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 Serving a legal document across international borders

Serving a legal document is an important procedural step in a formal legal dispute. There are generally a number of ways to serve a legal document across an international border. The methods of serving a document will depend on the country in ​which the documents are to be served.

Impacts of the coronavirus (COVID-19 pandemic)

Service of legal documents across international borders will likely be subject to delays or restrictions in all Australian states and territories. The length of the delay will depend on the state or territory in which you are seeking to have documents served.

Serving a foreign civil legal document in Australia

New South Wales

Service requests will still be processed and executed. However, New South Wales anticipates delays in processing and executing service requests. If a party to the proceedings overseas wants to dispense with personal service requirements, they would need to apply to the Supreme Court of New South Wales for substituted service by way of filing a summons and affidavit in support. Filing fees apply.

Queensland

Queensland continues to process and execute requests for service. No alternate service options are currently being used. However, alternate options will be used if the requesting authority provides guidance and permission to do so. Options may include electronic service or postal service.

Serving a civil legal document overseas

For service of Australian legal documents overseas, the length of the delay will depend on the country in which you are seeking to have documents served.
Email pil@ag.gov.au to find out more.

Information about serving a civil legal document overseas

This fact sheet outlines the various methods for serving a civil legal document overseas:

Information about serving a foreign civil legal document in Australia

This fact sheet outlines the various methods for serving a foreign civil legal document in Australia:

Useful information

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