ALERT: Supreme Court Decision on International Service of Process: Watersplash v. Menon

On May 22nd, 2017 the United States Supreme Court rendered a decision on Article 10 of the Convention on the Service Abroad of Judicial and Extrajudicial Documents in Civil and Commercial Matters (Hague Service Convention).  The case surrounds a judicial interpretation of treaty language to determine if, and under what circumstances, service of process abroad is permissible by mail. 

While the Court ruled that the Convention allows service abroad by mail under certain circumstances, reality dictates that, before lawyers proceed, they exercise caution.  In the Court’s decision, Justice Alito stated:  “… cases governed by the Hague Service Convention, service by mail is permissible if two conditions are met: first, the receiving state has not objected to service by mail; and second, service by mail is authorized under otherwise-applicable law.”    

Prior to proceeding with service abroad by mail, our International Department representatives can answer your questions and discuss your options before you mail legal documents to a foreign country.  Consider the following:

·       Jurisdictional law may not allow service by mail.

·       Many Hague countries object to Article 10(a) service of process by mail.

·       Even though a country may have not objected to service of process by mail,

the translation of documents may be required.

·       Providing sufficient proof of delivery or service of process by mail, particularly in numerous foreign countries, may be difficult.

·       Although some countries do not object to Article 10(a) service by mail, it may not be recognized as valid service in their country, thus leading to enforcement of judgment issues.

·       Article 10(a) service by mail may be allowed by a country, but only in some jurisdictions.

·       Alternatives to Article 10(a) service by mail are almost always safer.

You and your clients have a lot riding on international service of process.  Neither you nor your clients can afford to make an error that may eventually result in the dismissal of your case.   PROCEED WITH CAUTION, or give us a call.

*All materials have been prepared for general information purposes only to permit you to learn more about our company, our services and our experience. The information presented is not legal advice, is not to be acted on as such, may not be current and is subject to change without notice.