|Party to Hague Service Convention?||Yes|
|Party to Hague Evidence Convention?||Yes|
|Party to Hague Apostille Convention?||Yes|
|Party to Inter-American Convention?||No|
|Service of Process by Mail?||Yes|
DISCLAIMER: THE INFORMATION IS PROVIDED FOR GENERAL INFORMATION ONLY AND MAY NOT BE TOTALLY ACCURATE IN A SPECIFIC CASE. QUESTIONS INVOLVING INTERPRETATION OF SPECIFIC FOREIGN LAWS SHOULD BE ADDRESSED TO THE APPROPRIATE FOREIGN AUTHORITIES OR FOREIGN COUNSEL.
France is a party to the Hague Convention on the Service Abroad of Judicial and Extra Judicial Documents in Civil and Commercial Matters. Complete information on the operation of the Convention, including an interactive online request form are available on the Hague Conference website. Requests should be completed in duplicate and submitted with two sets of the documents to be served, and translations, directly to France’s Central Authority for the Hague Service Convention. The person in the United States executing the request form should be either an attorney or clerk of court. The applicant should include the titles attorney at law or clerk of court on the identity and address of applicant and signature/stamp fields. For additional information see the Hague Conference Service Convention website and theHague Conference Practical Handbook on the Operation of the Hague Service Convention. See also France’s response to the 2008 Hague Conference questionnaire on the practical operation of the Service Convention. If a U.S. litigant does not wish to use the free service offered by the French Central Authority, that office has no objection to service being made by a French huissier (bailiff).The names and address of huissiers anywhere in France can be obtained by contacting the Chambre Nationale des Huissiers de Justice.
Service on a Foreign State: See also our Service Under the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act (FSIA) feature and FSIA Checklist for questions about service on a foreign state, agency or instrumentality.
Service of Documents from France in the United States: See information about service in the United States on the U.S. Central Authority for the Service Convention page of the Hague Conference on Private International Law Service Convention site.
Prosecution Requests: U.S. federal or state prosecutors should also contact the Office of International Affairs, Criminal Division, Department of Justice for guidance.
Defense Requests in Criminal Matters: The U.S. Department of State expects criminal defendants, or their defense counsel, who wish to request judicial assistance in obtaining evidence or in effecting service of documents abroad in connection with criminal matters to make such requests via the letters rogatory process.
France is a party to the Hague Convention on the Taking of Evidence Abroad in Civil and Commercial Matters. The French Central Authority for the Hague Evidence Convention designated to receive letters of request for the taking of evidence is the Ministry of Justice. See the Hague Evidence Convention Model Letters of Request for guidance on preparation of the letter of request. Requests for the compulsion of evidence under the Hague Evidence Convention are transmitted directly from the requesting court or person in the United States to the French Central Authority and do not require transmittal via diplomatic channels. Letters of Request and accompanying documents should be prepared in duplicate and translated into French. See France’s Declarations and Reservations regarding the Hague Evidence Convention. See also France’s response to the 2008 Hague Conference questionnaire on the practical operation of the Hague Evidence Convention.
Requests from France to Obtain Evidence in the United States: The U.S. Central Authority for the Hague Evidence Convention is the Office of International Judicial Assistance, Civil Division, Department of Justice, 1100 L St., N.W., Room 11006, Washington, D.C. 20530.
Voluntary depositions may be conducted in France of U.S. citizens. Depositions of French citizens and third country nationals require prior permission of the French Central Authority for the Hague Evidence Convention and require a commission issued by a court in the United States. The French Central Authority will not approve any deposition taken on notice. The U.S. Embassy or Consulate must have the documentation at least 45 days prior to the proposed deposition date and French translations in order to request permission of the French Central Authority. The commission to take the deposition must reference the Hague Evidence Convention, must include precise information on:
A deposit for fees is required and can be arranged through the Embassy or Consulate where the deposition will take place. The Embassy or Consulate will notify all parties planning to attend the deposition of the date set as soon as authorization has been received from the Ministry of Justice.
The deposition must be held on Embassy or Consulate premises. If participants wish to hold the deposition elsewhere, they must explain fully why it cannot be held on Embassy or Consulate premises, and the Ministry of Justice will decide whether such a request can be approved. The deposition must be open to the public. - The date and time of the deposition must be communicated to the Ministry of Justice in advance. The witnesses must be summoned by written notice in French at least 15 days in advance of the deposition date. The written notice, sent by the Consulate or Embassy, must include assurances that appearances are voluntary, that the witnesses may be represented by a lawyer, and that the parties to the case have consented to the deposition. The Embassy or Consulate will request authorization for the deposition from the Ministry of Justice.