Legal Memorandum: Service of Process

Issue: How can service of process in a Massachusetts action be effectuated in Massachusetts against a party in Indonesia?

Area of Law: Litigation & Procedure
Keywords: Service of process; Service of legal documents abroad
Jurisdiction: Federal, Massachusetts
Cited Cases: 715 N.E.2d 70; 260 N.E.2d 208; 22 Mass. App. Ct. 927
Cited Statutes: Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 223A, § 1 et seq. (1999), ch. 223A, § 3 (1999), ch. 223A, §§ 10, 11 (1999), ch. 223A, § 8 (1999); Mass. R. Civ. P. 4 (1999)
Date: 09/01/2000

Service of process may be a complex task in average civil litigation.  When international companies are involved, the complexities only increase.  Many nations are signatories to the Hague Convention on the Service Abroad of Judicial and Extra-Judicial Documents in Civil or Commercial Matters.  This convention seeks to clarify and set forth the manner and method by which the signatories and their citizens agree to receive service of process.  For a discussion of service of process under the Hague Convention, please refer to Volkswagenwerk Aktiengesellschaft v. Schlunk, 486 U.S. 694 (1988) and Cipolla v. Picard Porsche Audi, Inc., 496 A.2d 130 (R.I. 1985).

A circular drafted by the United States Department of State provides a useful overview of service of legal documents abroad, in general.  A copy of this circular can be found at the U.S. Department of State Judicial Services website, <http://travel.state.gov/ service_general.html>.  

Specific online information on Indonesia from the Department of State indicates that service of process may be effected in that country in a “variety” of ways.  These methods include:

1)         international registered mail, return receipt requested;

2)         personal service by an agent, which can be accomplished by retaining an Indonesian attorney who can serve the documents and execute an affidavit of service at the U.S. Embassy; and

3)         letters rogatory.

U.S. Department of State Judicial Services website (visited Sept. 2000) <http://travel.state.gov/ indonesia_legal.html>.    

Should an attempt be made […]

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