Vanderbilt Journal of Transnational Law


Rita M. Alliss

First Page



This Note addresses the current United States approach to the Hague Convention on the Service Abroad of Judicial and Extrajudicial Documents in Civil or Commercial Matters. The Note recognizes a split in United States case law concerning whether strict compliance with the Hague Service Convention is required. While some United States courts focus on the scope of the Convention and United States due process concepts to avoid strict compliance, other courts, especially state courts, require strict compliance with the Convention under the supremacy clause of the United States Constitution. The author focuses on service on foreign state corporations by substituted service on United States domestic subsidiaries as agents of foreign corporations.

The Note presents the United States Supreme Court's answer to the split in the case law in favor of the interpretation requiring mandatory application of the Hague Service Convention. The author considers the effect of this interpretation on a second split in United States case law concerning whether the Convention allows service by mail. Based on this and other effects of the Supreme Court's solution, the author concludes that this ostensible answer falls short of affording the Convention true supremacy. The Court falters by focusing solely on its interpretation of the scope of the Convention and by failing to look at all the purposes of the Convention, which the author argues is the better reasoned approach.