HOW THE CENTRAL AUTHORITY WORKS IN GILBERT AND ELLICE ISLANDS

This article will provide guidance on how the central authority works in Gilbert and Ellice Islands.  The Pacific Ocean’s Gilbert and Ellice Islands (GEIC) were a colony of the British Empire and later became a protectorate and a colony. Legally partitioned into two colonies in October 1975, the Gilbert Ellice Islands became Tuvalu in 1978 and Kiribati in 1979; both islands eventually gained independence not long after. Click here for a video on International Process Service.

The Gilbert and Ellice Islands colony adopted ministerial governance in 1974 due to a constitutional amendment. We at Undisputed Legal understand the intricacies of international service of process, especially considering that Tuvalu does not follow the UK’s accession to the Hague Service Convention. Consequently, we aim to ensure your papers are carefully delivered across jurisdictions. Click Here for Frequently Asked Questions About Process Servers!

Tuvalu Court Structure

When it comes to criminal and civil matters, the High Court handles the most severe issues and has limitless original jurisdiction. This court, headed by the chief justice, is responsible for hearing appeals from lower courts with limited civil and criminal authority, such as the magistrates’ and eight island courts. The Court of Appeal hears appeals from the High Court, and the Privy Council of the United Kingdom is the last court of appeal. The Privy Council has the authority to hear appeals from the Court of Appeal’s rulings with permission to address Constitutional cases as well as civil lawsuits worth $2,000 or more.

The Court of Appeals has the authority to hear civil appeals directly from the High Court, with the exception of when an order was issued by consent or is for expenses alone or orders or judgments unless otherwise specified by court regulations. A senior magistrate has the authority to issue adoption orders and hear appeals from other magistrates’ courts in civil and criminal cases, excepting decisions issued ex parte, by agreement, or for costs only. Special leave from the first instance or appellate court is sometimes necessary.

A senior magistrate’s court has the authority to consider appeals from the native land appeal panel. The senior magistrate’s court may rule on a legal subject referred by a magistrate. The senior magistrate’s court has a different criminal jurisdiction than regular magistrates’ courts. All magistrate’s courts have summary jurisdiction. The senior magistrate’s court may impose a maximum sentence of five years in jail, a $1,000 fine, or a combination of both.

Other magistrates’ courts have more restricted authority.  They may hear cases when the maximum penalty for the crime is not more than one year in jail, a $200 fine, or when the court has explicitly granted jurisdiction or a provision allowing for summary trial of the offense. The Island Courts have authority within the island’s limits, including inland and neighboring waterways.   Our Undisputed Legal process servers are local to the area and can serve papers in accordance with the specifications put forth by each court system. 

PROCESS Service of Documents in Tuvalu

Two copies of the petition must be submitted for filing in accordance with the requirements of service. Petitioners are summoned to respond.  A Form 3 summons addressed to the respondent must accompany a petition submitted for filing and each copy to be served. In order to facilitate the hearing, the Clerk of the Court is required to issue a summons in Form 3 upon its submission. 

At least eight clear days prior to the day specified in the summons for the petition hearing, a copy of the petition and summons must be served. If the court determines that personally serving a petition is not feasible, they can either specify how service should be done or allow notice of the petition to be given through an advertisement. In the latter case, the court will approve the advertisement’s form, and a copy of the newspaper containing the ad must be filed with the court. Our Undisputed Legal process servers are aware of the procedure to serve documents by publication and can aid in more alternate means of service.

No petition can move forward to the hearing stage unless all parties who were supposed to receive a copy of the petition and summons have either [A.] shown up in court to answer the summons or [B.] provided evidence through an affidavit filed in Form 4 that they were served the documents personally or through an order for substituted service.

PROCESS Service of a summons in Tuvalu

A writ of summons must be filed with the court to initiate any action and be endorsed with a description of the claim or remedy sought. It is illegal to issue a writ of summons that requires service outside of the jurisdiction or notice outside of the jurisdiction unless the Court gives its permission. A private process service agency like Undisputed Legal can help ensure your papers are served in accordance with Tuvalu court specifications. For example, a party may use one of Forms 3 or 4 in Appendix A, Part I, with any necessary adjustments, to serve or provide notice of a writ of summons to be served outside of the jurisdiction. This notification has to be in Form No. 5 of the same Part, with any necessary changes made for specific situations.

All writs, including summonses, must contain the date of issuance and be tested in the name of the Chief Justice. All writs of summons must be endorsed before they are issued. In the event that an action is initiated by or on behalf of an individual whose residency is outside of the designated areas, as outlined by any applicable legislation regarding Exchange Control, the endorsement must reflect this fact and specify the individual’s place of residence.

If the plaintiff’s attorney is representing them in court, they must endorse the writ of summons with the plaintiff’s address, their name, and a valid address within the jurisdiction. This address will be used for service of process, including but not limited to notices, pleadings, orders, summonses, warrants, and any other papers, proceedings, or written communications that do not require personal service.

To serve notices, pleadings, orders, summonses, warrants, and other documents, proceedings, and written communications that are not required to be served personally, the plaintiff must indicate a proper place within the jurisdiction on the writ of summons. If the plaintiff’s residence is not within the jurisdiction or if they do not have a place of residence, this place must be an address for service.

Subsequent to being sealed by the Registrar of the Court, every writ of summons issued by the Registry of the Court is considered issued. Upon submitting a writ of summons for sealing, the plaintiff or his advocate must sign and submit a copy to the Registrar with all the endorsements. If the plaintiff is suing personally, the plaintiff must also sign this copy. The officer who receives the copy must file it, and a record of this filing must be made in a book designated as the Cause Book. Our Undisputed Legal process servers make sure that process service is done in duplicate, with records kept for service. We aim to ensure that your papers are acceptable in each court across Tuvalu without being dismissed for insufficient service.

Foreign Service of Papers in Tuvalu 

Not being a  signatory to the Hague Convention on the Service Abroad of Judicial and Extrajudicial Documents in Civil or Commercial Matters, 20 UST361, the Ellice Islands, now called Tuvalu, requires specific procedures for adequate service of documents.

Undisputed Legal can help you get evidence from throughout the world as your lawsuit starts the discovery process. When looking for evidence in a foreign nation, it’s important to follow local laws and regulations and any federal or state legislation that may be in effect. With Tuvalu, our local private process servers can help ensure that your documents are served to the specifications of the local legal systems.

Any additional legal action must be initiated in the jurisdiction where the defendant is physically located or does business. The action can be started in any of the territories where the defendants are located if there is more than one. However, the Court has the power to make any order it thinks fit, either upon request from the parties or on its initiative, to determine the most convenient way to try the case. In order for the Court to grant permission to serve a writ or notice on a defendant outside of their jurisdiction, the plaintiff must provide supporting evidence in the form of an affidavit or other document. This evidence should state that the plaintiff has a good cause of action, the defendant’s current or potential location, whether the defendant is a British subject, and the reasons for the application.

The defendant may be required to appear within a certain time frame following the order granting permission to serve or provide notice, the exact length of which will depend on factors such as the availability of airmail to the defendant and the location or country where the writ is to be served or given. Our Undisputed Legal process servers can help identify the best possible means of service. To provide optimum service, we take into account various factors of mail, jurisdiction, and the convenience of like available, our clients.

The  Chief Justice can allow service to foreign countries when permission is granted to serve a writ of summons or notice of a writ of summons. The judge will seal the document with the court’s seal so it can be used outside of the jurisdiction. Then, it will be sent to the chief secretary or resident commissioner, depending on the case, who will send it to the Roya (Her Majesty’s) Secretary of State for the colonies. Accompanying this will be a translated copy of the document into the language of the country where service is to be made, along with a request for the document to be sent to the government of the country where permission to serve a document has been granted.  A praecipe must be filed by the party speaking a copy of a document for service under this regulation at the same time as saying the same.

The Court will accept an official certificate, declaration upon oath, or other legally binding document as proof of service if it certifies or declares that a document has been personally served or duly served upon a defendant in accordance with the laws of the foreign country or words to that effect. This document must be filed of record and is equivalent to an affidavit of service. 

 If a document has been attempted to be served but was unsuccessful, the plaintiff may be allowed to request substituted service by the court upon an ex parte application if an official certificate or declaration of the same was sent to a court. One copy for each person to be served and any additional copies needed by the convention are also required. However, if the service is to be made on a British subject directly through the British Consul, then the translation and copies thereof are not needed. 

 The Registrar is responsible for forwarding the sealed papers to the Secretary of State for the Colonies, who will transmit them to the foreign nation. The court seal is used for usage outside of the jurisdiction. The foreign judicial or British consular authority can send an official certificate to the court through the diplomatic channel. This certificate will confirm the date and fact of the document’s service and will be filed with the court as evidence of service, just like an affidavit would be. 

In cases where a convention has been or will be made and applied to the territory within the jurisdiction of a foreign court or tribunal, the Registrar will receive a request from the Consular or other authority of that country to serve a document on a person within the jurisdiction. 

The Royal (Her Majesty’s) Secretary of State for the Colonies provides a liaison point for a foreign court or tribunal requests service on a person within its jurisdiction or when a process or citation related to a civil or commercial matter is sent to the court by the foreign court or tribunal, indicating that it is desirable to have the same enforced. A translated version of the letter requesting service must be sent with it, together with two copies of the process or citation that needs to be served, one in English and one in another language. The process server is required to return one copy of the process to the Registrar after service has been completed. They must also include proof of service in the form of an affidavit, which must be verified by a Magistrate, Commissioner of Oaths, or Justice of the Peace, as well as details regarding the charges for the cost of service.

The Chief Secretary should receive the returned letter of request. The Registrar is obligated to transmit the Letter of Request for Service to either the Chief Secretary or the Resident Commissioner.  With the incorporation of a private process service agency like Undisputed Legal in your service of process requirements, we can ensure that your papers are served appropriately in Tuvalu. Without the Hague Service Convention, the service of papers becomes much more tedious and subject to the receiving court’s specifications. Our local process servers can ensure your papers are delivered across the jurisdiction. 

Notarising documents in Tuvalu

Tuvalu is one of the parties to the ‘Hague Apostille Convention of 5th October 1961’. Typically, an apostille is all needed to utilize a document from the UK in Tuvalu. A certificate of legalization from the Tuvaluan embassy or consulate is not necessary. Prior to the apostille, the document must be validated by a solicitor in the UK if it lacks the signature, stamp, or seal of a UK public authority.   

When necessary, the writ should be served using the same method as personal service whenever possible. However, if the court determines that the plaintiff is unable to receive personal service promptly, they have the authority to order substituted service or the substitution of notice through advertisement or any other legitimate means. Any document intended for a corporation may be served on the company’s chief executive officer, secretary, treasurer, or other officer. Similarly, if a written law specifies the manner for serving a writ of summons, bill, petition, or process upon a corporation, society, fellowship, or any group of individuals, whether corporate or not, then any writ of summons may be served in accordance with that provision.

When a writ of summons cannot be served in another way, such as when the land is in vacant possession, a copy of the writ might be posted on the door of the dwelling-house or another prominent feature of the property. If the plaintiff does not appear within three days of service, the court cannot proceed by default. Additionally, each affidavit of service must include the date of the endorsement, which must be made no later than three days after service, on the writ. All services, including substitutes, are subject to this rule, and our Undisputed Legal process servers comply.

A bailiff must serve a writ of summons as well as any petition, notice, order, or other document that requires service. No process may be served in a civil action on Sundays, Good Fridays, Christmas Day, or immediately before or after Christmas. Each court has a book the Chief Justice may call a Process Book. In it, the names of the plaintiff and defendant, the court that issued the process, the method of service (personal or otherwise), how the person serving the process verified that he had served the right person, and the reason for failure to serve must be stated. Any entry in this book or an office copy of an entry can be used as evidence of the various matters stated.

 Whenever a bailiff has served a writ or document, the submission of a certificate of service signed by the bailiff, even in the absence of signature proof, must constitute prima facie evidence of service. The court has the authority to direct service to be made if personal service is impractical for any reason by [A.] delivering the document to an adult prisoner at their regular or last known residence or place of work); [B.] by having it served on an agent of the person who is to be served or on another person if it can be shown that the document will likely reach the person who is to be served via that agent or another person; [C.]  by posting notices at the Public Office of the High Commissioner or Resident Commissioner, as applicable; or  [D.] via pre-paid registered mail to the defendant at the address given in the plaintiff’s affidavit that supports their request for substituted service, provided there is reasonable assumption that it will be delivered to that address. Each notary seal that is needed will cost USD 50 and may be paid at the Embassy or Consulate on the day of the appointment.

It is necessary to bring the whole unsigned paperwork before the notary in order to have it acknowledged. Bringing a photo ID (passport or) valid in the country is important a driver’s license. It is necessary that identification matches the name on the paperwork. Our Undisputed Legal process servers can be helpful in identifying which papers need to be notarized in Tuvalu. 

Power of Attorney in Tuvalu

Proprietors of a minor’s parents who are unable to attend the U.S. passport application in person may authorize another adult, such as a third party, to do so by signing a power of attorney (POA) document before a notary public. It is important to send a copy of both sides of each parent’s legal government-issued picture ID with the power of attorney. This service is provided at no cost to you since the United States Department of State requires that this form be notarized.

Where any person who is a national of any foreign state to which this section applies is named as executor in the will of a deceased person disposing of property in Tuvalu or is otherwise a person to whom a grant of representation to the estate in Tuvalu of a deceased person may be made, then person duly authorized by power of attorney can act for them in that behalf. The precondition for the same is that the specific Tuvalu court must be satisfied on the application of a consular officer of the said foreign state. It needs to be proven that the said national is not a resident of Tuvalu, and if no application for a grant of such representation is made by a court, shall make to that officer any such grant of representation to the estate of the deceased. 

 In cases where a foreign national is eligible for a portion of a deceased person’s estate or to receive payment in Tuvalu for any debts that become due upon death, or if that person is not a resident of Tuvalu, a consular officer from that state can receive and discharge such assets as if they had a power of attorney. No person is obligated to pay or transfer any property or funds to a consular official if they know that another person in Tuvalu has been given explicit authority to do so on behalf of the national in question. When a consular official grants administration under the same, no surety is necessary for the bond.

Involving a private process service agency like Undisputed Legal can be much more helpful than just conducting service of your documents. We can ensure that your papers sail through the entire legal process smoothly: you never have to worry about your papers being served. In a country like Tuvalu with specific requirements, we aim to serve your papers every time accurately. 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.

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. All documents are 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, Suite 300, Washington DC 20004

FOR ASSISTANCE SERVING LEGAL PAPERS IN GILBERT AND ELLICE ISLANDS

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 Gilbert and Ellice Islands 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.

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