REQUESTS FOR SERVICE
I. Inbound Service Requests
The OIJA serves as the Central Authority under the Hague Convention on the Service Abroad of Judicial and Extrajudicial Documents in Civil or Commercial Matters, T.I.A.S. No. 6638, 20 U.S.T. 2/ 361 (Hague Service Convention), and the Inter-American Convention on Letters Rogatory, S. Treaty Doc. No. 27, 98th Cong., 2d Sess. (1984), and the Additional Protocol to the Inter-American Convention on Letters Rogatory, S. Treaty Doc. No.98–27, 58 Fed. Reg. 31,132 (1988) (Inter-American Convention). The OIJA has elected to utilize a private contractor to execute service requests within the United States under either convention. Accordingly, requests for service of process within the United States should be sent directly to Process Forwarding International (PFI), also known as ABC Legal. Service requests under the Hague Service Convention should be accompanied by payment of the $95 USD fee that PFI charges to serve the papers. All service related inquiries should be directed to PFI.
II. Outbound Service Requests
Because the Hague Service Convention does not require outbound service requests to be sent by the Requesting State’s Central Authority, the OIJA plays no role with regard to service requests involving persons or parties located abroad. United States litigants seeking to serve process in a foreign country, other than as discussed below, bear the sole responsibility for making the necessary arrangements and, consequently, should consult with the Central Authority of the foreign country in which service is to be made. A brief discussion of certain options is found as OIJA Service Guidance. Additional useful information may be found on the Department of State website and the Hague Service Convention website. Litigants should bear in mind that many civil law countries regard service a judicial function, and the failure to adhere to the laws of a foreign country may render a United States judgment unenforceable in that country.
In contrast to the Hague Service Convention, the Inter-American Convention requires that all service requests come from the Requesting State’s Central Authority. For that reason, outbound service requests made pursuant to the Inter-American Convention must come from the OIJA, through its contractor PFI. PFI charges no fee to send a service request under the Inter-American Convention. United States litigants, however, must complete and submit to PFI all required forms and obtain the official seal of the United States domestic court. Instructions on requesting service under the Inter-American Convention can also be found under OIJA Service Guidance.
Hague Service, Reservations
Hague Service, Central Authorities
Hague Service Convention text
Inter-American Convention Text
Inter-American Convention Declarations
OIJA Service Guidance
DOS Service Flyer
Inter-American Convention on Letters Rogatory Additional Protocol