Legal Translation Services to Comply with the IACAP

Document Translation Services for the Inter-American Convention on Letters Rogatory and Additional Protocol

We’ve blogged about legal translation services to comply with the Hague Convention on Service Abroad of Judicial and Extrajudicial Documents in Civil and Commercial Matters. In addition to being party to the Hague Convention on Service Abroad, the United States is party to another multilateral treaty of service abroad called the Inter-American Convention on Letters Rogatory and Additional Protocol (IACAP), along the following eleven Latin American countries: Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Guatemala, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay, and Venezuela.

Rule 4(f)(1) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure permits service through “any internationally agreed means of service that is reasonably calculated to give notice.” An internationally agreed means of service, whose validity has been affirmed by the courts is the Inter-American Convention on Letters Rogatory and Additional Protocol (IACAP).

The United States Department of State website summarizes the IACAP as follows: “Replacing the traditional letters rogatory process, the IACAP provides a mechanism for service of documents by a foreign central authority. The Department of Justice is the U.S. Central Authority under the IACAP.”

English to Portuguese, and English to Spanish Translation for International Service of Process

An important factor for the IACAP is legal translation from English to Spanish for the international service of process to Spanish-speaking Latin American countries, and English to Brazilian Portuguese translation for the service of process to Brazil. For the document to be served in Latin America, the summons and complaint must be translated to the language of the country in which they are to be served, i.e. either to Portuguese, or to Spanish.

Seaboat Navigation US Inc. v. Turismos Hielos Atarticos, LTDA, No. C19-0070JLR (W.D. Wash. Mar. 25, 2019) was a breach of contract case, with the U.S.-based plaintiff alleging that the defendant based in Chile failed to deliver a vessel after the defendant paid over $150,000 towards the purchase price. The court noted that under the guidelines of the Inter American Convention, the summons and complaint to be served on the foreign defendant needed to be translated to Spanish.

In Burst v. Hai, Civil Action. No. 20-374-JWD-SDJ (M.D. La. Feb. 23, 2021) the U.S.-based plaintiff sought to serve a defendant located in Panama. The court noted that both the U.S. and Panama are signatories to the IACAP, and to effect the international process of service under the IACAP, the serving party must first complete the official forms. The court pointed out various mistakes the plaintiff had made in filling out those forms. Notably, the court also noted that the plaintiff had failed to provide English to Spanish translation of the pertinent documents. Accordingly, the court ruled that the plaintiff would not be able to effect the international service of process to Panama.

Legal Translation of Summons and Complaint to Portuguese and to Spanish

Legal translation service All Language Alliance, Inc. provides English to Brazilian Portuguese legal translation services, and English to Spanish legal translation services to comply with the international service of process to Brazil and to the Spanish-speaking Latin American countries that are members of the IACAP.  Reach out to us to inquire about Portuguese deposition interpreter services for video depositions via Zoom, and Spanish deposition translation services for Zoom depositions for the cases where the deponents are located anywhere in the world.

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