Letters rogatory are formal requests from a court in one country to “the appropriate judicial authorities” in another country that can request service of judicial documents. Although statutory authority generally refers to the instrument as “letters rogatory,” the terms “letters rogatory” and “letter of request” are synonymous in actual practice. Letters rogatory are transmitted through diplomatic channels from the requesting authority to the requested authority. Letters rogatory are received and executed on the basis of comity and reciprocity.
Incoming requests for service should be translated into English, provide the address of the individual to be served, and must be accompanied by a $95.00 USD fee. Requests are submitted by the foreign requesting authority to the U.S. Department of State, Office of Consular Services.
Please note, outgoing requests for service being sent pursuant to diplomatic channels can be sent directly from the competent authority requesting service to the U.S. Department of State and do not need to be sent through ABC Legal.
The U.S. Department of State offers further information on letters rogatory here. Additional guidance is available through the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of International Judicial Assistance website here, specifically in the OIJA Guidance on Service Abroad in U.S. Litigation.