Serving International documents in the UK
How to ensure correct service of documents
We are based in London and are experienced in serving papers issued outside of the UK across the London area.
We can guide you as to the service requirements in the UK and also ensure that your documents are served in accordance with the service requirements for the issuing Country.
Once service is complete, we can arrange the appropriate proof of service, scan a copy to you and arrange for the hard copy to be posted or couried back to you.
Service of documents and the Hague Convention
The options available
Service of documents can be within or outside of the Hague Convention.
If you instruct a process server in London directly then your documents will be served outside of the Hague Convention. This is the quickest and most affordable way to serve documents but you have to balance this against the risk of the individual or entity being served applying to have service of the documents set aside as it was outside of the Hague Convention.
If you are looking to achieve service within the Hague Convention then you need to consider whether you wish to comply with Article 10, Article 5 or both. There is a higher bar to achieve for service within Article 5 but this is the gold standard for service.
For service within Article 10 of the Hague Convention the instruction to serve the documents has to come via a firm of UK Solicitors and we work with a number of Solicitor firms who can facilitate this.
For service within Article 5 of the Hague Convention the instruction to serve the documents has to come through the Foreign Process Section at the Royal Courts of Justice here in London.
Service under Article 5 is a more drawn out and costly process as you will have to go through a firm of Solicitors here in the UK who will deal with the application to the Royal Courts of Justice to serve the documents on your behalf under Article 5.
Proof of Service
When your documents have been served, we are happy to prepare a draft proof of service for you to review or for you to provide us with your template proof of service.
Generally, as a minimum requirement we are asked to provide an Affidavit sworn in front of a Commissioner for Oaths although some Courts outside the UK require a notarised Affidavit.
A notarised Affidavit is sworn in front of a Notary Public and once sworn they affix the internationally recognised ‘red seal’ to the Affidavit.
On occasion we are further asked to have the Affidavit Apostilled and again this is a service we can provide. It does involve sending the document to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) here in the UK who will apply the Apostille and return the document to us.
If the matter is particularly urgent they can provide a same day service.
Finally on occasion some Courts require the document then be presented at the UK Embassy for your Country for them to countersign it.
Obviously with quite a few options being available for the proof of service we always recommend checking with your local Court what is required.
Hopefully the above provides some useful information regarding the service we can provide in respect of process serving documents issued outside of the UK. If you should have any questions please feel free to contact us by phone or through the Contact Form below.
We are not legally qualified and cannot provide legal advice but can provide procedural advice as to how your documents should be served.