If you have an active civil or commercial litigation practice, you probably have come across more and more private international law issues in recent years: how to serve process abroad; how to collect evidence abroad; how to act as local counsel on behalf of foreign lawyers seeking to obtain evidence in your own country; and so forth.

There are lots of good resources on the Web to help you get oriented to these issues. To begin with, there is the Hague Conference on Private International Law, where you can find the texts of the Hague Service, Evidence, and Apostille Conventions and explanatory materials. There is the U.S. State Department’s page on International Judicial Assistance, which has useful country-by-country practical information. And there are plenty of scholarly sites, such as Conflict of, which address such issues among others.

The purpose of this blog, Letters Blogatory, is more narrow. I aim to provide a digest of current U.S. case law (beginning in January 2011) relating to the Hague Service and Evidence Conventions, the Inter-American Convention on Letters Rogatory, and practice in the area of international judicial assistance more generally.

As the blog grows, I hope to be able to persuade some of my colleagues abroad to contribute case notes from their own jurisdictions. I also hope to be able to provide updates from the Hague Conference, the State Department, and others, and to provide links to relevant new materials elsewhere on the web. And I may editorialize or write more extensively from time to time, too!

And so without further ado, on to our first cases.