COMPLIANCE With international law

Few people realize the obstacles in serving defendants abroad otherwise known as service of process. Laws governing who may notify a defendant internationally differ by country. What laws apply to service in your country, often times do not apply internationally. American lawyers that need to notify an international defendant are told to research the long-arm statute. However, these laws do not always tell the attorney critical information. These laws fail to mention that the proof of service may only be notarized at a U.S. Embassy to be valid in a U.S. Court. These laws also fail to inform the lawyer that scheduling an appointment at the U.S. Embassy to obtain the notary of the required document can cause significant delays. Even more importantly, these laws fail to inform the lawyer that the service must comply with international conventions.

Repercussions of non-compliance with International law

Delays will ensue if the lawyer is not able to notarize the document at the American Embassy quickly. Non-Americans sometimes have longer delays in scheduling appointments at many U.S. Embassies. And further still, international laws that govern the notification completely fail to consider the norms of the culture living abroad. The laws in the U.S.A. facilitate access to American-styled homes, making service possible for serving defendants. However, Italian homes are often times in apartment buildings with significantly restricted access. Serving someone can be much more complicated than the long arm laws recognize.

Additional considerations

Of course, there are also a number of other issues to be aware of when serving internationally and considering the laws of the foreign country. For example, Italian lawyers are barred from serving a defendant personally. Americans frequently make the mistake of hiring an Italian lawyer to serve their defendant, only to learn later that the proof of service is invalid. If your first attempt at service is not effective, the service defendants will likely be even more conscientious when attempting to avoid service with a other attempts. The best advice we can give you is to find a lawyer in your defendant’s territory that is also an attorney originally from your country.