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In accordance with Rule 11.4 of the Uniform Civil Procedure Rules (UCPR) documents commencing new proceedings in the Supreme Court may be served overseas without leave of the Court in certain circumstances, see Schedule 6 of the UCPR. Service of new proceedings in any other circumstances will require leave of the Court, see UCPR rule 11.5.
Any other document may be served outside Australia with the leave of the court, see UCPR 11.8AB.
A document that is served outside Australia does not need to be personally served as long as it is served in accordance with the law of the country in which service is effected, see UCPR rule 11.8AC.
Alternatively, plaintiffs can request the Registrar to arrange service. The procedure for making a request to the Registrar is set out in UCPR rule 11.10. The Registrar will forward the documents to the Legal Services Branch of the Department of Attorney General and Justice to arrange for the documents to be sent overseas. The plaintiff will need to undertake to pay any expenses related to service.
Plaintiffs may also request service overseas in countries that are signatories to the Hague Convention on the Service Abroad of Judicial and Extrajudicial Documents in Civil or Commercial Matters. The procedure for making such a request is set out in UCPR rule 11A.4. The applicant requesting service pursuant to the Hague Convention will be liable for any associated costs (see UCPR rule 11A.7) .
The registry will arrange service of documents in New South Wales from overseas courts if a request is made from an appropriate officer of the overseas court.
If the requesting court is covered by a convention with Australia in relation to the service of documents, the request can be sent through the Legal Services Branch of the Department of Attorney General and Justice or may be made directly to the Court.
If the requesting court is not covered by a convention in relation to the service of documents it needs to be approved by the Attorney General, and the request should be sent through the Legal Services Branch.
The documents that need to be provided, in addition to the documents to be served, are set out in UCPR rule 11.14. If the documents to be served are not in English a translation and a copy of the translation are required.
Alternatively, parties to overseas proceedings may make a request for service of documents in New South Wales if the documents to be served are in relation to proceedings in a country that is a signatory to the Hague Convention on the Service Abroad of Judicial and Extrajudicial Documents in Civil or Commercial Matters. Such a request will need to be sent from an authorised forwarding authority in the overseas country.
The requirements for a request for service of overseas documents in New South Wales pursuant to the Hague Convention are set out in UCPR rule 11A.13. If the documents to be served are not in English then a certified English translation of the document must be provided.
When the registry receives a request for service of overseas documents, it will be checked to ensure that it complies with the relevant requirements. If it does comply with the requirements the overseas documents will be sent to the Sheriff's Office to arrange service. If the Sheriff successfully serves the documents an affidavit of service and an invoice for the Sheriff's fees and any expenses will be sent to the Court. The Sheriff will also report back to the Court if the documents cannot be served, and will invoice for any attempts at service. Any cheques or money orders for payment of a service fee are to be made out to the "Sheriff of NSW". Please refer to the Sheriff's Office's website for more information about their processes and fees for serving legal documents.
Service of overseas documents in New South Wales may be arranged privately subject to the rules of the Court from which those documents originate.
For further information as to the role of the Department of the Attorney General and Justice, the Australian Attorney General and the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade in relation to requests for service of document, we suggest you visit the Legal Services Branch's website.
An originating process or any other document may be served in New Zealand under Division 2 ofPart 2 of the Trans-Tasman Proceedings Act 2010 (Cth).
02 Sep 2023
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