Serving a legal document across international borders
Impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic in Australia
Due to COVID-19 restrictions, service of legal documents across international borders will likely be subject to delays or restrictions. The length of the delay will depend on the state or territory in which you are seeking service.
Serving a foreign civil legal document in Australia
Requests for service will still be processed in all Australian jurisdictions. All Australian jurisdictions anticipate delays in executing requests for service.
To help minimise delays, the Requesting Authority should provide the following information when sending a new service request to the Australian Central Authority:
- contact name
- phone number
- email address.
For specific information on individual jurisdictions, contact the relevant Australian authority directly:
Australian Capital Territory
New South Wales
Serving an Australian civil legal document overseas
For service of Australian civil legal documents overseas, the length of the delay will depend on the country in which you are seeking to have documents served.
For more information, contact the relevant overseas authority.
Serve a legal document in Australia
This fact sheet outlines how to serve a foreign civil legal document in Australia:
The Requesting Authority must comply with any declarations, reservations or notifications made by Australia relating to the Hague Service Convention. Practical information about Australia, including any declarations, reservations or notifications, is available on the Hague Conference website.
Serve a legal document overseas
This fact sheet outlines how to serve an Australian civil legal document overseas:
The Requesting Authority in Australia must comply with any declarations, reservations or notifications made by the overseas country relating to the Hague Service Convention. Practical information about each country is available on the Hague Conference website.
Download a Model Form
Visit the Hague Conference website to download the Request for service of documents model form.
For requests to serve civil legal documents overseas, Australian litigants should refer to the relevant Australian Court rules for any form requirements.
If the relevant Australian Court does not provide a form for making a request, we recommend that litigants use the Model Form.
For requests to serve foreign civil legal documents in Australia, foreign litigants should refer to the relevant court rules in their jurisdiction for any form requirements.
- Hague Conference on Private International Law – Service:
- Hague Service Convention – Full text
- United States Department of State – Judicial Assistance – Country Specific Information
- European Commission – European Judicial Network – Service of Documents