or reinterpreted, to permit service by email in states…Continue Reading
In a recent decision, Topstone Communications, Inc. v. Chenyi Xu, a federal court in Texas (Judge Keith Ellison) held that a plaintiff headquartered in Texas must serve defendants based in China by using the Hague Service Convention. The opinion provides a good analysis of how both substituted service on a state official and service by email…Continue Reading