International Service of Process: What Every Attorney Should Know

Vol. 43 No. 2


Nelson Tucker is CEO and founder of Process Service Network, LLC, in Simi Valley, California. His firm specializes in international service of process and investigations, and he is a qualified expert witness on process service issues.

Not only did law school minimize the importance of the laws related to service of process, but professors did not even mention “international” service. After all, such service was a rarity until recent years.

Now, with the world shrinking and the global economy expanding, litigation between parties in foreign countries is increasing at a significant annual rate. No doubt, within a short period of time, most attorneys will have been faced at least once with having to serve a foreign defendant with legal documents. What happens then? The research time to determine the laws of another country can be staggering. Fear not: there are solutions.

Most international disputes arise in the context of disputes over personal injuries, trademark and patent infringement, products liability, family law questions, collections, and real estate matters. To combat the challenge of handling international matters for clients, it is important to understand the basic issues related to international service of process. International service of process seems to be a maze until you discover that certain treaties and local foreign laws may apply to simplify the process. The most widely used treaty is the Hague Service Convention, which outlines the methods for process service in a specific country.

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