HOW THE CENTRAL AUTHORITY WORKS IN BELIZE

This article will provide guidance on How The Central Authority Works in Belize.  The Convention on the Service Abroad of Judicial and Extrajudicial Documents in Civil or Commercial Matters, also called the Hague Service Convention, governs the service of process in international civil and commercial matters. The Hague Service Convention sets consistent regulations for the international serving of documents among its member nations. The first step is for each country to establish a governing body to oversee the initiative. In accordance with the Convention’s stipulations, requests for the service of documents from other member states are accepted and handled via this centralized body. Please click here to watch the video on International Process Service.

The need to keep thorough records is also emphasized in the Convention. The central authority in Belize issues certificates of service or other documents validating the completion of service. As confirmation that documents were served in accordance with the convention’s standards, these certificates are crucial in court procedures. Click Here for Frequently Asked Questions About Process Servers!

If you need legal papers served in Belize, you may want to hire a private process server like Undisputed Legal to accomplish it for you. We have a keen professional awareness of Belize’s legal system and process serving practices.  Under the Hague Service Convention, persons or businesses in Belize may be served legal papers by filing a request to the central authority of the requester’s country. Documents are received and served in accordance with Belize law by the central authority in Belize. Hiring process servers in the area may be necessary, as well as filing the paperwork with the right court or performing additional steps before the service is complete.

 A ‘central authority’ in Belize is a government organization or body responsible for overseeing and managing the international transfer of legal requests and documents. A central authority is needed for international legal cooperation, particularly in situations requiring cross-border concerns such as service of process, taking of evidence, or execution of foreign verdicts. 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.

Who is the Central Authority in Belize

The Registrar of the Supreme Court of Belize is the central authority in Belize under the Hague Convention. The Registrar General oversees all registry operations. Helping out with the day-to-day operations of the Registry are the Deputy Registrar General, the Deputy Registrar General (Appeals), and the Assistant Registrar General. 

In addition to its primary duties, the Registry also issues marriage licenses and authenticates public papers called apostilles on behalf of the government. The Registry also serves as a venue for wedding ceremonies. Documents for any action before the Caribbean Court of Justice may be submitted to the Caribbean Court of Justice Sub-Registry in the Supreme Court Registry’s facility.

Even though it may be challenging to navigate the legal system of a foreign nation, our private process servers are well-versed in the nuances of Belize law and will guarantee that your documents are served in line with all relevant norms and procedures. A private process service organization like Undisputed Legal may provide translation services if a lack of common language prevents legal documents’ proper drafting and serving.

Court System in Belize

The Constitution of Belize establishes the highest court of record in the country. Original jurisdiction means the court has the authority to hear and decide cases brought before it under any legislation. Appeals from decisions made by lower courts are also heard and decided by the Supreme Court.  The High Court has a Civil Division in Belize City and a Criminal Division in each of the three Districts in the country. The Chief Justice and the Registrar General are responsible for overseeing the day-to-day operations of the High Court of Belize. Both civil and criminal cases, as well as appeals from lower courts, may be brought before the Supreme Court. There are now eight Justices on the Court; the Chief Justice presides over the civil division (which handles divorce and child custody), while the remaining Justices preside over the criminal division. Both the criminal and civil courts have the Chief Justice present.

The Registrar of the High Court also acts as the Senior Court Registrar. The two Deputy Registrars and the Assistant Registrar help the Registrar with their judicial and administrative duties. The Court of Appeal has the authority to hear and rule on appeals from lower courts in civil and criminal cases.

Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago, is the location of the Caribbean Court of Justice, which has both an original and an appellate level of jurisdiction. The CCJ is an international court having mandatory and exclusive jurisdiction in its original jurisdiction for questions of interpretation and implementation of the amended Treaty of Chaguaramas. The CCJ is the highest court in the country in terms of its appellate jurisdiction, which means it handles appeals in both civil and criminal cases. Barbados, Belize, and Guyana recognized the CCJ as their highest court in 2011. Prior to the CCJ, Belize’s highest court was the British Privy Council.

The Registrar’s Duties

 The court’s Registrar is responsible for maintaining all court files and documents in accordance with applicable Legislation. Any person adversely affected by an order or decision made by the Registrar in exercising such power and authority may file an appeal with the Court. The appeal may be heard and decided by the Court.

The Registrar is in charge of maintaining the register. In their chambers, registrars will have the power of a judge. The Court shall have a deputy registrar who, if the registrar is not present or unable to do his job for any reason, has all the powers and may do all the duties of the registrar, unless the rules of the court say otherwise.’ The deputy registrar, assistant registrar, acting deputy registrar, or acting assistant registrar may only use the authority granted after they have verified their appointment in the Gazette. The Public Services Commission has the authority to determine the salaries of the Registrar, the Deputy Registrar, and the Assistant Registrar, subject to approval by the National Assembly. 

Eligible individuals may be appointed as commissioners of the court by the court in official documents or papers. When authorized by a judge or the court, these commissioners will be responsible for obtaining affidavits and declarations and may also interview witnesses or demand documents. Any order from the Court or a judge for witnesses to appear and be questioned or documents to be produced before a commissioner under the Court’s authority may be carried out in the same manner as an order to appear and be questioned or presented before the Court.

Summons in Belize

As a matter of thumb, claim forms must be personally served on every defendant.  Service of the claim form requires that a claim statement,  an affidavit, or other document, as well as a reproduction of any decision reached and a duplicate of any application or order filed, must be delivered together. A claim form is served on a person when handed to or left with that person. The jurisdiction demands that the claim form be served within its borders.

It is necessary to provide an affidavit by the person who personally delivered the claim form is required to establish that service was made. It is often necessary to provide the specific location or address where it was delivered, a detailed description of how the claimant was identified and served, and specifics on the method of serving the claim form. We assure you that all the papers you need to win your case will be served promptly and accurately every time, thanks to the expertise of the Undisputed Legal process servers you choose.

In cases where a third party positively recognized the individual being served, there must additionally be an affidavit signed by that individual, if possible, to establish the identity of the recipient. If the server was able to positively identify the customer by means of a picture or description, they will  need to submit an affidavit determining whether or not the individual resembles the description or picture and specifying the means by which the affiant may confirm the picture or description as 

A party is not required to accept service by personal delivery service. If a party opts for Non-Traditional Service and any action is sought from the court on the grounds that the claim form is complete, affidavit proof must be filed by the person who was served with the claim form. Demonstrating that the defendant received the service in a timely manner to verify the details of the claim. The sworn statement should specify the means by which service was rendered; demonstrate the person to whom service was intended was aware of the documents’ contents; or specify the moment at which the served person was or should have been able to determine what the papers contain; and provide evidence that they have been served papers. Obtaining the same level of speed and reliability without the help of our Undisputed Legal process servers would be quite challenging. Prompt service is vital to the fairness and efficiency of the legal system, and we recognize this. Our goal is to maximize efficiency and effectiveness by tapping into the expertise of our local process servers. 

If the court so orders, the defendant must be served with a claim form and a statement of claim. by posting a copy of the claim form in a highly visible location on the property together with a once-only notice in a designated publication of widespread distribution across the municipality of Belize, where the property is located.

Power of Attorney

A Power of Attorney Attestation from the Belize Embassy is necessary when a firm or individual director wishes to act on their behalf in Belize legal matters. A power of attorney (POA) is a legal document that gives one person the authority to handle another person’s commercial, financial, or other legal matters.

One may delegate legal authority to act on another’s behalf by having that person sign a power of attorney (POA). When doing business in a foreign country, a power of attorney is often utilized in place of the principal’s physical presence on important legal papers. A Power of Attorney granted in the United States must be attested or legalized by the appropriate foreign embassy before it may be utilized overseas. The Embassy of Belize must certify the Power of Attorney before using it. If a citizen needs someone else to handle legal matters on their behalf in Belize, whether for business or pleasure, that person must first get a Power of Attorney (PoA), which is attested by the Belize Embassy. In order to act on someone else’s behalf with regard to financial matters, the attestation of a power of attorney is often necessary. Non-judicial stamp paper may be used to draft the PoA.

The POA might potentially terminate for more complex legal reasons, such as bankruptcy. Private process servers such as Undisputed Legal provide essential paperwork and proof of service. Once the documents have been served, we will make the necessary certifications or affidavits to verify the proper serving of the process. This proof is crucial for proving that serving was lawful in court and furthering your case.

Is a US notary valid in Belize?

All nationalities are welcome to make an appointment for notary services. In most cases, only documents notarized are valid inside the United States. Having several documents notarized does not need multiple visits. On the day of the appointment at the Embassy or Consulate, the individual will be charged USD50 for each notary seal. It is necessary to consult a notary before signing any documents. Even if not all papers need a signature or seal, the individual must submit the whole packet. A valid picture ID, such as a driver’s license or passport, is required. The official documents and photo ID must both have the same name.    

A notary seal may be purchased for USD50. It is necessary to remember that the consular staff cannot summarise the document. If the notarization requires witnesses, then contacts must be identified via the clients. Consular officials are not authorized to notarize documents.

A notary public’s services are available to anybody, regardless of citizenship. The Consulate’s Officers or their Associates are responsible for carrying them out.  Documents must be physically present in the presence of a consular officer or their colleague to be notarized.  Individuals cannot notarize documents submitted for personal use in Belize. The U.S. Embassy’s notary services are by appointment only. Authentication services may be used to check the legitimacy of government-issued documents in the United States. Consular authentication verifies only the authenticity of the issuing authority’s seal and signature and, in no manner, the document’s contents. 

Undisputed Legal utilizes its established network of contacts inside the Belize government, legal community, and other relevant fields. This network is beneficial for resolving any issues and accelerating the delivery of the process. As a result, we prioritize the efficient and timely delivery of legal documents to international clients. Given our knowledge of the logistical limits of international service, we are in a better position to carry out the operation than an individual or non-specialized process service provider. We try our best to ensure the security of your papers and never skimp on service quality. This is especially true since we understand the pressures of serving legal documents internationally. We remain always accountable to our clients. 

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. This option is only available by email or fax.

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.; All documents will be received by our receptionist.

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, N.W. Suite 300, Washington DC 20004

FOR ASSISTANCE SERVING LEGAL PAPERS IN BELIZE

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 Belize 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. # 1 Treasure Lane, Belize City, Belize

2. A Financial Officer, Court marshal, Legal Secretary, Trust Officer, Marriage Officer, numerous clerks, and an Office Assistant are all part of the Registry team.

3. The divisions of the court are:

  1. The Corozal and Orange Walk Districts, which make up the Northern District; 
  2. The Cayo and Belize City Districts, which make up the Central District;
  3. District Stann Creek and District Toledo together, which make up the Southern District

4. Property rights, divorce procedures (and any issues incidental thereto), and adoptions are all examples of marriage and family affairs that fall within the Court’s civil jurisdiction.

5. The Court of Appeal now consists of four judges: the President, a Belizean citizen and permanent resident, and two additional justices, both from the Commonwealth Caribbean.

6. In 2009, legislators in Belize proposed a change to the country’s constitution that would allow Belize to become subject to the CCJ’s appellate jurisdiction as of June 1, 2010. The Caribbean Court of Justice Act No. 5 of 2010 establishes the rules and procedures of the Court as they relate to Belize and serves as our supreme law-making body.

7. The Belize Court of Appeal must grant permission to appeal to the Caribbean Court of Justice. The resolution of certain appeals is required by law and is considered a matter of right. The Caribbean Court of Justice requires specific requirements to be satisfied before granting permission to appeal, which it lays forth in line with the relevant statutes.

8. The Registrar will have the same authority as the Queen’s Coroner, Attorney, and Master of the Crown Office of the High Court of Justice in England, the Queen’s Bench Division. All legal processes shall be subject to the above authorities and obligations.

9. Belize recognizes and authenticates birth, marriage, and death certificates issued in other countries.

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