Serving foreign process in Chile

“You’re served.”

Those are two words many people don’t want to hear, but they are the words from which Jorge Salgado-Reyes and his process servers make their livings. Unfortunately there is no Spanish equivalent to those words. “Te he servido” just doesn’t have the same ring to it and actually refers to serving in a food context.

British Process Servers GuideAs Chile based process servers, Jorge Salgado-Reyes and his Private Investigator agency Salgado Investigations deliver important legal documents to people who are supposed to appear in court — people who sometimes don’t want to receive these important legal documents.

A legal process server delivers legal documents such as Court Orders, Injunctions, Non-Molestation Orders, Anti Social Behaviour Orders, Summons, Subpoenas, complaints and other civil court documents to a defendant or an individual involved in a court case.

But they don’t just serve people to appear in court.

“We deliver all kinds of legal documents,” Jorge said. “We deliver a number of foreign Solicitor’s documents, letters and personal records in child support, divorce and family law cases.”

Using official channels in Chile

In Chile, Judiciary Officials do the serving for any home grown legal cases.

This is why you will not find many process servers in Chile.  All the private investigators in Chile (and there are hardly any) have no experience in serving foreign legal documents.

Chile is not a party to the Hague Convention on the Service Abroad of Judicial and Extra Judicial Documents in Civil and Commercial Matters. But see Chile’s response to the 2008 Hague Conference on Private International Law questionnaire on the practical operation of the Hague Service Convention.

The United States and Chile are parties to the Inter-American Convention on Letters Rogatory and Additional Protocol. The U.S. Central Authority for the treaty is the U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Division, Office of Foreign Litigation, Washington, D.C. Requests for service under the Inter-American Convention on Letters Rogatory and Additional Protocol may be sent to the U.S. Department of Justice’s contractor, Process Forwarding International (PFI), for transmittal to the Chilean Central Authority.

The official way for a party who wishes to serve any kind of process issued by a foreign court in civil proceedings is for the issuing court to send a formal request through the US Central Authority seeking the assistance of the Chilean Central Authority to serve the documents.

What this means

That procedure can result in significant delay. The time taken to process a request for service will vary in each case and it is difficult to estimate how long it may take. However, normally delays of at least four to twelve months can be expected, and sometimes they are substantially longer.

The Chilean authorities have previously advised that no charges will be imposed for service of documents received through the diplomatic channel. This information has not recently been verified.

Documents have to be translated into Spanish and legalised by the appropriate department at the Chilean Consulate.

If you anticipate attaching assets in Chile, going through the official channel is the only available procedure.

Another way?

Salgado Investigations is one of a few firms (perhaps the only one) that specializes in international service of process in Chile and offers competitive rates on foreign services.   Our job is to cut through the bureaucracy and red tape to get the service completed with as little delay as possible.

Service is normally handled in the manner specified by the rules of service of the originating country, although completion of the service usually takes longer. Customs and traditions in other countries tend to lead to a slower pace and less rigid work habits, particularly in Latin American countries.

Is it specifically prohibited (in Chile) to serve someone personally with a foreign lawsuit?

Having been recently asked this question by an American lawyer, it was decided to consult with a Chilean lawyer at some considerable cost. In his legal opinion;

There is no law in Chile that specifically prohibits the service of foreign legal documents on anyone in Chile

Jorge Salgado-Reyes is a Fellow who sits on the Governing Council of the World Association of Professional Investigators – WAPI  and is fully trained and experienced in the service of process in the UK.  Jorge has also co-authored the UK’s premier text for process servers, British Process Servers Guide available to purchase on Amazon.

Jorge said, “I spend a lot of time in Chile and I can see that that the Investigation industry in Chile is sadly lacking in any cohesion and professionalism.  I hope to bring British know how and experience to Chile in what is in my opinion an evolving market.”

Lawyers and other Process Servers around the world and individuals often seek our Chilean Process Servers because they can perform the duty more quickly than going through the official channels, Jorge said.

“An advantage to using the Salgado Investigation’s process servers is we’re paid to make sure that document is served — no matter how difficult it is to locate that person,” he said.

“In my case, I take it very personally. If it takes a little extra time to do it, I will. I take pride in it.”

In the personal process serving businesses, Jorge’s Investigation Agency has seen their fair share of strange occurrences when trying to serve someone. Jorge said women typically take being served personally and sometimes can respond with a vengeance.

“Women are the ones who want to get even,” he said. “When divorce papers are served … then they want to call around and find out who the other woman is.”

Jorge recently encountered a peculiar situation when he had to serve a couple an ASBO – Anti-Social Behaviour Order. Serving the one half of the couple was easy but now the other half spent a lot of energy evading us. Ultimately, he had to leave the house to go to work so we served him on his way to his car.

“A lot of people get real personal with process service,” Jorge said. “They want you to serve them when the person’s at work or in a public place. They’ll ask us to humiliate them. We get that a lot.”

But, that’s not the intent with personal process servers.

“We don’t try to embarrass them,” Jorge said. “A lot of times the defendant or plaintiff in a case will want to use a personal process server,” he said. “If it’s a cordial thing and they’re not sworn enemies, they want to be more discreet about it. “

Then there are the cases in which people simply do not want to be served.

Jorge said the law makes it hard for someone to refuse to be served.

“You can drop it at their feet (and say) ‘You’re served,'” Jorge said. “You don’t have to hand it to them.” Or alternatively if they don’t answer the door, we can post through the door as an alternate service (United Kingdom rules of service)

Sworn Affidavits & Statements

We provide any necessary formal Declarations, Sworn affidavits and Statements of Service as required.

DISCLAIMER: The information contained herein is provided for general information only and may not be accurate at the time of service in a particular case or country.  Questions involving specific services should be directed to our office.  Care should be exercised in choosing the method of service (official/informal) if eventual enforcement of a judgment is anticipated in the country where the documents are to be served. No legal advice is intended in the statements contained herein.  Instructions for international service of process are accepted on the basis that the assigning law firm has researched all applicable laws.  Foreign litigants should seek legal advice from a legal practitioner familiar with the requirements for enforcement in Chile. Salgado Investigations and its agents assume no liability for its actions in the course of any phase of the service of process assignment.