Hague Service Convention: Serve quickly in China

The Hague service convention applies only to state-to-state, international services. Formal service can take up to one year. HKPS can arrange an informal serve in China within a short time-frame and get the affidavit sworn in English in Hong Kong.
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What are Hague Convention Serves?

Hague Convention serves are serves conducted in accordance with the Hague Convention: correctly known as The Service Abroad of Judicial and Extrajudicial Documents in Civil or Commercial Matters.  

The Service Convention provides for the channels of transmission to be used when a judicial or extrajudicial document is to be transmitted from one State party to the Convention to another State party for service in the latter.  This means that any service conducted under the Hague Service Convention is automatically international in nature. 

Does the Convention specify how to serve documents?

No.  The Convention deals mainly with the transmission of documents; it does not address or provide substantive rules relating to the actual service of process. 

Is China a party to the Hague Service Convention?

Yes.  China is a party to the Convention and both Hong Kong and Macau are participating territories under China.  Taiwan, however, is not a party. 

Worldwide, Hague Convention serves typically take about two months.  It can take as long as a year  in China.

Can we conduct serves under the Hague Service Convention?

No.  HKPS is not a Central Authority and therefore is not competent to serve process under the Hague Convention.  In Hong Kong, the Central Authority is the Secretary for Justice of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region.

What are the requirements?

For the Hague Service Convention to be applicable, the following requirements should be met:

  • a document is to be transmitted from one State party to the Convention to another State party for service in the latter
  • an address for the person to be served is known
  • the document to be served is a judicial or extrajudicial document, and
  • the document to be served relates to a civil or commercial matter

If all these requirements are met, the transmission channels provided for under the Convention must be applied.

The Central Authority of the requested State will execute the request for service or cause it to be executed either:

  • by informal delivery to the addressee who accepts it voluntarily, or
  • by a method provided for under the law of the requested State, or
  • by a particular method requested by the applicant, unless it is incompatible with the law of the requested State.

Do Hague Service Convention papers require translation?

Under Article 5(3), the Central Authority of the requested State may request a translation of the documents to be served if they are to be served by a method prescribed by the internal law of the requested State for the service of documents in domestic actions upon persons who are within its territory or if service by a particular method is requested by the applicant. 

What are the alternatives to Hague Convention serves?

As an alternative, service through an alternative channel in the foreign country, provided that the country does not formally object (Articles 8, 9 and 10).  Article 10(b) refers to “judicial officers, officials or other competent persons of the State,” and article 10(c) refers to “interested persons.” 

“Judicial officer,” “official,” “competent person,” and “interested person” are terms defined under the laws of the destination state, not under the laws of the requesting state.

Is HKPS regarded as a "competent person"?

YES.  HKPS is regarded as a “competent person”.  The company and has been serving process in Hong Kong, Macau, China and other parts of SE Asia since 2014.  

Christopher Wilson

About HKPS

HKPS was co-founded in 2014 by an ex-Hong Kong police officer to provide efficient and cost-effective process serves in Hong Kong, China, Macau and other parts of SE Asia.  

HKPS is a brand of the Veriton Asia Group.  Veriton offers a range of research and investigations services from full reputational due diligence and surveillance to China company checks and executive screening. 

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