Serving companies and individuals in Brazil in connection with suits abroad has just become easier as, on 20 March 2019, Brazil formally adhered to the 1965 Hague Convention on the Service Abroad of Judicial and Extrajudicial Documents in Civil or Commercial Matters (the Hague Service Convention). The Hague Service Convention will come into force in Brazil on 1 June 2019.
The convention – with its 74 contracting countries – should expedite both the summons of Brazilian parties involved in foreign proceedings and the service of parties abroad in connection with Brazilian litigation.
Although Brazil has specifically objected to both mail and agent services (available under the Hague Service Convention), improvements are still expected in this cumbersome procedure of formally notifying parties about the existence of suits in another jurisdiction.
The convention's multilingual (and widely tested) model form, which is divided into three parts (ie, request, certificate and summary and warning), reduces uncertainty and promotes efficiency in the transmission of documents between each country's judicial authorities.
Once enacted, there will be no need to legalise documents attached to the model form and the transmission of service papers between central authorities will no longer need to go through diplomatic channels – something which required the participation of yet another government body, the Ministry of Foreign Relations.
The central Brazilian authority under the Hague Service Convention will be the recently empowered Ministry of Justice and Public Security (MJSP). Under the leadership of Sergio Moro, the former judge and internationally recognised crusader against corruption, the MJSP will be solely responsible for handling service requests under the convention.
In this sense, the Hague Service Convention clearly departs from the more formalistic and two-tiered approach of the so-called 'letters rogatory'. However, Brazil remains a member of the Inter-American Convention on Letters Rogatory, which is still seen as the go-to convention for service of process involving Latin American countries that are yet to adopt the Hague Service Convention.(1)
Brazil's ascension to the convention is certainly good news for a country that is slowly but surely adhering to more treaties and conventions regarding cooperation in civil and commercial disputes.
This article was first published by the International Law Office, a premium online legal update service for major companies and law firms worldwide. Register for a free subscription.