Legal Support in Europe
Service of Process
Pretrial depositions
Taking of Evidence
Legal Actuations


April 2014


Litigation and Legal Support in Spain, France, Italy and Portugal

The Hague Convention

Attorney at Law/Abogado/Avocat
Email-Tl-Fax-http:// 011 33 4 93 16 27 38 .info

The Basics of International Service of Process for Europe

The purpose of this note is to present you arguments to employ us for service of Judicial or Extra Judicial documents, Commercial or Civil in the Jurisdictions of Europe. I intent hereto give enough legal and logical arguments International Service of Process under the Hague Convention of 1965.

International Personal Service of Process is one of the services of our International Litigation support sin Europe to North American litigants. The service is directed by Joseph A. de LA CUETARA, in practice, an International Private law Attorney, providing fellow Attorneys foreign assistance in those aspects of Cross cultural Judicial Assistance is difficult. This is an Attorney-2-Attorney service, on the different Hague Conventions: Registered and insured Law firm with qualified Attorneys at law, having physical offices in Spain and France and by the virtues of the treaty of Rome with legal within all of the European Union's Jurisdictions.

There are two main methods to choose from when serving North American documents on the European Union, both methods, are proposed by the Hague Convention of 1965 and have the same legal value, no hierarchy exist between them. One is faster than the other, time frame and cost, the legal effects of both are the same and conclude that the use of the “Central Authority” is a “myth” or an “anachronism” of the theories of the Sovereign State.

The basic legal methods proposed by the Hague Convention are the following;

One, a public service of the “Judicial Administration” of each Nation, called Service by the “Centralized Authority” . It is called this way because it uses the “Government Authority” to transmit or serve documents within their Jurisdiction. It is intergovernmental, in principle a free service but submitted to economical constrains with high possibilities of no completion because legal and economical constrains, it is extremely slow.

Two, by the use of a private service provider, alternative method, called “Alternative or decentralized”, Contemplated in the Hague Convention of 1965 deregulations, of Art. 10.

It covers, from serving by mail to service by agent. In deed, this article proposes the use of Postal Service, Local Bailiffs or Judicial Officers and an International private process server. Art. 10 b and c. is limited to some signatory countries, those which have not opposed to its direct application, it is therefore a method by default. As a Private method, it is paid, and therefore submitted to market prices and quality control as well as to difficulties.

International Service of Process, by either method, is ruled by two different legal systems which are linked by the treaty of the Hague. The main law, called « Lex Fori, » is the law where the documents are issue and where judgment takes place, “Lex Celebrationis”. These rules, govern service of process validity and recognition in the “lex loci” Jurisdiction, but not necessarily its effects and legality in the jurisdiction where documents where served, “Lex fori” and were the resulting judgment will be probably enforced. Recognition and enforcement depend on the respect for local laws of Civil procedure, in “Lex Loci and Lex fori forum” the essence is the respect of litigants rights and obligations. This is a necessary International Private Law principle.

Therefore, It is then, to each “lex” and their “foum” to determine and apply their requirements for an “acceptable service of process” but being jurisdictional powers limited in space, can not be imposed nor enforced abroad without taking in consideration the principles of International Private Law, thereto;

The act of notification is completed under a different territory governed by a legal system with different exigencies, those of a sovereign state and which must be taken in consideration when serving, even if they do not seem to be logical for the other legal system and this based on International treaties (The Hague Convention) and not necessarily for future enforcement but for respect and courtesy.

Based on these International Private Law Principles, we can affirm, that it does not matter in which country, in which court; A judge can not accept in a procedure a “foreign illegal procedural actuation” I mean an act that violates foreign laws of any kind. This violations must be is enough to “quash a service” or impeach future “Exequatur” of a Judgment, by signing the Treaty of the Hague the Courts of the signatory country are obliged and limited by it and local rules. Indeed a foreign court, will not enforce a judgment obtained under these circumstances of violating the laws that bound them. This is the “permeability” of a Jurisdiction. Because of this, courts must act in harmony with the different jurisdiction codes of civil procedure and the Hague Convention and not only with your own laws.

Nevertheless, two legal systems, Common law and Civil law, but in either system the Judging Court is bound by the treaty, but the Judges discretion exist in what is considered as “Acceptable International Service of Process” after considering the legal guarantees given.

The Centralized method, a priori, it seems to be the most appropriate and reliable way to serve, but it is not, this is a myth and common legal ignorance mistake, is not mandatory, nor exclusive either as explained by the Hague Convention itself. Therefore the “Central Authority” is not the only organ proposed as available to serve documents abroad there is also Article 10 of the Convention. Note that this idea of “Central Authority monopoly or exclusivity” has been and is today promoted by many translation companies and unscrupulous servers to sell “Translations and Apostilles” as a complement to International Service of Process. In the U.S.: The Central Authority is a private entity, a Government Contractor, that invoices for service, translations, apostilles…. even though the Hague treaty indicates that service of by the “Central Authority” must be a “free service” and “Process Servers Associations” service providers cut corners in their translation services to increase profit at the “Cost of Justice”. Indeed, it is a shame for the legal profession the translations that are send abroad, representative of our legal knowledge and culture: High legal language level summon are often “massacre” by High School foreign language knowledge translation.

Luckily for the legal profession, there are a series of alternatives or decentralized channels, as in Art. 10 a, b and c of the Hague Convention, where no translations are necessary, they are often more reliable and always faster. But notice that the method to employ must have no conflict with the laws of Civil Procedure and principles of both jurisdictions involved and both must be on signatory countries accepting Art. 10. As said before, NOT all Countries accept these “shortcuts” of Art. 10, and if accepted some legal logic must be considered. The principle of “permeability of Jurisdictions” or of “International legal harmony” of “Lex fori” and “Lex loci” implies that theit laws must be applied simultaneously when serving, even if the effects of service will not be bilateral meaning “To Judge and/or to Enforce”. Indeed, Article 10 a permits service by mail, but this method, accepted and legal can very easily violate “Litigants right and obligations”. The International law legal logic in this sense must give guarantees to the court of how this method was applied, to apply it properly the following measures must be taken, otherwise service is “a proof of an address”;

  1. Certify the contents of what is sent. A neutral and impartial person without any interest in the case must testify the documents sent and the number of pages of each group of documents.

  2. The postal service cost by weight must agree with the pages sent.

  3. The return Certified or Carrier receipt must specify the Identification or the receiver properly. In Europe by the “National Identity Card”

  4. Documents must be readable and not necessary translated.

Rewinding, note that all signatory countries of the Hague accept the “Centralized” method, reason why is more popular, but not all accept all the channels of the “decentralized method” even when is more reliable. In Europe most countries accept both methods entirely. Unfortunately most Attorneys do not know Article 10 exist. Another negative factor against this “Alternative method” is that the Hague Convention’s text have not been interpreted properly and the alternate method has ends often in motions to quash as a “Fraud to International law”. Abusing interpretation and not taking “Guarantee measures”, like the above, in consideration. Indeed, all laws of procedure involve in International Service of Process must follow a minimum of Legal Logic.

The liberty of method to employ is inspired by “International Civil Procedural Liberty” Convention, as expected by the Hague of 1954 giving flexibility to the Convention of 1965. The evolution of both conventions and their application and Interpretation by jurisprudence has given a positive empiric result from Globalization of process and its repercussions on litigation. Global or International litigation needs a fast way for Judicial information exchange and judgment that adapts to modern world trade. World trade, has opened the door to more efficient and fast ways of litigation but to a certain limit: Internet service must be accepted by a court, by analogy to Postal service if it complies with the above proposed measures in item I to IV. Indeed all of these methods result in a gain of time and money by cutting “Red Tape” and anachronistic concepts of sovereignty from WWII of the “Centralized” method.

Using the “Centralized” method, nonetheless, provides limits to this litigation liberty, that do not apply to methods in Article 10. These can transform into critics based on the need to eliminate reminiscent absurd requirements of “WWII Sovereignty concepts” such as the “exam of legality” prior to service, even if we can base this exam in the fact that “Civil” can be “Criminal” abroad and the Convention is only for Civil and Commercial matters. Another limit is “the choice given” to defendant to refuse service when using the “Central Authority”; Who wants voluntarily to receive service is from not receiving nothing happens? A default judgement? Let’s reinvent the Convention. These limits and disadvantages of the Central Authority’s method disappear when using the alternative channels of Art. 10, but using them properly!

Critics to the methods proposed by the Hague, are only exceeded by what is explicit by the Hague’s lacunae legis, such as no distinction between service to Individuals or Multinational Companies or the lack of presumptions of knowledge of law and language by foreign residents and multinational corporations, the list is long.

The Hague Convention's proposed centralized method has, as said, many “legal lacunae” or serious operating defects, the main one; being a “free” service that does not proposes a list of subcontractors of each Jurisdiction for direct “fast Independent Service of Process”, as is requested by many courts and litigants. The Central Authority method, is defective and often deceptive method because is submitted to Political constrains of foreign policies of each government.

Also it is slow when considering the time employed for translation, if properly done, and that the contents of summons will be exam for “Civil Criminal” legality before they can be served. Indeed, when sending your documents research foreign law because North American service providers, who are not legal experts, providers of the method of the “Central Authority” will not do an evaluation before submitting your documents risking a waist in time when your documents are not suitable to the Central Authority. These requirements makes it slow and risky and therefore not adapted to modern international litigation needs.

The centralized method it is also contradictory because under the veil of gratuity, where it exist, there are a series of unnecessary expenses other than translations and service cost, that result in a more expensive service than using Article 10, even more that using private Attorney to serve. Indeed, it is often necessary to pay in advance for the use of a qualified “Judicial officer or bailiff” who will serve by the “Centralized” method (These “Judicial officer or bailiff” are exactly the same as Article 10 b, which exceptionally allows direct contact). But, it represents buying checks or money orders in foreign currency and delay in service because this time an interpreter is needed. Therefore, without any doubt that documents are passing from hand to hand, making this methods slower and when direct needing an Interpreter plus Cross Cultural legal experience. The qualifications of complementary personnel not bound by professional secrecy can cause the lost in confidentiality of a case.

It is advisable, in my opinion, not to have documents translated unless you do it properly, do it with the right qualified professional a “Certified Translator or Interpreter” from the foreign Country or approved by their foreign Affaires department. Do not use any “lola” avoid the shame in legal writing. As a preventive measure, follow my advice, if you do a translation, because you insist in using the “Central Authority” please to avoid “possible” future problems and pay properly, because the quality of the translation avoids “Reject by the Central Authority” or “questioned” in court during enforcement.

Most European courts only accept as valid translations those done by individuals that give the necessary legal guarantees, either by Certification and/or Registration. It is, in general, considered that only those listed each year by the different Courts and who have approved an exam or listed by the Foreign Affairs Ministries do reliable translations that protect the interest of litigant. There are other “glitches” related to translations such as language nuances: Quebec French and French in France, Castilians Spanish and South Americans Spanish that when taken to the legal level can really hurt no to say look ridiculous.

More critics, an essential defect of using the Centralized method, is the requirement of an exact address of defendant. A big problem, because the central authority has no possibility of “locating a defendant” or “Skip tracing” him. The Central Authority does not “searches” for Individuals or Corporations, this is your job, reason why the Hague Convention obliges to serve to an exact address and not giving the right address will have as a result a waist in time. Most north American International Process Service providers use “Dunn and Bradstreet” this information is in general inaccurate in relation to foreign persons who declare whatever address they want knowingly that in Europe a Service to be valid must be completed to the “Official Mercantile Registry Address”.

Since you need to obtain the correct address, before sending the documents to the Central Authority, note that you cost will increase again in time and money, and you employ Private detective or Investigator, who are in general process servers in North America you will have problems. If a defendant changes address or the address is not correct , if he is a tourist or illegal alien, service is paralyzed and returned by the “Central Authority”, while court time is running this does not happens when you use Article 10.

The central authority will never pay for any expenses for you such as research on a mercantile registry, calling to find out the name of Corporate officers or not even a legal department, Article 10 is way out and the solution to all these “lumps”.

More defect of the Centralized method, the requirement for “Personal Private Service”, concept that is understood in different ways in different countries. The Bailiffs or Local Judicial Officers applies the local Code of Civil Procedure that controls them and will not obey to any special instructions received from a foreign Attorney, they will act according to their local laws, it does not matters if you use the “Central Method” or “Direct Contact” of Article 10 b.

In practice, what is understood in Common law as “Personal” has as transatlantic translation “Substitute” and the problem increases if we distinguish between service to corporations from service to individuals. When serving corporations, service must be at least addressed to those individuals who have the power to represent and engage the corporation, that is to say the “officers” publicly listed in the Mercantile registry. Therefore, service to the front desk, a subsidiary, a store front, a secretary, gardener or any employee of a corporation, must be considered “Substitute service” unless the necessary legal guarantees exist.

For individuals, most local laws allow judicial officers to leave documents at the specified address or affixing a note on the door as equivalent of service, leaving documents with a minor or simply anyone.

Remark therefore, that the use of “insistence and perseverance” in service is not possible by the “Centralized method”, its efficiency is not too good and it is only by the use of Article 10 c, an Attorney at law acting as private personal server that you can achieve the best results and obtain a private personal service as we understand it. Do this to have the maximum of legal security on service and what is the most relevant, you will be courteous to your adversary and sure of your case’s future.

These above reasons explain why most Common Law Attorneys have used as many “tricks” as possible or patches to remove these obstacles by avoiding the Centralized method, in a fraud to international law, I do not blame them. Sometimes they are obliged to use “an agent”, which often presents no qualifications nor guarantees: their local process server, their friendly translation company who will service for free if you pay for the additional translation and appostilles, or their neighborhood's Private Investigator who went to Europe once in a tour. Sincerely, dear fellow Attorneys, if violating the laws of the Country of service, better get an “Affidavit of Complaisance” from anyone. The reality is that often, on the long run, not only you would have wasted your time and money but you will be liable of fraud to international law, defamation, accomplice in Illegal practice of law, Revelation of Secrets... and to complete the apocalypse, if not quash, the judgment obtained will not pass “Exequatur”.

No doubt then, that ignoring and not applying European laws such as rights of image and privacy amongst other can happen and can have undesired consequences. Jurisprudence has considered that services completed by non professional is irregular and have engage the liability of the plaintiff, their Attorney and their “posing” server. “Liberties for Litigation” do not mean “Liberty of Profession”, Service of Process in Europe has constraints by all methods, but “Fraud to International Law” when using Article 10 c is the worse violation to “Litigants right and obligations”.

The “Judging Court” and “Plaintiff's Attorney” are obliged ex-lege to respect foreign laws of procedure, legal requirements of the jurisdiction where documents will be served. This respect must starts with the use of Qualified Professional, confidentiality, Secretcy…. These are the trhe minimum you owe, the basic right of your opponent, either if using the “Decadent Centralized” or “Article 10”.

Consider then, that service of process must protect the defendant who is abroad, by the foreign and local laws of not only Civil Procedure by as the whole legal system.

Hague's Alternative method of International Service of Process: Art. 10

The Alternative method is composed by 3 channels, Article 10 a, b and c, These services have the same legal value and effects as the Centralized method, if the country where service will be completed has presented no express opposition to the different channels, it applies by default. There is no hierarchy between “Centralized” and “Decentralized” methods. The exclusivity of the “Central Authority” is a myth and a complementary services selling tool by unscrupulous service providers.

Art. 10 a, Service by a Currier, UPS, Fedex, DHL, Postal, fax, internet (email, Facebook or messenger), as confirmed by different jurisprudence are not always reliable ways to serve, even if they are contemplated and accepted in some countries some considerations are required. The reason for this doubt is that they lack of “legal guarantees of delivery of contents and to the concerned person”. If not taking in consideration some measures (See above I to IV) you will be violating the Principle of Contradiction and Equality in a fair Judgment. This channel can bring the defendant into “defenseless”. North American Jurisprudence has considered them as “evidence of an address” more than evidence of a properly completed Legal Notification and Reception. The Hague Convention permits this channel in Article 10, but it requires, as said, some logical complements to be “Legally binding”, unfortunately the Convention does not indicates which complements these are in each country.

Please note that one can serve blank pages by mail or via fax since nobody will check the contents and thereto obtain a judgment by default. Because of this, I strongly recommend a “Certification of Contents and delivery” as a complement to the “Communications” channel, necessary either on the sending Jurisdictions or in the receiving Jurisdiction and testified by a qualified professional, but I insist done by a qualified professional that has “Public trust” and who offers the necessary legal guarantees, that one who can confirm by any other way reception of contents and who can issue an affidavit of service. The simple postal returned receipt is not enough and often does not arrive to the sender, better use a private carrier.

Understand then that the objective of service of process abroad is transmitting and receiving information or do a legal notification to a defendant, inform him of a “cause” in which he is part and which could have serious consequences in his patrimony, rights and obligations as they will have in your own jurisdiction, reason why service can not be completed with “unilateral legal guarantees” but requires good legal reception on the receivers end according to their geographical law.

The rights of international litigants must be respected and protected by the rules of the legal art in order to avoid arbitrary application of law and fraud to International law. To avoid this, the Hague Convention canalizes these notifications by taking in consideration internal laws but without providing a way to control or a procedure for appeal, mostly when using Article 10. These appeals are done at local level often applying only local laws. The Hague imposes the protection of defendant's rights and obligations as well as those of plaintiff but does not says exactly how this could be materialized and this is why it is so easy to quash a “Postal” service. What is in the table is not if the notification was done but if it was “properly done” and received. Service by mail, fax or email are very fragile channels that must be avoided.

The philosophy behind service affidavit and the rational explanation is in the concept of “Public trust” which is very different to each culture and their legal order. Opposite to Europe, No Governmental Identification Card exist in common law countries, there is no central land and/or property registry, Notaries are simple individuals, Process Server and/or Translators have minimal requirements. In old, and experienced Europe, the concept of “Trust” is different, everything is “suspicious” and therefore surrounded by the maximum guarantees of legal security, either by form or method. These concepts are enforced by each “State” at “Felony or Criminal level” to avoid any possible “misunderstanding”, “fraud”, ”deviation” or “abuse” and to protect others.

In Europe. service of process, either for internal purposes, European purposes or for International foreign courts, is considered as a manifestation of a “Jurisdictional Power” and when completed it is actually a “delegation of jurisdictional powers” to the server. In most of Europe, the monopoly of legal representation, actuation and consultation, has been given only to the different “Legal Corporations”. Composed of legal professionals. The legal professional associations, “Corporations”, are those of “Huissiers de Justice in France”, ”Procuradores in Spain”, “Ufficiali Judiciario”, ”Abogados”,”Avocats”,”Advogados”.... Unlike common law countries where almost anyone, almost mentally capable, can perform these “legal contents and jurisdictional acts” such as Server!. This is not that easy in Continental Europe. Please, know that only a qualified legal professionals can serve properly and legally since are the only professionals, who can offer “Ex-lege” the required and necessary legal guarantees. Service by a “Private Investigator or Detective” a “Translation Company” as known in common law countries does not exist in continental Europe and is illegal.

Logically explained: If any country's laws of Civil Procedure establishes for internal service of process a procedure that requires guarantees of public trust; given only by the use qualified professionals, how come, for International Service, you can expect to use anyone? In conclusion: When in Rome, do as the Romans!

In the relation to the organ of transmitting legal information we must distinguish between communications to the Central authority or to the Server from the notification organ itself, it can be the same as explained for Article 10 b. One is an organ that can be the Ministry of Justice, a Private Corporation, post office or even Face book and the other is who serves the documents. Communication with the organs can be by any means of communication but service to the defendant must follow certain rules. Indeed, the Hague Convention obliges service of process to have two main characteristics, explicit and implicit requirements: voluntary acceptance and knowingly. These can be compared to a “bilateral obligation in Civil Law” (See Article 5 (b) alinea of the Hague Convention). Therefore, if the defendant is not ”capable to understand” what he is receiving, if he is receiving as it happens with a “Returned receipt Certified Letter” where signature precedes reception, service is viced and the “Defendant” can void that service. If documents are not translated and the defendant is not “capable to understand” and can reject service by any means. The defendant is not sense to know foreign laws or language unless he is a national of that state, in which case it is presumed. When serving a foreigner the legal obligation of knowing the law is inverted and legal advise in the language of the person served is necessary to complete service properly.

If defendant is not served in Europe by a multilingual Attorney at law and does not received advise at the moment of Service or if the documents do not contain Legal Notice or Information, indicating timeframe and procedure to respond, the defendant is in “Procedural defenseless” and therefore service of process is not valid and useless. This is why employing a non Attorney is not recommended when using article 10 and is a “Fraud to International Law”.

Service to Corporations doing International Business, Multinational Corporations, those under the Hague of 1956 for “Company recognition” must be presumed that they speak the language of the Jurisdiction in which the carry business and know their laws, opposite to individuals. The Hague Convention does not distinguishes between services according to the type of defendant; Individual or Corporations. Therefore, the Hague has unnecessary requirement for service to multinational corporations, since from the beginning the plaintiff is oblige to translate the documents, reason why it must be considered in this case that the translation has as objective “The personnel of the Central Authority” and not the “Defendant” entering then in contradiction with the languages declared by the Central Authority of each country, in general English and French.

The Hague Convention indicates “voluntary acceptance” as a condition of service, this does not mean refusal at all times and systematically to get civil or commercial impunity. This happens only on the centralized method and partially on the alternate method channels. In this sense, service by Certified Mail, email, fax and other unilateral acts of service, which we can be consider as “ service by adherence of defendant” have the common denominator that the defendant is not accepting voluntarily, since he is receiving something with unknown contents, signs first. The contents will be discovered at later stage, as he is accepting first, therefore contradicting the Hague convention and confirming this way, that these channels of service are mostly a verification of an address but not of a due form service of process.

In conclusion, Certified Mail, email and fax are not proper ways of serving and a Court accepting these kind of services are denying rights to defendant . Exception is made if these methods are back up by a qualified professional's Affidavit of service who has confirmed and give defendant the same chances as the plaintiff's by advising and explaining him, even by telephone.

Service to a National. These services are required translations of documents without any reason because if you serve a national it is presumed that he speaks the language. To whom is the translation good for?. .

It is a shame that Justices and Attorneys in North America often, accept, for international service of process, affidavits issue by persons that do not offer any guarantees or have the essential “Public trust”, looking down and with disrespect to the rights of defendants and the laws of procedure of a foreign country. Indeed, employing anyone for international service of process, ”Posers” that take advantage of Attorney ignorance and in a disregard on justice and disrespect for International and local law. To serve properly you must respect foreign laws of procedure! You must understand the European concepts involved in a “Procedural Notification” and respect “International Justice”, by passing the problem to a “Seems like trustable” process server in North America you are not solving the problem.

Finally, art. 10 b, considers Judicial officers or bailiff as a direct contact organ for service as well as Attorneys at law in Article 10 c, confirmed by Articles 5 to 8. The form of Service by these professionals depend on the kind of person to served: Physical or Moral. In some jurisdictions, serving a corporation must be to a “Registered Officer” and their “Registered headquarters” as it appears on the mercantile registry of their country . In some cases to their legal department or legal representative and in this case the place of service has to be the registered one otherwise it will not be valid (Individuals or Corporations can be served at their Attorney's office or often at their place of work). If Individuals, they can served them at their home or place of work., but not in a public place.

Service can be completed by directly instructing an Attorney, Judicial officer of a Bailiff, employing them as organ and as server, in most cases they will issue an “Act” or document in the official language of the country and sometimes they require you to send them the documents translated, you will have to pay for a supplement for translations, and later on for the affidavit into English language and eventually the legalization of signature. Our Hybrid service takes care of everything and you do not need any translations, everything is done in English and we take care of language details.

Please remember, the principle in Europe is the “Protection of the rights and obligations of litigants” by due diligence, completed with integrity and by qualified and reliable professionals not an “affidavit” obtained in obscure circumstances at any judicial cause price or at justice expense.

Summarizing: The two main methods proposed both have the same legal value no “Hierarchy”exist amongst them, one is bad and the other is worse, they are equally poor, but combining them is possible and results into a more reliable international service: This is what the Hybrid service of Process has to offer.

Inventing International Service of Process: The Hybrid system

The “Hybrid system of international personal private service of process” combines, not only “methods”, but also the different channels or options of the Hague conventions, applied by steps and in less time than the “Central Authority” or any other, it offers solid legal guarantees and has no contraints. The result is a better and more complete service. Take the positive side of each method in order to obtain the highest legal protection and respect for Justice: It as a “System" more than a method.

The hybrid system for International Service of Process, heals the disadvantages of the Hague Conference's centralized method and the abuses in the use and application of the decentralized alternate method of Channel 10. It is a non complicated service of process having the characteristics of legality, reliability, accuracy and speed. On the other hand, the “system” applies the principles of the Hague Convention combined to those of each European jurisdiction, incoming and outgoing, loci and fori, and respecting their respective laws of procedure. The “legal order” is to obtain with legality and protection of litigants a legal notification. The main characteristic of our “Hybrid system” is that: Service is double, sometimes triple. These will dissuade any challenger to present a “quash” motion.

The system provides that the rights of the plaintiff and defendants are guarantee and protected by registered and insured multilingual Attorneys at Law in the country of service servicing nationals or foreign nationals. Documents are delivered personally twice in all confidentiality by legal professional submitted to professional secretcy, those who will give advise in the language of the defendant, making it comprehensive to him by giving complete legal notice and explaining how to proceed. All services are completed with mandatory neutrality, courtesy and professionalism, all under the respect for internal and international laws of Civil and Commercial procedure.

The defendant does not have an option to refuse service, or claim to be “unprotected”, the Attorney server guarantees his protection, there is no “a priori” exam of contents or delay, no translation's cost or apostilles, no promises of service but a “Jurisdictional act completed according to local law by a qualified legal professional”. Note the following advantages of our Hybrid service system;

a. The defendant does not have an option to refuse service, or claim to be “unprotected”

b. You have liberty to choose a process server within the legal profession market value

c. There is no “a priori” exam of contents or delay in exams

d. No translation's cost Nor apostilles, staples, stamps or clips!

e. No doubt on delivery of contents, service is back up in court!

e. Service with “Professional Integrity by registered professionals”

f. Customer service and Affidavit in English

g. Use of Bailiff when required

h. Service is guaranteed in delivery to the right place and person

i. Service is guaranteed or your moneis back!

.....and much more

Our price list, reflect the need of taking in consideration many legal and practical aspects of service in Europe, specially to avoid incidents and possible challenge, appellate “quash” proceeding”, sometimes we provide services that are cheaper than the “Centralized” method and giving more guarantees of/and service, simply by having an Attorney at law available for the defendant's consultation.

The price of the different classes of services we proposed vary according to the required time for completion and each service has different levels of protection. We always start by a “Skip Trace, Research or Locate” in order to obtain an exact address as per mandatory requirement of the Hague Convention and to avoid you unnecessary expenses of serving to the wrong address, then we will mail a preliminary service of process to verify the address of delivery and physical existence (Art. 10 a), a first service. Our Courtesy letter, asking for an appointment and placing ourselves as neutral Attorneys at Law available as required by law to avoid defenseless by counseling the defendant (Art. 10 c) is pure “International Courtesy” and will be a valid service. During the interview, in presence of a local Judicial Officer or Bailiff when required, we verify the identity of the receiver and his capacity to receive service, his knowledge of the language in which documents are written and explain in detail their rights and obligations, if necessary we will “bring” back their written answer to you. Courtesy and respect in International Litigation are the characters our service. Finally all of this procedure is condensed in a Custom made affidavit that is legalized by the diplomatic representation of your country: US or Canada.

Please visit our website for forms, and do not hesitate to contact us by telephone, from North America dial 011 34 687 704 940 or by email if you have any questions or are in need written legal advise.

Thanking you in advance for your time and consideration, I am,

Joseph A. de LA CUETARA

Attorney at Law

WARNING: Translations and Apostilles (Legalizations) are not necessary, mostly if you are serving one of your nationals, but if you use them, remember that the Translator must be “Certified” by the “Foreign Affairs department” or the “Local Appellate or Superior Court”. The use of a local Notary Public to certify the signature in a translation does not corrects the errors of bad translations. The use of a non registered “Attorneys at Law” or a “Poser Server” under most jurisdictions of the European Union for acts reserved to the legal profession causes “contamination of your case”, engaging your liability: Protecting the rights of litigants is your obligation. Do not use simply anyone willing to issue a statement of service affidavit respect foreign law, please.

Service of Process Warning


Important note on Quash, Liability and Non Exequatur

of Service of Process in Europe

International Service of Process in Europe by either method employed to serve, Centralized or Decentralized, has many consequences and therefore developed criminal and civil liability in relation to;

  1. The Hague Convention Itself

  2. Laws of Procedures “Lex fori and Lex Loci”

  3. Qualification of the Process Server

  4. Guarantees of the Process Server and form of service

  5. Protection of the rights of defendant

  6. Illegal Practice of Law

Indeed, if before employing our services, if you have already employed a Non Attorney at law, such as a Private detective or Investigator as an International Process Server you could be liable We do not accept cases for re service that failed when using these intruders, unless we received a formal letter with the information of the “Illegal Server” for us to inform European Authorities of the felony.

  1. Hague Convention: Some Courts in Europe have quash service of process because of lost of Confidentiality in the transmission of documents (Using a non Certified Translator, Non Attorney file handling...) and of Privacy Laws (Method to Skip-trace, Service in a Public Place or at Work...).

  2. Lex fori and lex loci: Even if your jurisdiction accepts as process server “Anyone” this is not the case in Europe and once you have your judgment it might be impossible to enforce in Europe or you will be ask for damages.

  3. Qualifications of the Process Server: Service of Process in Europe can only be completed by qualified legal professionals and depending on the jurisdiction they receive different names (UK and Ireland are an exception). They must be mandated either by the Court, the Central Authority or an Attorney at law.

  4. Guarantees of the Process Server and form of service: The server must be an active member of the right official association, for which he must have European Work permit, pay taxes and Social Security and must be compelled by an ethical code to confidentiality and faithfulness.

  5. Protection of the rights of defendant: Service must be in private and defendant must received legal advise on time frame to respond, legal procedure to follow and defenseless must be avoided.

  6. Illegal Practice of Law: The following persons when serving by the above, are consider as practicing law illegal in Europe, The different legal professions of Europe have the monopoly of giving “Legal Advise”

  • Private Investigators or Detectives

  • Translator or Interpreter

  • Private Individual Courier or delivery service

Service of Process Scams and Abuses

a. Documents can be serve by means of Article 10 of the Hague Convention and not only by the use of the

“Central Authority”. In this case, NO translations are necessary.

b. Documents do not need “Appostils” or be “Certified by a Local Notary Public” this is used to sell additional Translation services.

c. False servers and “Posers” are felons, service by these is null.

d. Before sending money to a “server” get references and credentials.

e. Translation Interpreter errors are common when using non certified translators interpreters.

Please note that we can not reinstate your service of Process if;

A. Lost of “confidentiality” or “Violation of Privacy”

B. Lost of protection of “Image or defamation” of defendant

C. A false affidavit of service or of attempted false services

D. An already “Informed defendant” in “guard and acting” to “avoid”

E. Lack of proper “Legal Notice” and “Legal Advise”

G. Fraud to International Laws: Art. 10 of the Hague Convention

H. Complaisance Affidavits of a “Process Server”

Litigation and Legal support in South West Europe

International Private Law office providing legal services in Europe: Process Servers and subpoena services, depositions and taking of evidence
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