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Special Interest the Form and its attachments in duplicate the State addressed.”20 the Letter Rogatory.28 directly to the foreign Central Authority Under Article 6, once service is at- CONCLUSION for service. Section 5(a) of the Conven- tempted, the Central Authority shall re- tion makes the receiving Central Author- turn a certifi cate to the applicant show- Th is article presents a bare bones ex- ity responsible for serving or providing ing whether or not the documents were planation of the process. Th e process must for service in accordance with the internal served, who by, when, who to, and how. If be followed exactly to insure the receiving law of the destination country. the documents were not served, the rea- state does not refuse service.29 Failure to serve properly can result in a foreign juris- Th e Central Authority method is not sons why will be listed. diction refusing to enforce a judgment or the only method allowed by the Conven- THE INTER-AMERICAN even recognize service. Th e State Depart- tion, though it is the most secure.18 Sec- CONVENTION ON ment and the Convention bodies provide tion 5(b) allows the applicant to request a LETTERS ROGATORY excellent information online; however, it method of service so long as it comports with local law. Article 5 also allows for Letters Rogatory or Letters of Re- may be appropriate to retain local coun- personal service that is voluntarily ac- quest21 are, “a formal request from a court sel to achieve service. Whatever the case, cepted, subject to 5(b). Article 8 allows in which an action is pending, to a foreign litigation involving international parties for service through diplomats or consular court to perform some judicial act.”22 Th ey adds a dimension of complexity to even agents of the originating country, though are more frequently used in discovery; basic procedural matters. Th e practitioner 22 C.F.R. 92.85 prohibits American For- however, this article only discusses service. needs to be aware of the additional body eign Service Offi cers from serving judicial It is important to note that parties must of law in place when reaching across the documents. Article 10 allows for service have ratifi ed the original treaty as well as lines of state sovereignty. Given the global by mail, if not specifi cally objected to by the First Protocol in order for this method reach of commerce, business, and even the destination country, as well as service of service to be available. 23 families these days, international issues can walk into any lawyer’s offi ce. G through local judicial offi cials initiated by In countries that are parties to the attorneys or private parties. Article 11 al- Inter-American Convention and the First lows the signatories to agree to any other Protocol,24 the procedure is fairly simi- method of service and Article 19 permits lar to that under the Hague Convention service by any method permitted by the when serving through a Central Author- internal laws of the country where service ity. Service through the Central Authority is being made. is mandated by Article 2. Two forms must A specifi c time frame for service be submitted, a Letter Rogatory and Es- is not imposed by the Convention. Th e sential Information for the Addressee. 25 Hague Conference on Private Interna- Th e Letter Rogatory lists the documents tional Law advises that most Central Au- served and must specify any special pro- thorities can accomplish service within cedure for service.26 Th e Letter Rogatory, Contributor Robert S. Elliott, Esq. two months, though in reality, it can be Th e Essential Information, and the docu- much longer.19Article 15 of the Conven- ments being served, must be provided in 1. Special thanks to Nellie Niakossary, aENDNOTES tion states that a fi nding of service may be triplicate and translated into the offi cial student at Birmingham Southern, who made and a default judgment awarded if language of the country to which they are volunteered her time and research because of her interest in pursuing a career in it is established that the documents have addressed.27 In addition, the Protocol re- international law. been properly served or delivered and the quires a copy of the complaint or plead- 2. Rule 4.4 ARCP, Committee Comments defendant did not appear or if a Central ing initiating the action, both in translated on 1977 Complete Revision. Authority does not respond within six and original forms, untranslated copies of 3. Rule 4.4 ARCP, Committee Comments to months of a request for service and “every all documents attached to the complaint 1, 2004.Amendment to Rule 4.4 Eff ective August reasonable eff ort has been made to obtain or pleading, and an untranslated copy of 4. id. it through the competent authorities of any court ruling ordering the issuance of 5. Rules 4.2; 4.4. ARCP, Committee 14 Birmingham Bar Association


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