Hague Convention (Article 5) Service in England and Wales
Article 5 service, which is, officially, “Hague Service”, is strongly recommended where, for example, an opponent is believed to be likely to challenge the validity of service, or subsequent enforcement is anticipated within this country. Incidentally, if enforcement in the UK is an eventual aim, it is advisable to seek legal advice on the challenges involved before embarking on process service over here, as there are other hoops to go through as well. Feel free to approach Graham Bridgman on this aspect at any time.
American attorneys seeking service in England & Wales should note the mandatory character of the Convention (see the landmark US Supreme Court ruling in Volkswagenwerk AG v Schlunk, 486 US 694 (1988)).
Doing It Directly Yourself?
You could approach our Central Authority yourself having completed all the necessary forms to ask for Hague service to be effected free of charge, and the papers should eventually be served through our courts, sometimes just by ordinary mail! However, we set up our Article 5 gold service because many clients involved in regular direct Hague serves were telling tales of:
- Lengthy delays
- Progress reports being impossible to obtain
- Problems with service not being reported back and papers simply returned without discussion
- Papers coming back unserved with no proper explanation or for the wrong reasons
- Court deadlines being missed and papers being served incorrectly
- The procedure taking an absolute minimum of two months
Expedited Hague Service
Using our unique Gold procedure means that we walk you through the process.
Service must be upon the request of an “authority or judicial officer” (for American clients this includes “private attorneys representing litigants before all Federal courts … and State courts, the rules of which authorize attorneys to serve judicial documents”
- We provide all of the forms you will need, already part filled-in for you, with an easy to follow guide to their completion
- We are usually able to begin attempts to serve within days of receiving your papers
- We always avoid service by mail as the sole method of service
- We quickly identify any issues (eg defendant left address) so that matters can be resolved without delay – unlike the court we don’t just give up and return the papers if there is a problem
- We provide you with a copy proof of service shortly after service is achieved
- We aim to return the sealed Hague Certificate of Service to you within three weeks or so after service
- We keep you updated at all stages
- SPEED – sometimes with savings of many weeks based on past experience
- CERTAINTY – no lottery as to whether service will be effected
- CONTROL – we shall always be in control of your papers
- INFORMATION – up to date information available, whenever you want it
- PROBLEM SOLVING – no more non-serves because of minor address errors
- INPUT – you can have input into the rules of service to be followed
- PROFESSIONALISM – at the highest level of customer care
The Final Proof
Service will result in a formal Hague Certificate of Service, signed by a High Court Master (a procedural judge) and sealed by the court, stating that service has been effected in accordance with the law of England and Wales, together with a Solicitor-certified copy of the witness statement of service from the process server.
The Certificate of Service should stand up to any form of judicial or other scrutiny and of itself will defeat any allegation that service has not been undertaken properly.
Please contact us with full details for advice and a specific quotation.
Service outside England and Wales
If you are considering process service in Scotland, Northern Ireland, the Channel Islands, the Isle of Man or the Republic of Ireland, they each have their own Central Authorities to whom you can apply direct for Article 5 service and Graham Bridgman, our solicitor, is only able to act within the jurisdiction of the England and Wales Central Authority for Article 10 service. However, our bronze service provides for service via private process server in all of these territories. Learn more >>