Service on Foreign Defendant


Service of Judicial Documents in Foreign Countries (11/10/10)

The Office of the Clerk of Court is required to dispatch process and by statute is not permitted to research the law of service in a foreign country or to pay postage. However, the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York (SDNY) has prepared an instruction guide for effectuating service on a foreign defendant through the Office of the Clerk of Court.The United States District Court for the District of New Hampshire (DNH) believes the SDNY Foreign Mailing Instructions to be instructive and refers it to parties in this district to assist them in effectuating foreign service.

In addition to the requirements set forth in the SDNY Foreign Mailing Instructions, this district also requires that attorneys seeking service of process in a foreign country by mail provide an affidavit setting forth the precise manner of service chosen and the legal authority to support the selected method of service. In addition, the affidavit shall state the following:

  1. there is no international agreed means of service, or
  2. the applicable international agreement allows other means of service, and
  3. that service by mail is authorized by the domestic law of the foreign country.

These instructions merely address the logistics for serving through the Office of the Clerk of Court under Fed. R. Civ. P. 4(f)(2)(c)(ii) and do not address whether service under Rule 4(f) is appropriate in your case. In forwarding the documents in the manner requested by an attorney, the Office of the Clerk of Court takes no position as to whether this constitutes effective service under the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure or any applicable international agreements on service. Of course, attorneys are responsible for both researching and arranging for proper service.