HOW TO SERVE LEGAL PAPERS IN ST HELENA AND DEPENDENCIES

This article will provide guidance on How To Serve legal papers in St. Helena and Dependencies.  Saint Helena is a British possession in the South Atlantic Ocean. It is one of three constituent parts of the British Overseas Territory of Saint Helena, Ascension, and Tristan da Cunha.

Queen Elizabeth II vests executive power in Saint Helena, exercised on her behalf by the Governor of Saint Helena. Under the guidance of the British government, the Queen appoints the Governor. The United Kingdom retains responsibility for defense and international affairs.

BACKGROUND

The Legislative Council of Saint Helena, a unicameral legislature, has fifteen members in addition to a Speaker and Deputy Speaker. Twelve of the fifteen members are chosen in four-year cycles. The Chief Secretary, Financial Secretary, and Attorney General serve as ex officio members. The Governor presides over the Executive Council, composed of three ex officio officials and five elected Legislative Council members nominated by the Governor. No Chief Minister is elected, and the Governor serves as the head of government. In January 2013, it was suggested that the Executive Council be headed by a Chief Councillor who would be chosen by Legislative Council members and would designate the Executive Council’s other members. 

Administrators have been appointed to Ascension Island and Tristan da Cunha to represent the Governor of Saint Helena. The Saint Helena Police Service is in charge of law enforcement on the island (SHPS). Additionally, the SHPS is the major law enforcement agency for Ascension Island and the Tristan da Cunha archipelago. As in many other Commonwealth countries, the SHPS warranted officers are referred to as ‘constables,’ The service also employs special constables in addition to non-warranted staff workers. The SHPS, like other Commonwealth law enforcement organizations, employs a number of ranks. 

Local St Helena Process Service laws are made under the authority of the Constitution of St Helena, Ascension, and Tristan da Cunha, which is found in an Order in Council made under the Saint Helena Act, 1833, as replaced by the Government of India Act, 1915. This is because ultimate legislative and executive authority for the British Overseas Territories resides in the British Crown. 

Other UK Orders which apply to all three territories, including those dealing with emergency powers and extradition, can be found listed in the List of UK Laws Applied to St Helena, Ascension, and Tristan da Cunha. Any UK law of general application may apply if it is not contrary to local law and can be adapted to local conditions. For this reason, the lists may not be complete, and they are not authoritative as there is no definitive list kept by HM Government in the UK. Some Saint Helena Process Service laws may be challenged in court.

LAWS OF ST HELENA, ASCENSION, AND TRISTAN DA CUNHA

Saint Helena has been making laws to govern itself and its former dependencies since 1815. Before that, certain by-laws of the East India Company applied to St Helena, Ascension, and Tristan da Cunha. Many of the Ordinances enable an authority (usually the Governor in Council, Governor, or Chief Justice) to make detailed ‘subsidiary legislation’ in the form of Regulations, Rules, or Orders. These are also published in the Gazette as ‘Legal Notices’ or L.Ns. Some general Government notices or Saint Helena Process Service G.Ns. also have a legislative effect.

Ascension and Tristan da Cunha were formerly Dependencies of St Helena. However, under the 2009 Constitution, they became separate Territories, albeit with the same Governor, Chief Justice, Supreme Court, and Attorney General as St Helena.  They have their legislatures and can make their laws. However, many of the St Helena Process Service laws of St Helena also apply (if suitable and not contrary to other applicable laws), as may some of the laws of the United Kingdom (see below).

ENGLISH/UK LAWS APPLIED TO ST HELENA

In relation to any St Helena Process Service matter not covered by local law, St Helena uses relevant English law that was in force up to 1 January 2006. Some English laws have been expressly applied by orders made under the 2005 Ordinance or its predecessor. 

Some English (or the United Kingdom) statutes apply to St Helena by their force. In contrast, others are applied by Orders in Council applicable to all overseas territories or only to St Helena.  Others may apply if they are not contrary to local law and can be adapted to local conditions. This website lists all English (or the United Kingdom) laws directly applied to St Helena by one of the above methods. For practical purposes, the list can also be taken as a list of UK laws applied to Ascension and Tristan da Cunha.

SAINT HELENA AND THE HAGUE CONVENTION

The Hague Service Convention codifies St Helena Process Service by registered mail and agency internationally. Additionally, the treaty allows for s Saint Helena Process Service by a Central Authority (often the Ministry of Justice) in Convention nations upon receipt of a request on form USM-94, accessible at any United States Marshal’s office. The treaty’s text is self-explanatory, but take note of the Saint Helena Process Service reservations and declarations issued by each nation upon membership. Certain governments expressed misgivings about various modes of service. The Convention procedure should be followed in all signatory nations.

The Convention’s application to administrative proceedings is normally determined on a case-by-case basis. One may acquire a copy of the Request for Service form (USM-94) from the United States Marshal’s Service office in this St Helena Process Service area. Additional information on the treaty is available from the Supervisory Deputy for Process at the local United States Marshal’s office. Additionally, the individual may call Headquarters, United States Marshals Service, at 202-307-9110. 

As stipulated in Article 3 of the Convention, the completed Saint Helena Process Service request form and papers to be served, together with two copies of each, will be submitted directly to the foreign central authority.

Attorneys are authorized to complete and send the St Helena Process Service form by the federal authority. The US Marshal will no longer communicate Form USM-94 directly to the foreign central authority of a national party to the Hague Service Convention as a result of this modification in Rule 4(c)2(A). Rather than that, the attorney representing the party requesting service should execute the Form USM-94 labeled ‘Identity and Address of the Applicant’ and the section of the Summary of the Document to be Served labeled ‘Name and Address of the Requesting Authority.’

The St Helena Process Service request should include a prominent reference to the statutory authority for service, stating that ‘service is requested pursuant to Rule 4(c)2(A), United States Federal Rules of Civil Procedure,’ which authorizes anyone who is not a party and is at least 18 years of age to serve a summons and complaint.

State law specifies the concerned person who is authorized to execute Saint Helena Process Service in matters pending in state courts. Requests pending in state courts should declare that they are being made in accordance with Rule 4(c)2(A) of the United States Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and any applicable state legislation. 

It is necessary to complete the USM-94 in duplicate, specifying the manner of Saint Helena Process Service that the foreign Central Authority will utilize. The Central Authority serves or arranges for the Saint Helena Process Service of papers in domestic proceedings ‘in accordance with the way provided by its internal legislation for serving documents in domestic actions on people within its jurisdiction.’ Generally, Saint Helena Process Service papers to be provided via this approach must be translated into the country’s official language. 

Unless otherwise specified, the St Helena Process Service document may always be served by delivery to a recipient who freely receives it. This informal distribution mechanism is by far the most often employed in a sizable number of Contracting States. Often, the person delivering the paperwork is a police officer. In most circumstances, the addressees accept the document freely or come down to the police station to pick it up, obviating the necessity for document translation. 

Unless the party to be served consents to service, the St Helena Process Service papers to be served must be accompanied by a translation into the other country’s official language. Generally, there are no expenses associated with Saint Helena Process Service provided via the central authority under the Convention. However, if assistance is given and the recipient is located in a distant place, certain costs may be assessed. The foreign central authority will charge the requester for the fees.

There is no time limit specified under the Convention for the provision of services. The Hague Conference on Private International Law, on the other hand, recommends that most Convention central authorities complete Saint Helena Process Service within two months.

A Certificate of Service form is attached to the opposite side of the Request for Service form. After service, the foreign central authority completes and mails the certificate directly to the requesting party. American courts have generally concluded that the international postal service of civil summonses is not appropriate in the case of States signatory to the Hague Service Convention that has filed an appropriate reservation according to Article 10 of the Convention. 

The Convention does not require the translation of papers to be delivered by registered mail. Courts have determined that Article 5’s translation obligation applies only to papers served by a foreign Central Authority, not to direct postal service.

HOW DOES THE UNITED KINGDOM SPECIFY SAINT HELENA PROCESS SERVICE

For the overseas territories of the United Kingdom against the other Central Authorities associated with the United Kingdom, St Helena Process Service must be made in accordance with Article 18 of the Convention. The St Helena Process Service authority showed against the name of each territory, the Supreme Court in St Helena is designated as the authority in that territory competent to receive requests for service in accordance with Article 2 of the Convention. This Central Authority competent under Article 6 of the Convention to complete the Certificate of Service is the designated authority. In accordance with the provisions of Article 9 of the Convention, the designated Authority will receive St Helena Process Service sent through consular channels.

OUR PROCESS

Documents can be faxed at (800) 296-0115, emailed ps@undisputedlegal.com, or uploaded to our website. We do require prepayment 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 will be received by our receptionist.

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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 – 2200 Pennsylvania Avenue, 4 Fl East, Washington DC 20037

for assistance serving legal papers in St. Helena and Dependencies

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Sources

1. It is a remote volcanic tropical island 1,950 kilometers (1,210 miles) west of the coast of south-western Africa and 4,000 kilometers (2,500 mi) east of Rio de Janeiro in South America.

2. Who are now Susan O’Bey, Dax Richards, and Allen Cansick, respectively

3. On 23 March 2013, these measures were submitted to a referendum and were rejected by 158 votes to 42 on a 10% turnout. However, a further vote in 2021 saw the people support the reforms. 

4. The basic texts for all three territories include the 2009 Royal Instructions to the Governor, which deal with such matters as how the Ordinances of each of the three territories are to be enacted. They also include St Helena and Dependencies (Territorial Sea) Order 1989, which defines the territorial waters of all three territories.

5. ST HELENA REVISED EDITION OF THE LAWS, 2017 CONSTITUTIONAL AND ADMINISTRATIVE LAW ENGLISH LAW (APPLICATION) ORDINANCE, 2005 1 Ordinance 10 of 2005 In force 1 January 2006 Amended by Ord. 4 of 2007, L.N. 3/2017 

6. Also see Memo No. 386, Revision No. 3, at the United States Marshal’s office or Vol. l6, International Legal Materials, l33l, (1977) Am. Soc. International Law).

7. Public Law 97-462 revised Rule 4 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure addressing serving of process on February 26, 1993

8. US Marshal’s Memo 386, [p. 14, footnote 11], 16 I.L.M. 1331 et seq. (1977)

9. Teknekron Management Inc. v. Quante Fernmeldtechnik Gmbh, 115 F.R.D. 175 (D. Nev. 1987);

10. Vornees v. Fischer & Krecke, 697 F. 2d 574, 575 (D. Nev. 1990). (4th Cir. 1983)

11. 133-138 in Ristau, International Judicial Assistance (Civil and Commercial), International Law Institute, 1995, Vol. 1, Section 4-2-3(5). 

12. For England and Wales:

The Senior Master of the Royal Courts of Justice

Strand

London WC2A 2LL

Switchboard: +44 207 947 6000

Tel: +44 207 947 7772 (option 2)

Website: Ministry of Justice  

For Scotland:

Scottish Government Justice Directorate

Central Authority & International Law Team

St. Andrew’s House (GW15)

Edinburgh EH1 3DG

Scotland, UK

E-mail: Finbarr.Lee@gov.scot or Angela.Lindsay@gov.scot

Tel.: +44 131 244 4829

For Northern Ireland:

The Master (Queen’s Bench and Appeals)

Royal Courts of Justice

Chichester Street

Belfast BT1 3JF

Tel: +44 28 9072 4639

Website: Department of Justice NI

13. The judicial authorities of certain Commonwealth States not a party to the Hague Convention require service). A list of such countries can be obtained from the Foreign Process Section (Room E02) at the Royal Courts of Justice. The list of British overseas territories is contained in Schedule 6 to the British Nationality Act 1981

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