Vanderbilt Journal of Transnational Law

First Page



This Case Comment discusses the ability of a United States plaintiff to serve process pursuant to the Hague Service Convention on a defendant residing in Japan. The United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit held that the Convention generally prohibits service on foreign defendants by registered mail. This Case Comment discusses the history of the case, the objectives of the Convention, the law of service of process in Japan, and United States law of service of process on foreign parties under the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. The author then discusses United States common law interpreting article 10(a) of the Convention. Currently, there exists a split of authority within the United States courts regarding whether service of process can be effectuated on a foreign defendant by use of the mails; one view strictly interprets the Convention to prevent service by mail while the broader interpretation seeks to facilitate service abroad. The author contends that although the underlying analysis used by United States courts to interpret article 10(a) is correct, the holdings that either generally prevent or generally facilitate service are overly broad so as to confuse the analysis. Instead, the author suggests that the courts should state explicitly that their holdings depend on the internal laws of the recipient state as they apply to the Hague Service Convention.