Passports USA.com

Department of State Logo and United State Flag
Latest Islamic Terrorist Threats Contact Us text

PREPARATION OF LETTERS ROGATORY


DISCLAIMER: THE INFORMATION IN THIS CIRCULAR RELATING TO THE LEGAL REQUIREMENTS OF SPECIFIC FOREIGN COUNTRIES IS OBTAINED FROM PAST EXPERIENCE AND IS NOT NECESSARILY AUTHORITATIVE. QUESTIONS INVOLVING INTERPRETATION OF SPECIFIC FOREIGN LAWS SHOULD BE ADDRESSED TO FOREIGN COUNSEL

LEGAL AUTHORITY: 28 U.S.C. 1781(a)(2); 28 U.S.C. 1696; Rule 28(b), Fed. R. Civ. P.; Rule 4(f)(2)(B), Fed. R. Civ. P.; Rule 15d, Fed. R. Crim. P.22 C.F.R. 92.66(b)&(c); Article 5(j), Vienna Convention on Consular Relations, 21 U.S.T. 77, 596 UNTS 261; TIAS 6820 (where applicable); Bilateral Consular Conventions (where applicable). Letters rogatory have also been issued under the "All Writs Act", 28 U.S.C. 1651.

SELECTED CITATIONS: For general information about letters rogatory see:

Wright and Miller, Federal Practice and Procedure, (1970), Section 2083 and Section 1134 and 1992 Supp. pp. 206-207);

8 Wigmore, Evidence (rev. McNaughton 1961), Sec. 2195a (ii);

Restatement (Second) Foreign Relations Law of the United States, Sec. 40 (1965);

Restatement (Third) Foreign Relations Law of the United States, Sec. 403 (1988).

WHAT IS A LETTER ROGATORY: A letter rogatory is a formal request from a court in one country to "the appropriate judicial authorities" in another country requesting compulsion of testimony or documentary or other evidence or effect service of process. Although statutory authority generally refers to the instrument as a "letter rogatory", the terms "letter rogatory" and "letter of request" (which is used specifically in the Hague Evidence Convention) have come to be virtually synonymous in actual practice. (See Epstein & Snyder, International Litigation: A Guide to Jurisdiction, Practice & Strategy, 2nd. Sec. 10.09, p. 10.13 -10.14.; Black's Law Dictionary (6th ed. 1994), Fed. R. Civ. P. 4(f)(2)(B) Advisory Committee's Note (West Supp. 1993).) In some countries which do not permit the taking of depositions of willing witnesses, letters rogatory are the only method of obtaining evidence or serve process. Letters rogatory can be used in civil and criminal matters, and have been used in administrative matters. The execution of a request for judicial assistance by the foreign court is based on comity between nations, absent a specific treaty obligation such as the Hague Evidence Convention or Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters (MLAT) treaties. See our general flyer on "Obtaining Evidence Abroad" or the "Hague Evidence Convention" for a further discussion of these subjects. Consular Conventions generally include language which authorizes transmission of letters rogatory through diplomatic channels. This does not obligate the foreign country to execute the request, but simply provides a formal avenue by which the requests may be made. If there is no Consular Convention in force between the United States and the foreign country, letters rogatory are received by foreign authorities on the basis of comity. Letters rogatory are a time consuming, cumbersome process and should not be utilized unless there are no other options available.

HOW IS A LETTER ROGATORY EXECUTED: The foreign court will execute a letter rogatory in accordance with the laws and regulations of the foreign country. In obtaining evidence, for example, in most cases an American attorney will not be permitted to participate in such a proceeding. Occasionally a local, foreign attorney may be permitted to attend such a proceeding and even to put forth additional questions to the witness. Not all foreign countries utilize the services of court reporters or routinely provide verbatim transcripts. Sometimes the presiding judge will dictate his recollection of the witness's responses. See Born & Westin, 305, 308; Ristau, International Judicial Assistance, Sec. 3-2-1 (4), p. 79 (1995 supp.); Epstein & Snyder, Sec. 10.09, p. 10-13 - 10-16 (1994 supp). See discussion below on drafting a letter rogatory which takes these peculiarities into account.

AUTHORITY FOR ISSUANCE OF A LETTER ROGATORY: The power of federal courts to issue letters rogatory derives from 28 U.S.C. 1781 and from the court's "inherent" authority. See De Villeneuve v. Morning Journal Ass'n., 206 F. 70 (S.D.N.Y. 1913), Zassenhaus v. Evening Star Newspaper Co., 404 F. 2d 1361 (D.C. Cir. 1968). See also 28 U.S.C. 1651 ("All Writs Act"). But see, DBMS Consultants, Ltd. v. Computer Assocs. Int'l, Inc., 131 F.R.D. 367, 369 (D. Mass. 1990); United States v. Reagan, 453 F.2d 165, 171-173 (6th Cir. 1971), cert. denied, 406 U.S. 946 (1972); United States v. Strong, 608 F. Supp. 188, 192-194 (E.D. Pa. 1985); United States v. Staples, 256 F.2d 290 (9th Cir. 1958); B & L Drilling Electric v. Totco, 87 F.R.D. 543, 545 (W.D. Okla. 1978).

Compulsion of Evidence: When a witness is not willing to testify or produce documents or other evidence voluntarily, the assistance of foreign authorities generally must be sought. The customary method of compelling evidence is by letter rogatory. See Rule 28(b), Fed. R. Civ. P.; Born & Westin, 305-308; Cumulative Digest of United States Practice in International Law, 1981-1988, Department of State, Office of the Legal Adviser, 1450, 1509-1510 (1994); and Digest of United States Practice in International Law, 1977, 498-499, Department of State, Office of the Legal Adviser. See Ristau, Sec. 3-3-2, Application for the Issuance of a Letter of Request (Letter Rogatory). Consult our flyer "Obtaining Evidence Abroad" regarding other methods of extraterritorial discovery of documents in control of persons over whom the court has in personam jurisdiction.

CRIMINAL CASES: The Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure do not provide for the issuance of requests for judicial assistance. Consequently, Rule 57, Fed. R. Crim. P., applies. Rule 57 provides in pertinent part: "In all cases not provided for by rule, the district judges and magistrates may regulate their practice in any manner not inconsistent with these rules or those of the district in which they act". Evidence, including documents and the testimony of witnesses, may properly be sought by means of a request for judicial assistance before or after formal charges have been made. United States v. Reagan, supra, 453 F2d at 173 n.4; In Re Grand Jury 81-2, 550 F. Supp. 24, 29 (W.D. Mich, 1982); United States v. Strong, supra, 608 F. Supp. at 194.

ADMINISTRATIVE CASES: Except as provided by statute, U.S. Administrative agencies do not have the power to compel persons outside the U.S. who have no contact with the U.S. (and therefore are not under a federal court's personal jurisdiction) to produce evidence for an investigation. Administrative agencies have succeeded in obtaining commissions to take depositions and letters rogatory using the "All Writs Act" (28 U.S.C. 1651). See: CFTC v. Nahas, 738 F.2d 487 (D.C. Cir. 1984); FTC v. Compagnie de Saint Gobain-Pont-a-Mousson, 636 F.2d 1300 (D.C. Cir. 1980). Congress has decided, since Saint Gobain, that the investigative demands of the FTC and the IRS are more in the nature of complaints than subpoenae. Thus, those two agencies have been expressly authorized to serve investigative demands in foreign states in a manner parallel to the service of process provisions of Rule 4 of the Rules of Federal Procedure. See 15 U.S.C. 57b-1 (F.T.C.) and 26 U.S.C. 982 (I.R.S.). All the federal securities statutes authorize the SEC to subpoena witnesses "from any place in the United States." This statutory language, commonly employed in the statutes governing most American regulatory agencies, has been construed by U.S. courts to be a broad and flexible authorization to require production of evidence from anywhere in the world, so long as service has been properly effected in the U.S. See, SEC v. Minas de Artemisa, S.A., 150 F. 2d 215 (9th Cir. 1945); Federal Maritime Commission v. DeSmedt, 366 F.2d 464 (2d Cir.), cert. denied, 385 U.S. 974 (1966); CAB v. Deutche Lufthansa A.G., 591 F.2d 951 (D.C. Cir. 1979); SEC v. Zanganeh, 470 F. Supp 1307 (D.D.C. 1978).

SERVICE OF PROCESS: 28 U.S.C. 1696 and Rule 4(f)(2)(B) Fed. R. Civ. P. provide for the use of letters rogatory for service of process. Service of a judicial summons, as set forth in Fed. R. Crim. P. 9(c) may also be effected pursuant to a letter rogatory. See Ristau, Sec. 3-1-12, p. 71 (1995 supp.) for a form for application for the issuance of a Letter of Request (Letter Rogatory) to Serve a Judicial Document. See also, In Re Letters Rogatory Out of First Civil Court of City of Mexico, 261 Fed. 652 (S.D.N.Y. 1919); 44 Colum. L. Rev. 72 (1944); Note, 58 Yale L.J. 1193 (1949); Republic Int'l Corp. v. Amco Eng'rs, 516 F.2d 161, 164 (9th Cir. 1975). In some countries service by letters rogatory is the only recognized method of service. If the laws of the foreign country permit other methods of service, the use of letters rogatory is not recommended given the habitual time delays of up to a year or more in execution of the requests. The letters rogatory procedure is "complex, costly and time consuming" and should be avoided where possible. (See Casad, Jurisdiction in Civil Actions, 4.06(2) (1983 & Supp. 1986); Horlick, A Practical Guide to Service of United States Process Abroad, 14 Int'l Law. 637, 642 (1980).) If the laws of the foreign country only recognize service by letter rogatory and eventual enforcement of a U.S. judgment in the foreign country is envisioned, requesting counsel may determine that service pursuant to a letter rogatory is necessary. See Born & Westin, 123-125, 133-136; In re Letters Rogatory out of First Civil Court, 261 Fed. 652 (S.D.N.Y. 1919); Service of Process on Foreign Parties by Letters Rogatory, 52 Inter Alia F1 (May/June 1987); Longley, Serving Process, Subpoenas and Other Documents in a Foreign Country, Proc. A.B.A., Sec. of Int'l & Comp. L. 34, 35 (1959); Cumulative Digest of United States Practice in International Law, 1981-1988, Department of State, Office of the Legal Adviser, 1442, 1448 (1994).

SAMPLE LETTERS ROGATORY: There is annexed a basic sample letter rogatory, but see, 4 J. Moore, Moore's Federal Practice 28.05-08 (2d ed. 1991) (Caveat: Do not draft the letter rogatory as a request from the President of the United States, but rather as a request from the requesting court.); 3 J. Moore & L. Frumer, Moore's Manual, Federal Practice Forms, Nos. 15:21; 15:22 (2d ed. 1988); 2A Bender's Federal Practice Forms, Fed. R. Civ. P. 28(b) (1991); 8 Wigmore, Evidence, rev. (McNaughton l96l) Sec. 2l95a (ii); B. Ristau, International Judicial Assistance, Vol. 1, Part III, Ch. 3, Section 3-3-1/3-3-2, pp. 94-101 (1995 supp.); Epstein & Snyder, International Litigation, Section 10.09, 10-13 - 10-16 (2d ed. 1994); Born & Westin, International Civil Litigation in United States Courts, 308-309, (1989).

GUIDELINES ON DRAFTING LETTERS ROGATORY: Letters rogatory should be written in simple, non-technical English and should not include unnecessary information which may confuse court in the receiving foreign state. Avoid use of the term "discovery". Similarly, to avoid the appearance of a "fishing expedition" which may result in refusal of the foreign country to execute the request, try not to use phrases such as "any and all documents". Requests for documents should be as specific as possible. If particular procedures to be followed by the foreign court are preferable, include the specifics in the letter rogatory (for example, verbatim transcript, place witness under oath, permission for American or foreign counsel to attend or participate in proceedings if possible, etc.) For general guidance on drafting letters rogatory see Ristau, Sec. 3-3-2, 95-96; 3-3-5, p. 103 (1995 supp.); Born & Westin 308.

The letter rogatory should be addressed "To Appropriate Judicial Authority of (Insert name of Country). " (See The Mandu, ll F. Supp. 845, EDNY l935). The essential elements of a letter rogatory are:

(a) a request for international judicial assistance is being made in the interests of justice;

(b) a brief synopsis of the case, including identification of the parties and the nature of the claim and relief sought to enable the foreign court to understand the issues involved;

(c) type of case [civil, criminal, administrative];

(d) the nature of the assistance required [compel testimony or production of evidence; service of process];

(e) name, address and other identifiers, such as corporate title, of the person abroad to be served or from whom evidence is to be compelled, documents to be served;

(f) list of questions to be asked, where applicable, generally in the form of written interrogatories;

(g) list of documents or other evidence to be produced;

(h) the requesting court should include a statement expressing a willingness to provide similar assistance to judicial authorities of the receiving state [28 U.S.C. 1782];

(i) the requesting court should include a statement expressing a willingness to reimburse the judicial authorities of the receiving state for costs incurred in executing the requesting court's letter rogatory.

AUTHENTICATION REQUIREMENTS: Letters rogatory must be issued under the seal of the court and the signature of the judge. The clerk should not sign on behalf of the judge. (See Ristau, Sec. 3-1-13, p. 73 at note 14, (1995 supp.); Born & Westin 307.) For most countries, the seal of the court and signature of the judge is sufficient. Consult our country-specific information via our autofax service or via our home page on the Internet for guidance about procedures for particular countries. Some countries require further authentication of letters rogatory. Do not waste time and money on these additional steps unless your local foreign counsel, this office, or some other authoritative source advises that it is necessary. If there is no specific flyer for the country in question, consult the geographic division of the Office of American Citizens Services and Crisis Management. See "Questions" below.

TRIPLE CERTIFICATION, CHAIN AUTHENTICATION AND AUTHENTICATION BY THE FOREIGN EMBASSY IN THE UNITED STATES: As noted above, these additional authentication steps are not required by most countries. Some countries require Triple Certification of the letter rogatory which means that the judge signs the documents; the clerk certifies that the judge is the judge; the judge certifies that the clerk is the clerk). This is also known as an exemplification certificate (A.O. form 132). In addition to the triple certification or exemplification process, some foreign countries require that the letter rogatory be authenticated by the embassy or consulate of the foreign country in the United States. This is accomplished by "chain authentication" summarized below. (See Ristau Sec. 3-1-13, 1994 Rev., p. 73 at note 14.)

State Court Documents:

1. Seal and Signature of the Judge;

2. State Secretary of State or other authority authenticates the seal of the State Court; (For a list of state authentication offices, see our information flyers on the "Hague Legalization Convention" (AUTOFAX document 1053) and "General Authentication Flyer" (AUTOFAX document 1046) available via our autofax service and our Consular Home Page on the Internet explained under "Additional Information" below. See also our Authentications Office Home Page at ../family/abduction_hague_012.html .

3. U.S. Department of State Authentications Office authenticates the seal of the State Secretary of State or comparable authority as explained below;

4. Embassy or Consulate or the foreign country in the U.S. authenticates the seal of the U.S. Department of State. (For the address and telephone number of foreign embassies see our country-specific consular information sheets on our Home Page on the Internet under "entry requirement" or our brochure "visa requirements of foreign governments" which also lists the phone numbers of the foreign consulates in the U.S.)

Federal Court Documents:

1. Seal and Signature of the Judge;

2. Seal of the U.S. Court is authenticated by the U.S. Department of Justice, Management Division, Security Program Staff, Physical Security Office, 9th and Pennsylvania Avenue, Room 6531, Washington, D.C. 20530, tel: (202) 514-2314 or 514-4667 or the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts.

3. U.S. Department of State Authentications Office authenticates the seal of the Department of Justice or the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts as explained below;

4. Embassy or Consulate or the foreign country in the U.S. authenticates the seal of the U.S. Department of State.

Expediting the Authentication Process: It may be possible to authenticate the documents at the foreign consulate nearest you and avoid the interim steps if the foreign consulate has the court's seal or the state Secretary of State's seal on file. This office will NOT undertake the task of obtaining the authentications of the State, the Departments of Justice and State and the foreign embassies.

U.S. State Department Authentication Office, 518 23rd St., N.W., Washington, D.C. 20520, (202) 647-5002 Fee: $5.00. For additional information, call the Federal Information Center: 1-800-688-9889, and choose option 6 after you press 1 for touch tone phones. Walk-in service is available from the Authentications Office from 8 a.m. to 12 noon Monday-Friday, except holidays. Walk-in service is limited to 15 documents per person per day (documents can be multiple pages). Processing time for authentication requests sent by mail is 5 working days or less. An information flyer explaining the authentication process is available. See also the U.S. State Department's Authentications Office home page .

Further Authenticating the U.S. State Department Seal: Occassionally, foreign countries may request that after the embassy of the foreign country in the United States authenticates the seal of the U.S. Department of State, the documents be further authenticated in the foreign country by the U.S. embassy and/or the foreign country's Foreign Ministry. U.S. embassies abroad are authorized to authenticate the seal of the U.S. Department of State for a $10.00 fee. (See 22 C.F.R. 92.41(c); Schedule of Fees, 22 C.F.R. 22.1 item 45(f).)

Hague Legalization Convention Countries: If the country where the documents are to be used is a party to the Hague Legalization Convention, and that country requires further authentication of the documents beyond the seal and signature of the judge, consult our information flyer on the Hague Legalization Convention for guidance on how to obtain the Convention "apostille" certificate. See also the U.S. State Department's Authentications Office home page .

TRANSLATION REQUIREMENTS: The letters rogatory and any accompanying documents must be translated into the official language of the foreign country. The translator should execute an affidavit as to the validity of the translation before a notary. See Ristau, Sec. 2-2-2(2), p. 96-97 (1995 supp.)

NUMBER OF COPIES REQUIRED: Forward to the Department of State for transmittal to the foreign authorities: the original English version bearing the seal of the court and signature of the judge [or a certified copy]; a photocopy of the English; the original translation and a photocopy of the translation. The original documents will be served upon the designated recipient or deposited with the foreign court in connection with a request for evidence, and the copies returned to the court in the U.S. as proof of execution. See Ristau, Sec. 2-2-2(2), p. 96-97 (1995 supp.) For requests involving multiple witnesses in diverse locations, either prepare a separate letter rogatory for each witness, or provide a certified copy of the single letter rogatory (plus translation and duplicate copy noted above) for each witness. The foreign country may assign the matter to different courts. The U.S. embassy will endeavor to ensure that evidence obtained will be transmitted to the court in the U.S. as it is received from the Foreign Ministry rather than held by the Foreign Ministry until all the evidence has been obtained. The same procedures apply to requests involving service of process upon multiple persons.

SERVICE VIA LETTERS ROGATORY UNDER SECTION 1608(B) OF THE FOREIGN SOVERIEGN IMMUNITIES ACT: Letters rogatory requesting service of process on an agency or instrumentality of a foreign government pursuant to 28 U.S.C. 1608(b)(3)(A) must be transmitted to the Department of State, Office of American Citizens Services, Room 4811A, 2201 C Street, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20520.

TRANSMITTAL OF THE REQUEST: Letters rogatory generally may be transmitted to foreign judicial authorities through the "diplomatic channel". The "diplomatic channel" is a circuitous route by which the documents are sent to the foreign court. Unless the foreign country accepts transmittal directly from court-to-court or through local foreign counsel, you will be confronted with the difficulties of at least some portion of the diplomatic channel described below. See Ristau, Sec. 3-3-3, p. 102 (1995 supp.) described below. If your local counsel in the foreign country advise that letters rogatory may be transmitted directly by your foreign counsel to the foreign court you may elect to avoid the time consuming diplomatic channel. If the Department of State information about a particular country reflects that use of the diplomatic channel is required, you may wish to seek clarification of contrary guidance from other sources.

Cover Letter: The letters rogatory and accompanying documents may be submitted to the Office of American Citizens Services and Crisis Management, Room 48l1A N.S., Department of State, 2201 C Street N.W., Washington, D.C. 20520. Please write the name of the foreign country on the outside of the envelope. The documents should be accompanied by a letter along the following lines:

Foreign Country:

Name of Case:

Docket Number:

Nature of Request: (Service of Process; Compulsion of Testimony; Production of Documents, etc.)

Person to be Served or from Whom Evidence is to be Obtained: (name and address mandatory, phone number if possible.)

Mailing Address of American Court to Which executed Request Should be Returned:

Special Instructions: (Example, Federal Express Account Number; U.S. hearing/trial date, etc.)

Deposit Enclosed:

Statement of Responsibility for Additional Costs incurred in excess of the required deposit which accompanies the letter.

Local Foreign Counsel (if any): (name and address, phone number)

Name, Address, telephone and fax number of requesting attorney in U.S.:

What is the Diplomatic Channel?: The documents proceed along the following lines:

1. Drafted by American attorney ...

2. Issued Under Seal of American court and Signature of Judge ...

3. Returned by Issuing Court to American Attorney ...

4. Sent by Attorney to U.S. State Department or U.S. Embassy Abroad ...

5. Received by U.S. Embassy ...

6. Sent to Ministry of Foreign Affairs under cover of a diplomatic note ...

7. Sent to foreign Ministry of Justice ...

8. Sent to by Ministry of Justice Foreign Court of Competent Jurisdiction ...

9. Executed by Foreign Court subject to Court's Calender ...

10. Returned to Ministry of Foreign Affairs ...

11. Returned to U.S. Embassy ...

12. Returned to U.S. Department of State ...

13. Returned to Requesting Court.

14. Requesting Attorney Receives Evidence from Requesting American Court.

COSTS: Effective March 8, 2005, there is a $735.00 consular fee for processing letters rogatory (See Federal Register, February 2, 2005, Volume 70, Number 21, Rules and Regulations, Pages 5372-5377; 22 CFR 22.1, item 51). Counsel are requested to submit a certified bank check in the amount of $735.00 payable to the U.S. Embassy (insert name of capital of the foreign country, for example, "U.S. Embassy Tokyo"). Corporate or personal checks are not acceptable. Foreign authorities may also charge a fee. Counsel will be notified by the U.S. embassy and/or the Office of American Citizens Services and Crisis Management in the Department of State if the Embassy is advised by foreign authorities of any applicable local fees. There is no consular fee for letters rogatory on behalf of federal, state or local government officials. (See 22 CFR 22.1, item 53). If the letter rogatory requests compulsion of evidence from more than one witness or service of process on more than one person, multiple fees may be charged if more than one foreign court is required to execute the request due to multiple jurisdictions. For letters rogatory for use in Taiwan, see our Taiwan specific flyer.

RETAINING LOCAL FOREIGN COUNSEL: 28 U.S.C. 1781(b)(2) permits American courts to transmit letters rogatory directly to the executing authority in the foreign country. Although many countries require that letters rogatory be transmitted to the foreign government through the "diplomatic channel" by the U.S. embassy, local counsel can be helpful in subsequent inquiries. Where the foreign government does not object to direct transmission, for example through a local foreign attorney, this can save time. While retention of the services of a foreign attorney to aid in the progress of a letter rogatory is not generally required (although some countries, such as the Bahamas mandate such assistance), requesting counsel in the U.S. may find it useful to retain local counsel to provide guidance on preparation of the request and to expedite the process. See Ristau, Sec. 3-3-3, at note 24, 102 and Sec. 3-3-5, p. 103 (1995 supp.); and Born & Westin 308.

REFUSAL TO HONOR AMERICAN LETTERS ROGATORY: Foreign countries have declined to honor American letters rogatory where a foreign domestic blocking statute prohibits release of the evidence requested. See Ristau, Sec. 3-3-4, p. 103 (1995 supp.)

REQUESTS FROM STATE OR FEDERAL GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS:

If the letter rogatory is being transmitted at the request of a state or federal official, please contact the Department of State, Office of American Citizens Services for special guidance. With respect to fees, no consular fee will be charged. However, local authorities in the foreign country may impose fees of their own which must be paid by the state or federal authority in the United States requesting the judicial assistance. You will be contacted if a federal appropriation number and fund code or remittance of monies to the Department of State are necessary.

TIME REQUIRED TO EXECUTE A LETTER ROGATORY: Generally letters rogatory worldwide, including those sent to the United States, take from six months to a year to execute. See Ristau, Sec. 3-3-3, p. 102-103 (1995 supp.) ; Born & Westin 307.

RETURN OF EXECUTED LETTER ROGATORY: When a letter rogatory is executed by the foreign authorities, it is returned to the requesting court in the United States by this office via certified mail. Requesting counsel is also notified. At the request of the court, the executed letter rogatory and proof of service/evidence can be returned directly to requesting counsel. If transmittal by commercial express delivery service is preferred, please include your account number in the covering letter.

Treaty Databases on the Internet: Information about treaties in force is available on the Internet at the following web sites:

United States Department of State, Office of the Legal Adviser, Treaty Affairs, List of Treaties and Other International Agreements of the United States In Force:

United Nations (UN): Databases/Treaties

Council of Europe (COE): under Texts/Treaties

Organization of American States (OAS): under Public Information/Documents/Treaties.

SELECTED REFERENCES:

Books:

Born & Westin, International Civil Litigation in United States Courts, (1989).

Epstein & Snyder, International Litigation: A Guide to Jurisdiction, Practice and Strategy, 2d, Prentice Hall Law & Business (1994).

Grossman, Letters Rogatory: A Symposium Before the Consular Law Society, Federal Legal Publications, Inc., New York (1956).

Hackworth, Digest of International Law, Office of the Legal Adviser, Department of State, Vol. II, (1941).

Kos-Rabcewicz-Zubkowski, International Cooperation in Civil and Commercial Procedure: American Continent, Canadian Inter-American Research Institute; U. of Ottawa Press, (1975).

Lookofsky, Transnational Litigation and Commercial Arbitration, A Comparative Analysis of American, European, and International Law, 445-89 (1992).

Moore, A Digest of International Law 104 et seq., Sec. 189 - letters rogatory 1889-1890, (1906).

Nash, ed., Cumulative Digest of United States Practice in International Law, Department of State, Vol. II, 1409, 1424 (1994).

Ristau, International Judicial Assistance, Civil and Commercial, International Law Institute, (1995 supp.).

Smit, International Cooperation in Litigation: Europe, The Hague, Martinus Nijhoff, (1965).

Whiteman, Digest of International Law, Office of the Legal Adviser, Department of State, Vol 7, 573, 605 (1970).

Articles:

Doyle, Taking Evidence by Deposition and Letters Rogatory and Obtaining Documents in Foreign Territory, Proc. A.B.A., Sec. Int'l & Comp. L. 37 (1959).

Edwards, Taking of Evidence Abroad in Civil or Commercial Matters, 18 Int'l & Comp. L. Q. 646 (1969).

Heilpern, Procuring Evidence Abroad, 14 Rul. L. Rev. 29 (1939).

Houck, Restatement of the Foreign Relations Law of the United States (Revised): Issues and Resolutions, 20 Int'l Law. 1361 (1986).

Jones, International Judicial Assistance: Procedural Chaos and a Program for Reform, 62 Yale L.J. 515, 529-32 (1953).

McCawley, Compelled Production of Documents Located Abroad - Marc Rich and Co. v. U.S., 11 Tax Plan. Int'l Rev. 7 (No. 11, Nov. 1984).

McKay, Compelling Discovery and Disclosure in Transnational Litigation: A Selected Bibliography, 16 N.Y.U.J. Int'l L. and Pol. 1217 (No. 5, Summer 1984).

Maier, Extraterritorial Jurisdiction at a Crossroads: An Intersection Between public and Private International Law, 76 Am. J. Int'l L. 280 (1982).

Note, Letters Rogatory: Current Problems Facing International Judicial Assistance, 4 N.C. J. Int'l L. & Comm. Reg. 297 (1979).

Note, Reciprocity for Letters Rogatory Under the Judicial Code, 58 Yale L.J. 1193, 1193-94 (1949).

Note, Taking Evidence Outside of the United States, 55 B.U. L. Rev. 368, 374 (1975).

Plaster, The Hague Evidence Convention: The Need for Guidance on Procedures and Resolution of Conflicts in International Discovery, Vanderbilt Journal of Transnational Law, Vol. 27, No. 1, pp. 185-217 (1994).

Rafalko, Depositions, Commissions and Letters Rogatory in a Conflict of Laws Case (1965), 4 Dusquesne University Law Review 115.

Robinson, Symposia: Transnational Litigation, Part I, Compelling Discovery and Evidence in International Litigation, The Int'l Law., Vol. 18, No. 3, 533 (1984).

Rosenthal & Yale-Loehr, Two Cheers for the ALI Restatement's Provisions on Foreign Discovery, 16 N.Y.U.J. Int'l L. & Pol. 1075 (1984).;

Sklaver, Obtaining Evidence in International Litigation, 7 Cumberland L. Rev. 233 (1976).

Stern, International Judicial Assistance (Part II: Depositions under Letters Rogatory) (1969), 15 Practical Lawyer 55.

Sunderland, The Use of the Letter of Request (or Letter Rogatory) for the Purpose of Obtaining Evidence for Proceedings in England and Abroad, 31 Intl and Comp L. Q. 784 (1982).

Symposium, Compelling Discovery in Transnational Litigation, 16 N.Y.U.J. Int'l L. and Pol. 957-1156; 1217-1248 (No. 5, Summer 1984).

Symposium, Obtaining Foreign Discovery and Evidence for Use in Litigation in the United States, 13 Int'l L. 3, 46 (1979).

Van Brauman, Foreign Evidence Gathering and Discovery for U.S. Civil Tax Determination Purposes, 30 Int'l Law. 589, 619 (1996).

Von Mehren, Discovery of Documentary and Other Evidence in a Foreign Country, 77 Am. J. Int'l Law 896 (1983).

Von Mehren, Discovery Abroad: The Perspective of the U.S. Private Practitioner, 16 N.Y.U. J. Int'l L. & Pol. 985, 993 (1984).

Selected Cases:

DBMS Consultants, Ltd. v. Computer Assocs. Int'l, Inc., 131 F.R.D. 367, 369 (D. Mass. 1990); See, United States v. Zabady, 546 F. Supp. 35, 39 n. 9 (M.D. Pa. 1982); Rio Tinto Zinc Corp.V. Westinghouse Elec. Corp., (1978) 2 W.L.R. 81, 1All E.R. 434 (H.L. 1977); Reagan v. United States, 453 F.2d 165 (C.A. 6 1971); Re Raychem Corp. v. Canusa Coating Sys., Inc., (1970) 14 D.L.R. 3d 684; Zassenhaus v. Evening Star Newspaper Co., 404 F.2d 1361 (C.A.D.C. 1968); United States v. Paraffin Wax, 2255 Bags, 23 F.R.D. 298 (E.D.N.Y. 1959); Danisch, et al v. The Guardian Life Insurance Co., 19 F.R.D. 235 (1956); Re Radio Corp of America v. Rauland Corp., (1956) 5 D.L.R. 2d 424; Uebersee Finanz-Korporation, A.G. v. Brownell, 121 F. Supp. 420 (D.D.C. 1954); Wheeler v. West India S.S. Co., 22 Fed. Rules Decisions 396 (1951); The Edmund Fanning petition of Isbrandtsen Co., Inc., 89 Fed. Supp. 282 (1950); Ali Akber Kiachif et al. v. Philco International Corporation, 10 F.R.D. 277 (1950); The Signe, 37 F. Supp. 819, 820 (E.D. La. 1941); The Mandu, 11 F. Supp. 845 (E.D.N.Y. 1935); De Villeneuve v. Morning Journal Ass'n., 206 F.70 (S.D.N.Y. 1913)., Gross v. Palmer t al, C.C.N.D. Ill. 1900, 105 F. 833; Nelson v. United States, 17 Fed. Cas. 1340 (No. 10.116) (C.C.D.Pa. 1816); Winthrop v. Union Ins. Co., 30 Fed. Cas. 376 (No. 17901) (C.C.D.Pa. 1807.)

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: The Office of American Citizens Services has available general information flyers on international judicial assistance.

Using the Internet: These are available on the Internet via the Department of State, Bureau of Consular Affairs home page under Judicial Assistance . See also, the Department of State, Office of the Legal Adviser for Private International Law home page for information regarding private international law unification. See also the home pages for many of our embassies.

QUESTIONS: Additional questions regarding letters rogatory should be addressed to the appropriate geographic division of the Office of American Citizens Services, Tel: (202) 647-5225 or (202) 647-5226.

EXAMPLE - LETTER ROGATORY:

SAMPLE REQUEST FOR INTERNATIONAL JUDICIAL ASSISTANCE

NAME OF COURT IN SENDING STATE REQUESTING JUDICIAL ASSISTANCE

NAME OF PLAINTIFF

DOCKET NUMBER

V.

NAME OF DEFENDANT

REQUEST FOR INTERNATIONAL JUDICIAL ASSISTANCE (LETTER ROGATORY)

(NAME OF THE REQUESTING COURT) PRESENTS ITS COMPLIMENTS TO THE APPROPRIATE JUDICIAL AUTHORITY OF (NAME OF RECEIVING STATE), AND REQUESTS INTERNATIONAL JUDICIAL ASSISTANCE TO (OBTAIN EVIDENCE/EFFECT SERVICE OF PROCESS) TO BE USED IN A (CIVIL, CRIMINAL, ADMINISTRATIVE) PROCEEDING BEFORE THIS COURT IN THE ABOVE CAPTIONED MATTER. A (TRIAL/HEARING) ON THIS MATTER IS SCHEDULED AT PRESENT FOR (DATE) IN (CITY, STATE, COUNTRY).

THIS COURT REQUESTS THE ASSISTANCE DESCRIBED HEREIN AS NECESSARY IN THE INTERESTS OF JUSTICE. THE ASSISTANCE REQUESTED IS THAT THE APPROPRIATE JUDICIAL AUTHORITY OF (NAME OF RECEIVING STATE) (COMPEL THE APPEAR OF THE BELOW NAMED INDIVIDUALS TO GIVE EVIDENCE/PRODUCE DOCUMENTS) (EFFECT SERVICE OF PROCESS UPON THE BELOW NAMED INDIVIDUALS).

(NAMES OF WITNESSES/PERSONS TO BE SERVED)

(NATIONALITY OF WITNESSES/PERSONS TO BE SERVED)

(ADDRESSED OF WITNESSES/PERSONS TO BE SERVED)

(DESCRIPTION OF DOCUMENTS OR OTHER EVIDENCE TO BE PRODUCED)

FACTS

(THE FACTS OF THE CASE PENDING BEFORE THE REQUESTING COURT SHOULD BE STATED BRIEFLY HERE, INCLUDING A LIST OF THOSE LAWS OF THE SENDING STATE WHICH GOVERN THE MATTER PENDING BEFORE THE COURT IN THE RECEIVING STATE.)

(QUESTIONS)

(IF THE REQUEST IS FOR EVIDENCE, THE QUESTIONS FOR THE WITNESSES SHOULD BE LISTED HERE).

(LIST ANY SPECIAL RIGHTS OF WITNESSES PURSUANT TO THE LAWS OF THE REQUESTING STATE HERE).

(LIST ANY SPECIAL METHODS OR PROCEDURES TO BE FOLLOWED).

(INCLUDE REQUEST FOR NOTIFICATION OF TIME AND PLACE FOR EXAMINATION OF WITNESSES/DOCUMENTS BEFORE THE COURT IN THE RECEIVING STATE HERE).

RECIPROCITY

THE REQUESTING COURT SHOULD INCLUDE A STATEMENT EXPRESSING A WILLINGNESS TO PROVIDE SIMILAR ASSISTANCE TO JUDICIAL AUTHORITIES OF THE RECEIVING STATE.

REIMBURSEMENT FOR COSTS

THE REQUESTING COURT SHOULD INCLUDE A STATEMENT EXPRESSING A WILLINGNESS TO REIMBURSE THE JUDICIAL AUTHORITIES OF THE RECEIVING STATE FOR COSTS INCURRED IN EXECUTING THE REQUESTING COURT'S LETTER ROGATORY.

SIGNATURE OF REQUESTING JUDGE

TYPED NAME OF REQUESTING JUDGE

NAME OF REQUESTING COURT

CITY, STATE, COUNTRY

DATE

(SEAL OF COURT)

Return to Judicial Assistance Page