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.

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Serving Defendants in Ukrainian Territory Occupied by Russia

Both Russia and Ukraine are member states of the 1965 Convention on the Service Abroad of Judicial and Extrajudicial Documents in Civil or Commercial Matters (Hague Service Convention (HSC)). After Russia occupied the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and its capital city, Sevastopol, and exercised control over certain areas of Ukraine (the “Occupied Areas”), Ukraine filed…

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Serving Chinese Defendants—Another Problematic Decision

An order last week in Teetex, LLC v. Zeetex, LLC illustrates some common and problematic approaches to serving process on defendants in China. When service under the Hague Service Convention had not been accomplished within six months, the district court authorized service by email on the defendant’s general manager in China and the general manager’s…

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How California Broke the Hague Service Convention

The Hague Convention on the Service Abroad of Judicial and Extrajudicial Documents in Civil or Commercial Matters sets forth the rules for serving process on a defendant in another country that is party to the Convention. Under the terms of the Convention, service by mail is not permitted if the nation where the foreign defendant…

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