It is axiomatic (lawyers love saying that) that the world is becoming a smaller place through advances in transportation, the deployment of the Internet and capitalism’s relentless push for lower cost labor and physical inputs to the economic equation. Borders simply matter less as an economic matter.
Borders still matter quite a bit in the American practice of law however. For example, it is still generally required practice that an attorney pass each state’s bar exam in order to practice law in that state’s jurisdiction. (There are exceptions in some states for 1 time appearances, arbitrations, and so forth).
So what do we do when we have a defendant, or multiple defendants, in a foreign jurisdiction that we seek to bring to justice in the United States on the basis of ongoing ties to the United States? or simply on the basis that they have fled the jurisdiction of a particular country? If we cannot obtain personal and subject matter jurisdiction against the defendants. then any claim is defeated before we begin. This is where “The Hague Convention” comes into play. The Hague Convention describes the methods by which service may be accomplished in a foreign jurisdiction for signatories to the Convention. (Note that not all countries are signatories.)
Whenever attempting to serve parties in a foreign jurisdiction we recommend consulting the civil procedure practice guide for your jurisdiction (in California, we recommend the Rutter Group series) and then cross-reference the state requirements with the Hague Convention. Following this approach should show you the proper way to deliver service, whether or not the target party’s country of residence is a signatory to the Hague Convention.
ALG has successfully obtained personal and subject matter jurisdiction in a California cause of action over defendants currently residing outside of the state. We think that with a little bit of diligence, and the right facts, you will find that the long arm of the law is quite long indeed.
Adishian Law Group is a California law firm with a statewide practice in the areas of Corporate law, Employment law, Real Estate law and Mediation Services. Adishianlaw.com is one of the oldest continually operating law firm websites on the Internet. The firm serves its clientele via three offices located in the major business hubs of El Segundo, Palo Alto and San Francisco. As of March 2013, Adishian Law Group, P.C. has represented individual and corporate clients located across 20 California counties, 4 States outside of California and 9 foreign countries — in over 340 legal matters.
For more information about this topic or to speak with Chris Adishian: