Update on the Hague Service Convention In Mexico

Back in July 2011, I commented on some problems with implementation of the Hague Service Convention in Mexico. The Mexico situation caught others’ attention, too. In November 2011, the Consultoría Jurídica of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in collaboration with the Permanent Bureau of the Hague Conference and the Mexican Central Authority, held a workshop in Mexico City. Here are some highlights of the conclusions and recommendations:

  1. Mexico has amended its declarations. You can read the declarations in their entirety at the Hague Conference website, but I want to draw attention to Mexico’s position with regard to service by mail. The English translation of Mexico’s older declarations was ambiguous, as we saw in the discussion of Mitchell v. Volkswagen, but the new declaration leaves no room for doubt: ” In accordance with Article 21, second paragraph, subparagraph a), Mexico declares that it is opposed to the use in its territory of the methods of transmission provided for in Article 10.”
  2. The participants acknowledged that the competence of a forwarding authority is determined by the law of the sending state rather than the receiving state, that the model form should be signed by the forwarding authority but need not be signed by a court official.
  3. The participants acknowledged that “time limits for responses by addressees are subject to the law of the requesting State, not the requested State,” and that the Central Authority “may not condition compliance on requirements of its own internal law or existing judicial decisions.” This seems to be a reference to the the Mexican Central Authority’s insistence (its former insistence?) that a US summons indicate that the defendant has 21 calendar days to answer the complaint.
  4. The participants acknowledged that in some cases, service of process had be contested using recurso de amparo proceedings. The participants encouraged dissemination of information about the Convention to Mexican judges so as to make them aware of the requirements of the Convention.

This Post Has 5 Comments

  1. Susan Vogel

    Hi Ted,

    Thank you for all the information on your website.

    I help pro se litigants, many Spanish speaking, who are trying to divorce spouses in Mexico or get custody of their kids in the U.S. when the other parent is in Mexico.

    Is this the state of the law in light of Mexico’s clarifications?

    If the defendant’s whereabouts in Mexico are unknown, the Hague Convention does not apply, and the plaintiff can seek, through the U.S. court, alternative service via email, facebook, etc.

    If the defendant’s whereabouts in Mexico are known, the plaintiff must 1) have the defendant accept service voluntarily via signing an acceptance of service and returning original to court/plaintiff; 2) appear voluntarily via filing an answer not contesting jurisdiction; or 3) attempt Hague service.

    If Hague service is not accomplished (Mexico is unable to serve), plaintiff can serve by other means, like mail, as long as plaintiff ends up with proof of actual service (i.e., signature on Fed Ex slip). In this case, plaintiff can file a proof of service and proceed with case in U.S., getting default if defendant does not file an answer.
    (Hague, section 15, first paragraph?) Or does Article 21, which you quoted prohibit this?

    It would be nice to have an easy flowchart of Hague service in Mexico. 🙂

  2. John Gonzalez

    Seeking assistance for Aunt in Mexico whose husband (62years old ) a US citizen for nearly 5 years is requesting immediate divorce from her after 30 years of marriage, never attempted to fulfill his fatherly duties to provide for 3 children and extracted her wealth in Mexico.

  3. susane

    i was grated a default judgement on my divorce from a mexican citizen, married in mex divorced in washington state, was authorized via mail, he signed, proof of service, does this mean even though the hague convention applies to this, this judgement will not be upheld in the state of Jalisco? is the only recourse to re divorce in mexico? any other ideas?

    and mexico even though a signer to the hague convention, can do as it pleases?

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