Thursday, September 2, 2010

What’s Wrong with the Hague Convention?

The Hague Service Convention (“Convention on the Service Abroad of Judicial and Extrajudicial Documents in Civil or Commercial Matters”) is a treaty between signatory nations which facilitates, standardizes, and simplifies service of process between party states. It was first enacted in 1965 by members of the Hague Conference on Private International Law. There will be 61 nations participating nations to the treaty, effective October 2010, with the addition of Australia as the newest member.

Now, the problem. Since the Special Administrative Session of the Hague Conference on Private International Law, held at The Hague, Netherlands, only meets every 5 years (last met in 2009), changes and decisions regarding enforcement issues cannot be held until 2014. However, one “rogue” nation has created its own version of the Convention and has imposed roadblocks to prevent service of process on its business entities and citizens.

The government of Mexico has abused the international legal community by requiring that legal documents originating in the United States that are to be served in Mexico include wording that violates the spirit, and letter, of the Hague Service Convention. No other nation is subjected to the requirements imposed by Mexico.

However, the Hague Conference on Private International Law is temporarily held impotent to require Mexico to conform to the rules of the Convention. Further, the U.S. Department of State appears to be non-reactive to the unfair requirements.

“One example of the abuse is Mexico now requires U.S. courts to include the words ‘calendar days’ on its Summons, clearly an infringement on the sovereignty of the United States,” said Nelson Tucker, CEO of Process Service Network, a legal support firm in the Los Angeles, CA area that specializes in international service of process. “Imagine the U.S. trying to tell another country that their legal documents must have certain wording,” said Tucker.

It is uncertain what steps, if any, the U.S. Department of State will take in protesting to the Hague authorities and what can be done to bring Mexico back in line with the rest of the civilized legal world.

Process Service Network, LLC can be found at or email at

1 comment:

  1. State Department, take steps to deal w/ non-compliance of a Hague Convention in Mexico? I wouldn't hold my breath. If the effort they put forth to deal with the non-compliance of Mexico with regards to the Hague Abduction Convention over the last 20 years are any indication, people waiting for State to even raise the issue with Mexico (much less take any substantive action) will be waiting for a very long time.