Nelson Tucker, of Process Service Network, commented that there were some new hitches in serving process in Mexico under the Hague Service Convention. Intrigued, I checked out his blog, where he writes that the Mexican Central Authority is now imposing the following requirements:

  1. The summons must state that the defendant has 21 calendar days to respond to the complaint.
  2. “[T]he law which governs service of the documents must be provided, in full, as part of the pleadings.” It’s not precisely clear what Mr. Tucker means by this, and I will try to get some further clarification.
  3. The US court, not the plaintiffs’ lawyer, must be the “applicant.” The Mexican position on this is incorrect, at least with respect to cases in the federal courts (where any person not a party and over 18 years old is authorized to serve a summons),  but it is not unique to Mexico. Article 3 requires the “authority or judicial officer competent” under US law to forward the request to the Central Authority. In 1989, the US delegation to the Special Commission on the Operation of the Hague Conventions reported that the United Kingdom and Israel had rejected requests for service in which the plaintiff’s lawyer acted as applicant. The 2003 Practical Handbook on the operation of the Convention suggests that in light of Fed. R. Civ. P. 4, central authorities should forward requests by plaintiffs’ attorneys or private process servers “if the request makes explicit reference to the statute or rule of court endowing them with such authority.”

Thanks to Mr. Tucker for these reports from the front lines!