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Encyclopedia > Letter Rogatory
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A Letter Rogatory or Letter of Request is a formal request from a court to a foreign court for some type of judicial assistance. The most common remedies sought by Letters Rogatory are service of process and taking of evidence. A court is an official, public forum which a public power establishes by lawful authority to adjudicate disputes, and to dispense civil, labour, administrative and criminal justice under the law. ... Jump to: navigation, search Service of process is the term given to legal notice of a court or administrative bodys exercise of its jurisdiction over individuals who are the subject of proceedings or actions brought before such court, body or other tribunal. ...


Service of process

Because the jurisdiction of a court is limited to the state in which it is located, it has no power to serve documents on persons domiciled in other states. Therefore a person seeking to take an action against a person in another country will need to seek assistance from the judicial authorities in the other country. This is of course assuming the court in his own country has jurisdiction to hear the case matter. As a hypothetical example, Alice in the United States wishes to sue Bob in England. Alice issues her summons in a U.S. court, and must then petition a court in England by means of a Letter Rogatory to serve the process. In law, jurisdiction refers to the aspect of a any unique legal authority as being localized within boundaries. ... Look up Action in Wiktionary, the free dictionary Action can be used in different contexts: Action movie Action game Action Comics, an American comic book series featuring Superman Action, a British comics anthology of the 1970s In physics, the action is a crucial concept in Lagrangian mechanics In philosophy, action... Jump to: navigation, search Royal motto (French): Dieu et mon droit (Translated: God and my right) Englands location within the UK Official language English de facto Capital London de facto Largest city London Area - Total Ranked 1st UK 130,395 km² Population - Total (mid-2004) - Density Ranked 1st UK... A summons is a legal document issued by a court addressed to a defendant in a legal proceeding. ...

Taking of evidence

Another reason a Court may require assistance from a foreign court is to obtain evidence from a witness. This evidence may be to answer questions relevant to the determination of an issue of fact, or for disclosure of documents. Courts only have power to subpoena witnesses from within their own country. So for example Alice in the U.S. could not summon Jean from France to the U.S. courthouse. Instead the U.S. court would issue a letter Rogatory to a French court, who would then examine Jean in France, and send a deposition back to the requesting court. Disclosure means the giving out of information, either voluntarily or to be in compliance with legal regulations or workplace rules. ... A subpoena (pronounced suh-pee-nuh) is a writ commanding a person to appear under penalty (from Latin). ... Deposition is a word used in many fields to describe different processes: In law, deposition is the taking of testimony outside of court. ...

In many cases, the witness is willing to provide the testimony. However, the target court may compel the testimony of a witness who is unwilling to appear.

Generally, the target court will agree to the request unless it violates a policy of the target jurisdiction. For example, in the United States, it is usually appropriate in a civil case to depose every available witness, while in Canada, you may only depose one witness from each party. However, a Canadian court would most likely agree to the pre-trial deposition of a witness who could be compelled to testify in the United States.


In the past, Letters Rogatory could not usually be transmitted directly between the applicable courts, and had to be transmitted via consular or diplomatic channels, which could make the whole process very slow. There have been various international conventions in regard to service of process and taking of evidence. One of the earliest conventions to simplify the procedure of Letters Rogatory was the 1905 Civil Procedure Convention, signed at The Hague. Drafted only in French, it was only ratified by 22 countries. Later conventions, created after the institution of the Hague Conference on Private International Law, drafted in both English and French commanded more support. The Hague Service Convention, ratified in 1965, enabled designated authorities in each of the signatory states to transmit documents for service to each other, bypassing the diplomatic route. This convention has been ratified by 52 states including the United Kingdom and the United States, neither of whom had ratified the 1905 convention. The Hague Evidence Convention, rartified in 1970, formalised procedures for taking of evidence. This convention has been ratified by 43 states. For member states of the European Union, two regulations, 1348/2000 and 1206/2001 superceded the two Hague Conventions. These two regulations apply to each of the Member states of the European Union with the exception of Denmark which opted out. For modern diplomatic consuls, see Consulate general. ... The United Nations, with its headquarters in New York City, is the largest international diplomatic organization. ... Arms of The Hague The Hague (with capital T; Dutch: Den Haag, or officially s-Gravenhage) is the administrative capital of the Netherlands, located in the west of the country, in the province South Holland of which it is also the capital. ... The Hague Conference on Private International Law is the preeminent organisation in the area of private international law. ... The English language is a West Germanic language that originates in England. ... Jump to: navigation, search The Hague Service Convention, or the Convention on the Service Abroad of Judicial and Extrajudicial Documents in Civil or Commercial Matters, is a multilateral treaty signed in The Hague on 15 November 1965 by the members of the Hague Conference on Private International Law. ... Jump to: navigation, search 1965 was a common year starting on Friday (link goes to calendar). ... Jump to: navigation, search 1970 was a common year starting on Thursday. ... EU member states and candidates Current members There are currently 25 member states in the European Union. ... The longtime status of Netherlands as a largely neutral nation in international conflicts and the corresponding ascendance of The Hague as a primary location for diplomatic and international conferences has led to several negotiated conventions over the years being termed the Hague Convention: The Hague Conventions of 1899 and 1907... EU member states and candidates Current members There are currently 25 member states in the European Union. ...

For countries not signed up to any convention, the Letter Rogatory is still used. So for example, a plaintiff in the Netherlands which is signed up to the Hague Service Convention would still need to issue a Letter Rogatory to Brazil, as the latter has not signed the Convention. A plaintiff, also known as a claimant, or a complainant is the party who initiates a lawsuit (also known as an action) before a court. ...

External links

  • Preparation of Letters Rogatory advice from the U.S. State Department
  • Inter-American Convention on Letters Rogatory
  • Hague Service Convention
  • Hague Evidence Convention
  • Council Regulation (EC) No. 1348/2000 of 29 May 2000 on the service in the Member States of judicial and extrajudicial documents in civil or commercial matters
  • Council Regulation (EC) No. 1206/2001 of 28 May 2001 on cooperation between the courts of the Member States in the taking of evidence in civil or commercial matters



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