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What is Service of Process and Can I Serve by Mail to a Defendant in Canada – Read to Find Out

By June 21, 2022September 30th, 2022No Comments

Service of process (“Service”) is the process by which a party to a lawsuit gives the appropriate notice of initial legal action to another party.

Within the United States, Service is usually personal, meaning that the “process server” has to physically deliver the lawsuit to the defendant’s hand. With some exceptions, that is the general rule.

When it comes to international cases, Federal Rules of Civil Procedure state the following regarding Service:

Unless federal law provides otherwise, an individual . . . may be served at a place not within any judicial district of the United States:

(1) by any internationally agreed means of service that is reasonably calculated to give notice, such as those authorized by the Hague Convention on the Service Abroad of Judicial and Extrajudicial Documents.

Article 2 of the Hague Convention provides that each contracting state shall designate a Central Authority that will receive requests for service from other contracting States. Convention, 20 U.S.T. 361.

Additionally, Article 10(a) of the Convention provides that if “the State of destination does not object, the . . . Convention shall not interfere with . . . the freedom to send judicial documents, by postal channels, directly to persons abroad.” Id. Tracfone Wireless, Inc. v. Bitton, 278 F.R.D. 687, 689-90 (S.D. Fla. 2012).

Canada does not object to the use of regular mail as a method for service. See (declaring, in reference to Article 10(a), that “Canada does not object to service by postal channels” and “Canadian law allows the use of postal channels to serve Canadian documents to persons abroad”). From Tracfone Wireless, Inc. v. Bitton, 278 F.R.D. 687, 690 (S.D. Fla. 2012).

Thus, if you have a defendant domiciled in Canada, you can simply serve that Canadian defendant by regular mail. This is big, because, in many cases, defendants avoid lawsuits all together by hiding under service of process laws that require that service be effected personally (i.e.: physically).

If you have a question about service of process, International legal issues involving Canada, or any other litigation problem, contact a litigation attorney at Ayala at 305-570-2208 or email business lawyer Eduardo A. Maura at

You can also schedule a case evaluation online at


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