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Serving Papers

Serving Papers / Process of Service

A local lawyer is the best person to help you service court documents to residents of Jamaica.  We have a list of attorneys on our website who can provide you with assistance in learning about the informal methods of service of process.  In addition, you might try contacting The Kingston Legal Aid Clinic, 876-922-3792, 876-922-3761, 876-922-3556, kgnlegaid@yahoo.com.

The American Citizens Services unit at the Embassy in Kingston or at the Consular Agency on Montego Bay can notarize the return of service, and this is recommended over using a local notary.

The following is additional information about why and how services of process are conducted in Jamaica:

Jamaica is not a signer of The Hague Service Convention which simplifies the use of Letters Rogatory for service of process.  However, the following United Kingdom convention does apply to Jamaica.

3 U.S.T. 3426; 1951 U.S.T. LEXIS 519, June 6, 1951, Date-Signed September 7, 1952 Date-in-Force.  Under Part VI, Article 17(g) “a consular officer may within his district…serve judicial documents on behalf of the sending state in a manner permitted under special arrangements on this subject between the High Contacting Parties or otherwise no inconsistent with the laws of the territory.”

However, 22 CFR 92.86 states as follows:
Service of legal process usually prohibited.
The service of process and legal papers is not normally a Foreign Service function.  Except when directed by the Department of State, officers of the Foreign Service are prohibited from serving process or  legal papers or appointing other persons to do. [32 FR 11776, Aug. 16,  1967]

One must therefore resort to the formal process of Letters Rogatory or informal service with the aid of a Jamaican attorney or private process server.  Letters Rogatory is process that is used for serving pleadings in countries which are not signers of the Hague Service Convention. The court in your jurisdiction would issue a request to a court here in Jamaica requesting international judicial assistance related to service of process.  This is a time-consuming process.

If you want the judgment to ultimately be enforceable in Jamaica you must conform to the rules of procedure here in Jamaica.  The following is a link to the Jamaican Rules of Civil Procedure, but you must verify that this is the most up-to-date version: http://www.moj.gov.jm/testings.  Part 5 deals with service of process.  The requirements for proper service are similar to the rules for service in the United States.  It should be possible to craft your service of process and your proof of service of process to meet both the requirements in your state in the U.S. and in Jamaica, but you should find someone trustworthy to assist you.