HOW THE CENTRAL AUTHORITY WORKS IN ARGENTINA

This article will provide guidance on How the central authority works in Argentina. Argentina ratified the Hague Service Convention on February 2nd, 2001, and its provisions took effect on December 1st. When seeking service in Argentina, clients should be aware of the mandatory nature of the Convention, as established in Volkswagenwerk, A.G, v. Schlunk. Adhering to the service rules of the receiving country is crucial to ensure the enforceability of a judgment, regardless of forum requirements. A private process service agency like Undisputed Legal can make a difference here.  If you found this article helpful, kindly consider leaving us a review. Click the link to share your feedback, and we would greatly appreciate a five-star review.

Letters of Request are first sent to the Central Authority or another authority of the requesting State before being sent to the Central Authority of the requested State. The Argentine Central Authority accepts letters of Request written in or translated into Spanish. Argentina seeks reimbursement of costs under Art. 14(2). There are no constitutional limitations with regard to the reimbursement of fees and costs, in connection with the execution of Letters of Request, for the service of process necessary to compel the appearance of a person to give evidence, the costs of attendance of such persons, and the costs of any transcript of the evidence (Art. 26).

Argentina has specific service requirements related to the Hague Service Convention. The Argentine government designates the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, International Trade, and Worship as the Central Authority. Service through the Central Authority is typically slow, taking at least six months to complete. However, Undisputed Legal’s local process servers could help make the execution of the Hague Service Request go smoother. Our process servers are dedicated and knowledgeable. We aim to ensure that you have the easiest experience in international service of process. Click here for a video on International Process Service.

Civil procedure in Argentina

Argentine law requires the Letter of Request to include specific questions that will be used during witness examination. The witness is not provided in advance with a copy of the questions/matters to be addressed as contained in the Letter of Request. However, documents produced by the witness must be authenticated by the court. The witness can be subject to further examination and recall through a second request.

The Inter-American Service Convention on Letters Rogatory is a treaty that governs the process of requesting judicial assistance between countries in the Americas. Argentina’s accession to the treaty requires all documents to be translated into Spanish. Central Authority does not accept untranslated documents. US due process requires the defendant’s comprehension of served documents. Translation into a third language may be necessary if the defendant does not speak English or Spanish. Undisputed Legal also provides translation services.

The governments of the Organisation of American States member states have agreed to conclude a convention on letters rogatory.  Article 2 of this Convention applies to letters rogatory issued in civil and commercial proceedings before the judicial or adjudicatory authority of a State Party. The purpose of these rogatory letters can include performing formal procedural acts like serving process or obtaining evidence and information abroad unless a reservation is made.

At Undisputed Legal, we understand that the proliferation of different international instruments can be difficult to navigate. However, we assure you that our extensive experience and knowledge of these treaties and their requirements are meant for our clients to set their minds at ease. We have prior experience serving papers in Argentina and have a local process-serving network to facilitate the process. 

Transmission of Letters Rogatory

Letters rogatory can be sent to the relevant authority by interested parties through various channels, such as judicial, diplomatic, or consular agents or the Central Authority of the respective state. States must notify the General Secretariat of the Organisation of American States about the Central Authority responsible for receiving and distributing letters. Undisputed Legal makes sure to have frequent and clarificatory contact with Central Authorities and governmental departments of different nations to render the service procedure smoother. We avoid as many potential complications of international paper service as possible to serve your papers as efficiently as possible. 

The letter is rogatory and is considered legally valid in the State of origin if it is legalized by the appropriate consular or diplomatic agent. Additionally, the letter and its accompanying documents must be translated into the official language of the State of destination. Letters rogatory transmitted through consular or diplomatic channels or the Central Authority do not require legalization.

In border areas, courts of the States Parties can directly carry out the letters rogatory mentioned in this Convention without needing legalization. The required documents for the complaint include an authenticated copy with supporting documents and any exhibits or rulings related to the requested measure. The information should also include details about the issuing authority, the time limits for action, and the consequences of not complying. If applicable, information about court-appointed defense counsel or legal aid societies in the State of origin should also be provided. At Undisputed Legal, we make it a point to ensure that documents are irreproachable, which minimizes the possibility of rejection. 

The State of destination can execute a letter rogatory through a special procedure or by following additional formalities, as requested by the issuing judicial or adjudicatory authority. However, these procedures or formalities must not violate the law of the State of destination. Article 11 states that the authority of the destination state has the power to resolve any issues that arise from carrying out the requested measure in the letter rogatory. If the authority determines it does not have jurisdiction to execute the letter rogatory, it will automatically send the case documents to the appropriate authority in the jurisdictional State.

The interested parties are responsible for covering the costs and expenses associated with processing and executing letters rogatory. The effects of a declaration in forma pauperis are governed by the law of the destination state.

Article 15 of the Convention does not restrict any provisions related to letters rogatory in bilateral or multilateral agreements signed or to be signed by the States Parties. It also does not prevent the continuation of more favorable practices followed by these States. Declarations must be sent to the General Secretariat of the Organisation of American States. Undisputed Legal’s local process servers can guide understanding of the different service requirements in different areas. 

 The Convention’s original instrument, available in English, French, Portuguese, and Spanish, will be stored with the General Secretariat of the Organisation of American States. The Secretariat will inform the Member States of the Organisation of American States and the States that have joined the Convention about signatures, deposits of ratification, accession, denunciation, and any reservations. The Plenipotentiaries, authorized by their respective Governments, have signed this Convention.

Jurisdiction in Argentina

According to the Civil and Commercial Code (CCC), the general limitation period is five years from when the obligation becomes enforceable. This term applies to contractual claims.

The CCC sets specific limitation periods for certain matters. Claims for damages must be made within three years of the occurrence of the damage or from the point at which the claimant could have reasonably become aware of the damage (section 2561, CCC).

The court structure refers to the organization and hierarchy of courts within a judicial system. It determines the levels of courts and their jurisdiction. Large commercial disputes are typically brought before a court.  The Argentinian National Constitution establishes a dual judicial system with federal and ordinary courts. The federal justice system in Argentina has authority over specific matters outlined in federal laws. The judicial courts in Buenos Aires and the provinces have jurisdiction over cases governed by common and local law.

Jurisdictions have specialized courts for different areas of law. Commercial matters are typically handled by commercial or civil and commercial courts in different jurisdictions. Each jurisdiction has first-instance courts led by a judge and appellate courts typically consisting of three judges. At Undisputed Legal, we are well-acquainted with local as well as international judicial requirements. We understand that you trust us with your papers, and we aim to uphold that trust. 

The federal civil and commercial courts in Buenos Aires have jurisdiction over various disputes, including maritime and aviation, intellectual property, and inter-jurisdictional transport. Commercial courts have jurisdiction over disputes related to commercial laws, construction agreements, leasing, corporate matters, and other general commercial issues.

The Supreme Court has jurisdiction in specific cases. The court has exclusive and original jurisdiction over cases involving ambassadors, ministers, consuls, and when a province is involved.

The jurisdiction for extraordinary appeals lies in cases where lower courts’ final judgments contradict the Constitution, a treaty, or a federal law or when the judgment is deemed arbitrary. It also applies to cases that involve federal issues.

Professionals who specialize in foreign service of process may provide you peace of mind while you focus on other areas of your legal case when you outsource this duty to them. Working with our process servers, who are well-versed in the nuances of international process service, is crucial when attempting to serve legal papers in Argentina or any other foreign jurisdiction. If you need assistance navigating the international procedure in a speedy, effective, and legal way, contact us at Undisputed Legal.

process Service in Argentina

Sending a pre-action letter is customary before filing a commercial claim in court. When sent as a formal compliance request, the pre-action letter can be used to put the debtor in default and suspend the statute of limitations for up to six months or a shorter term corresponding to the limitation period of the action (section 2541, CCC).

In the City of Buenos Aires and certain provinces in Argentina, parties are required to undergo pre-trial mediation before filing a lawsuit. The mediator initiates the process by convening a first hearing where the parties present their respective cases. Failure to attempt mandatory pre-trial mediation will result in the court suspending proceedings until the claimant demonstrates compliance with the obligation to initiate mediation. The court may penalize a party that does not attempt mediation by imposing a penalty equal to 5% of the basic salary of a first-instance judge.

The main stages of court proceedings typically include: filing a complaint, pre-trial procedures, trial, and post-trial procedures. Commercial proceedings under the CCCP generally follow a five-stage structure. In commercial disputes, it is generally expected that the parties involved take action to advance the proceedings. If the interested party fails to progress within the specified timeframes, an ‘abatement’ can be declared either by the court or upon request by the opposing party.

Abatement terminates the current proceedings rather than suspending them. The claimant can file a new complaint if the statute of limitations has not expired. The judge has the responsibility and power to prevent the procedure from being abandoned (section 36, CCCP). According to General Rule 12/2020 of the Supreme Court, all proceedings before national and federal jurisdictions (excluding criminal cases) are now initiated online. This is outlined in the ‘Procedure for receiving complaints, filing direct remedies, and complaint remedies before the court of appeals.’  To file a claim, it is necessary to complete the form and email it to the appropriate court of appeals. The court of appeals assigns a first-instance court, names and numbers the court file, creates an online docket, and validates the attorney’s electronic domicile. The claimant uploads the complaint to the online docket using the national judicial branch’s Files.

Once the preliminary requirements are fulfilled, the first instance court will issue a resolution confirming the proper submission of the complaint and the claimant’s involvement in the proceedings. The defendant is served a legal notice prepared by the claimant, approved by the court, and delivered by a court official at the defendant’s domicile. The complaint brief and documentary evidence are enclosed with the notice. The response to the complaint and the attached documents as evidence and any subsequent submissions from both parties must be filed electronically by uploading them to the online docket.

The defendant must respond to the complaint within fifteen working days of being served. The defendant must refute any contested facts in their response to the claim. The defendant is assumed to accept undisputed facts in the answer. When responding to the complaint, the defendant must clearly state the facts alleged as grounds for defense. They must meet the same requirements as the complaint. Defenses must be included in the answer. Procedural defenses, like lack of jurisdiction, can be addressed and resolved through a preliminary decision. The defendant can file a counterclaim along with their response to the complaint. The court must then allow the claimant to respond to the counterclaim.

Legal processes need an accurate record of service. Our Undisputed Legal process servers can prepare the appropriate paperwork and double-check that it complies with U.S. and Argentine law. Several potential legal hurdles and delays might arise when serving papers overseas without the appropriate information and support. Legal cases may be fraught with difficulty, but we aim to avoid these problems and deliver your papers efficiently.

Notary procedure in Argentina

Notarial services are available to individuals of all nationalities and require appointments in Argentina. The notarized document is typically used within the United States, with some exceptions.  When scheduling, all signees’ names must be included in the Name and Last Name box.  Each notary seal required will cost USD 50, payable at the Embassy on the day of appointment.

To proceed, it is necessary to provide a valid government-issued ID such as a passport, U.S. driver’s license, or Argentine DNI. The cost for a notary seal is USD 50.  Payment options include cash (dollars/pesos) or international credit card (charged in USD).   It is imperative to provide mental clarity and comprehension of the document requiring notarization since consular staff cannot explain the contents. To prevent the additional mental strain of ensuring that your papers are accepted, consider approaching a private process service agency like Undisputed Legal that can ensure your documents are approved.

Proof of corporate status is necessary to notarize a document as a corporate representative. Applicants must bring original document(s) with photocopies and appear in person. The third party must provide written authorization from the applicant, which does not need to be notarized.    

Power of Attorney is required for U.S. passport applications. A power of attorney (POA) can be signed by parents who cannot personally apply for their minor’s U.S. passport. This allows them to designate a third party to apply on their behalf. The POA must be signed before a notary public.  It is necessary to include photocopies of both sides of each parent’s original, valid, government-issued photo ID with the POA. This form must be notarized per the U.S. Department of State’s requirement, and the service is free. The Embassy does not provide apostille or authentication services for U.S. or Argentine documents.

Undisputed Legal uses our preexisting relationships with Argentinean authorities, lawyers, and other experts. This network is helpful to speed up the procedure and solve any problems that may develop. Consequently, we believe in quickly and effectively delivering legal papers to foreign recipients. We are able to execute the procedure more swiftly and effectively than an individual or non-specialized service provider because of our familiarity with the logistical constraints of foreign service. However, we never compromise on quality of service, and we conduct our due diligence for your documents. We appreciate how stressful the international service of process can be, and we keep ourselves wholeheartedly accountable to you. 

OUR PROCESS

Documents can be faxed to (800)-296-0115, emailed to ps@undisputedlegal.com, mailed to 590 Madison Avenue, 21 Floor, New York, New York 10022, or dropped off at any of our locations. We do require pre-payment and accept all major credit and debit cards. Once payment is processed, your sales receipt is immediately emailed for your records.

Drop-offs must call and make an appointment first to be added to building security to permit access to our office. Documents for service must be in a sealed envelope with payment in the form of a money order or attorney check (WE DO NOT ACCEPT CASH) payable to UNDISPUTED LEGAL INC.; Our receptionist receives all documents.

DOMESTIC COVERAGE AREAS:

Alaska | Alabama | Arkansas | Arizona | California | Colorado | Connecticut | District of Columbia | Delaware | Florida | Georgia | Hawaii | Iowa | Idaho | Illinois | Indiana | Kansas | Kentucky | Louisiana | Maryland | Massachusetts | Maine | Michigan | Minnesota | Mississippi | Missouri | Montana | North Carolina | North Dakota | Nebraska | New Hampshire | New Jersey | New Mexico | Nevada | New York | Ohio | Oklahoma | Oregon | Pennsylvania | Rhode Island | South Carolina | South Dakota | Tennessee | Texas | Utah | Virginia | Vermont | Washington | West Virginia | Wisconsin | Wyoming

INTERNATIONAL COVERAGE AREAS:

Albania | Andorra | Anguilla | Antigua | Argentina | Armenia | Australia | Austria | Azerbaijan | Bahamas | Barbados | Belarus | Belgium | Belize | Bermuda | Bosnia and Herzegovina | Botswana | Brazil | British Honduras | British Virgin Islands | Bulgaria | Canada | Cayman Islands | Central and Southern Line Islands | Chile|China (Macao) | China People’s Republic | Colombia | Costa Rica | Country of Georgia | Croatia | Cyprus | Czech Republic | Denmark | Dominican Republic | Ecuador | Egypt | Estonia | Falkland Islands and Dependences | Fiji | Finland | France | Germany | Gibraltar | Gilbert and Ellice Islands | Greece | Guernsey | Hong Kong | Hungary | Iceland | India | Ireland | Isle of Man | Israel | Italy | Jamaica | Japan | Jersey Channel Islands | Jordan | Kazakhstan | Korea | Kuwait | Latvia | Lithuania | Luxembourg| Malawi | Malaysia | Malta | Mauritius | Mexico| MonacoMontenegro | Montserrat | Morocco | Namibia | Netherlands| New Zealand |Nicaragua | Norway | Pakistan | Panama | Paraguay | Peru | Philippines | Pitcairn |Poland| Portugal | Republic of Moldova | Republic of North Macedonia | Romania |Russian Federation | Saint Vincent and the Grenadines | San Marino | Saudi Arabia | Serbia | Seychelles | Singapore| Slovakia | Slovenia | South Africa | Spain | Sri Lanka | St. Helena and Dependencies | St. Lucia | Sweden | Switzerland | Taiwan | Thailand | Tunisia | Turkey | Turks and Caicos Islands| UkraineUnited Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland | Uruguay | US Virgin Islands | Uzbekistan | Venezuela | Vietnam

OFFICE LOCATIONS

New York: (212) 203-8001 – 590 Madison Avenue, 21st Floor, New York, New York 10022
Brooklyn: (347) 983-5436 – 300 Cadman Plaza West, 12th Floor, Brooklyn, New York 11201
Queens: (646) 357-3005 – 118-35 Queens Blvd, Suite 400, Forest Hills, New York 11375
Long Island: (516) 208-4577 – 626 RXR Plaza, 6th Floor, Uniondale, New York 11556
Westchester: (914) 414-0877 – 50 Main Street, 10th Floor, White Plains, New York 10606
Connecticut: (203) 489-2940 – 500 West Putnam Avenue, Suite 400, Greenwich, Connecticut 06830
New Jersey: (201) 630-0114 – 101 Hudson Street, 21 Floor, Jersey City, New Jersey 07302
Washington DC: (202) 655-4450 – 1101 Pennsylvania Avenue, Suite 300, Washington DC 20037

FOR ASSISTANCE SERVING LEGAL PAPERS IN ARGENTINA

Pick up the phone and call Toll-Free (800) 774-6922 or click the service you want to purchase. Our dedicated team of professionals is ready to assist you. We can handle all your Argentina process service needs; no job is too small or too large!

Contact us for more information about our process-serving agency. We are ready to provide service of process to all our clients globally from our offices in New York, Brooklyn, Queens, Long Island, Westchester, New Jersey, Connecticut, and Washington, D.C.

“Quality is never an accident; it is always the result of high intention, sincere effort, intelligent direction, and skillful execution; it represents the wise choice of many alternatives”– Foster, William A

Sources

1. Bilateral or multilateral agreements: 

  1. Brazil (1991) (Ley 24.108),
  2. France (1991) (Ley 24.107), 
  3. Italy (1987) (Ley 23.720),
  4. Russian Federation (2000) (Ley 25.595), 
  5. Uruguay (1980) (Ley 22.410).

2. Volkswagenwerk, A.G, v. Schlunk, 486 U.S. 694 (1988).

3. Costs relating to the execution of the Letters of Request (Arts 14(2)(3) and 26):

4. Art 23 pre-trial discovery of documents: Letter of Request will not be executed (full exclusion).

5. Argentine Code of Civil and Commercial Procedure // Código Procesal Civil y Comercial de la Nación Articles 369-374.

6. Multilateral or regional conventions on judicial co-operation:

  1. Convención Interamericana sobre recepción de pruebas en el extranjero. (I Conferencia Internacional de Derecho Internacional Privado). Panamá, 30/01/1975. OEA.(Ley 23.481)
  2. Protocolo Adicional a la Convención Interamericana sobre recepción de pruebas en el extranjero.(III Conferencia Internacional de Derecho Internacional Privado).La Paz, 25/05/1984. OEA. (Ley 24.037)
  3. Convención Interamericana sobre exhortos o Cartas Rogatorias. (I Conferencia Internacional de Derecho Internacional Privado).Panamá, 30/01/1975. OEA. (Ley 23.503)
  4. Protocolo Adicional a la Convención Interamericana sobre Exhortos y Cartas Rogatorias.Montevideo, 08/05/1979. OEA. (Ley 23.503)
  5. Convención sobre prueba e información acerca del derecho extranjero.Montevideo, 08/05/1979. OEA. (Ley 23.506)
  6. Protocolo de cooperación y asistencia jurisdiccional en materia civil, comercial, laboral y administrativa.Las Leñas, 27/06/1992. MERCOSUR. (Ley 24.578)
  7. Acuerdo complementario al Protocolo de Cooperación y Asistencia Jurisdiccional en materia civil, comercial, laboral y administrativa. Asunción, 19/06/1997. MERCOSUR.(Ley 25.222)
  8. Protocolo de cooperación y asistencia jurisdiccional en materia civil, comercial, laboral y administrativa.Las Leñas, 27/06/1992. MERCOSUR. (Ley 24.578)
  9. Acuerdo complementario al Protocolo de Cooperación y Asistencia Jurisdiccional en materia civil, comercial, laboral y administrativa. Asunción, 19/06/1997. MERCOSUR. (Ley 25.222)
  10. Tratado de Derecho Procesal Internacional. Montevideo, 19/03/1940. (Ley 7771)

7. In this Convention, the terms ‘exhortos’ and ‘cartas rogatorias’ are synonymous in Spanish. The terms ‘letters rogatory’, ‘commissions rogatoires,’ and ‘cartas rogatórias’ refer to both ‘exhortos’ and ‘cartas rogatorias’ in English, French, and Portuguese texts.

8. Article 8 requires that letters rogatory be accompanied by specific documents when serving process, summons, or subpoena to a person.

9. The destination State can issue a letter rogatory without specifying who will be responsible for costs and expenses. The person authorized to represent the applicant for legal purposes can be identified in the letter rogatory or related documents.

10. Article 13 discusses the role of consular or diplomatic agents of the States. Parties to this Convention can perform acts mentioned in Article 2 in the state where they are accredited as long as these acts are not against the laws of that state. They should avoid using any coercive measures.

11. Article 17 states that the receiving State has the right to reject a letter rogatory if it goes against its public policy.

States Parties must inform the General Secretariat of the Organisation of American States about their laws regarding legalizing and translating letters rogatory.

12. It will transmit the information from the second paragraph of Article 4, Article 18, and the declarations mentioned in Articles 16 and 23 of this Convention.

13. In jurisdictions with mandatory mediation, claim time limits are specified in the corresponding statutes. In Buenos Aires, mediation proceedings end after one year if no legal claim is filed (Law No. 26,589). A judicial claim must be filed within one year after the mediation proceedings conclude. The claimant must initiate new mediation proceedings if not.

Statute of limitations must be considered in all cases.

14. Periodic obligations must be enforced within two years from the time they become enforceable, as stated in section 2562 of the California Civil Code.

15. The complaint must include:

  1. All the relevant facts.
  2. The underlying law that supports the claimant’s position, including case law and opinions of legal scholars.
  3. Contact information of the parties involved in the dispute, including name and address.
  4. The relief sought.
  5. The amount claimed.
  6. Documentary evidence. Documentary evidence can only be filed afterward in exceptional circumstances.
  7. All of the proposed remaining evidence, such as expert opinions and witnesses. 
  8. Proof of payment of the filing fee. 

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