We've blogged about certified legal document translations and serving a foreign defendant under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 4(d). In the recent case New York State Thruway Authority v. Fenech a rather revolutionary change in the area of conflict of laws developed that will have significant implications on cross-border litigation. In summary, the decision overturns prior precedent against foreign service of process by mail under Article 10(a) of the Hague Service Convention. If the decision is upheld on appeal, it will essentially put process servers out of a job and render services via official diplomatic channels moot. Instead, the process will become a vastly simplified mailing process.
Any jurisdiction that does not accept service by mail is essentially putting defendants in foreign proceedings at a disadvantage - both in terms of challenging a foreign court's assertion of personal jurisdiction and subject matter jurisdiction. Although this will require the use of foreign language translations of the actual process and service, overall it will make the globalized legal world more efficient - and more fair.
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