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Service by letters rogatory is effected in a foreign country ABSENT a treaty, convention or other agreement for service of judicial documents and is also used for acquiring compelled evidence.
A letters rogatory for execution in a foreign country is a request for international judicial assistance, signed by the forum court in the United States, forwarded through requisite diplomatic channels to the foreign country and ultimately executed through the courts of the foreign country.
This method requires a current diplomatic relationship with the foreign country. If there is no Consular Convention in force between the United States and the foreign country, letters rogatory are received by foreign authorities on the basis of comity. However, a letters rogatory request, even when diplomatic relationships exist, does not obligate the foreign country to execute the request, but simply provides a formal and fairly standardized mechanism through which the requests may officially be made in a manner considered valid in the foreign jurisdiction.
This is a formal process for use in cases where you believe you may need ultimate enforcement of a judgment or court order in the foreign country, or in a country that has mandated its use (such as Austria).
Service by letters rogatory requires translation of all documents to be served, including exhibits and the letters rogatory request itself, into the native or designated national language of the destination country.
Due to the fact that standard letters rogatory protocol requires execution through State Department officials and diplomatic channels of the country of origin, our office can only execute letters rogatory for cases that originate in U.S. courts
Once we are provided the necessary items and information:
We prepare the letters rogatory request and you are required to obtain appropriate U.S. court execution
We facilitate transmission through appropriate diplomatic channels for service through the appropriate foreign authority
We provide, at no extra cost, affidavits, and other support, necessary to obtain extensions of time, notify the forum court of progress, etc.
Service by letters rogatory is a very lengthy process, often taking six months or more to complete, with no way to expedite the process. Because of the inconsistent time frames and lack of foreign court cooperation, letters rogatory should not be used unless absolutely necessary.
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