This article will provide guidance on How To Serve legal papers in Taiwan. Taiwan, or the Republic of China (ROC), is a nation in East Asia, located at the intersection of the East and South China Seas in the northwestern Pacific Ocean, with the People’s Republic of China (PRC) to the northwest, Japan to the northeast, and the Philippines to the south. Taipei, New Taipei City, and Keelung make up Taiwan’s biggest metropolitan region. Taipei, Kaohsiung, Taichung, Tainan, and Taoyuan are some of Taiwan’s other important cities.
Taiwan’s political standing is a source of debate. The People’s Republic of China (PRC) argues that Taiwan is part of China and that it superseded the ROC government in 1949, becoming China’s only lawful government. Its currency, passport, postage stamps, top-level domain name, military forces, and constitution are all unique to the ROC. The Taiwanese president is chosen by popular vote. There is no explicit renunciation of this historical claim, but ROC government publications have progressively downplayed this historical claim in the last several months. The ROC was a founding member of the United Nations, although it no longer has formal membership or observer status.
In 1971, the United Nations agreed to recognize the People’s Republic of China (PRC) instead of the Republic of China (ROC). However, since the ROC’s liberalization in the 1990s, it has downplayed its claim to be the only legal representation of China and its territory. There are no diplomatic connections between the PRC and nations that recognize the ROC. With the exception of the Holy See, Taiwan has diplomatic ties with thirteen of the one hundred and ninety-three UN members and observer nations. There are a number of representative offices and entities that serve as de facto embassies and consulates despite the lack of an established diplomatic relationship.
Various international organizations in which the PRC participates either do not offer membership to Taiwan or enable it to engage on a non-state basis under other names. The main political debate in Taiwan is between those who believe in the eventual reunification of China and those who believe that Taiwan should be recognized as a sovereign state by the international community. Into the 21st century, both sides have moderated their positions in order to appeal to a broader audience.
Letters Rogatory or Taiwan Process Service through an agent are the only options for service in Taiwan, which is not a party to the Hague Service Convention. Taiwan does not recognize the Hague Service Convention. Thus, anybody trying to collect a Taiwan process service judgment or enforce any aspect of a decision against a person or company in Taiwan must use Letters Rogatory.
This includes the Letters Rogatory request, which requires translation into traditional Chinese. Simplified Chinese translations might be seen as an insult. Thus, it’s important to get this portion right.
HOW DO LETTERS ROGATORY WORK
When one nation asks another country’s courts to do a certain action, the process is known as a rogatory. One may do this in a nation when no formal treaty agreement exists to create jurisdiction. Diplomatic channels must be used for these Taiwan Process Service demands to be fulfilled.
Before seeking a certain Taiwan Process Service, it is vital to be informed of the local court’s laws and regulations. There are some types of Taiwan Process Service papers that are often requested often [A.] a brief account of the circumstances surrounding the case; [B.] requested action; [C.] details on the people that are being serviced; [D.] various claims about requesting aid, paying for it, and providing it in return assigned by the judge
Letters Rogatory do not always take longer because Taiwan is not a signatory to the Hague Service Convention, as is often the case. Proceedings might be served in Taiwan in an informal manner. Although Taiwan’s government does not acknowledge this kind of service, it is still a possibility. Taiwan is unable to enforce any judgments rendered in the United States of America.
When judgments need to be enforced, Taiwan Process Service via an agent may be a better option since the timetable is quicker and the cost is lower than with Letters Rogatory. Despite the fact that Taiwan Process Service is not made more difficult by the fact that one must go via Letters Rogatory in order to effectuate Taiwan Process Service, careful attention to detail is nevertheless required. Letters Rogatory, unlike the Hague Convention, requires a large number of components to be given before Taiwan Process Service may be accomplished. The paperwork will be returned to the sender if it does not include the required documentation.
The United States maintains unofficial relations with the people of Taiwan through the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT). This private nonprofit corporation performs U.S. citizen and consular services similar to those at embassies.
Service of process in Taiwan can be affected by [A.] international registered mail/return receipt requested;[C.] by agent, generally a local attorney; or [C.] pursuant to letters rogatory. Affidavits of service can be executed before a travel officer at the AIT. If enforcement of a judgment is anticipated, however, Taiwan may not consider service by registered mail or by agent acceptable. It may require that service be effected pursuant to letters rogatory.
Letters rogatory can be used to effect Taiwan Process Service and to compel the production of documents or testimony of an unwilling witness in Taiwan. Letters rogatory and accompanying documents should be in English with certified translations. Letters rogatory should be addressed to the ‘Appropriate Judicial Authority of Taiwan.’ In accordance with U.S. policy, it is important to refrain from using the terminology ‘Republic of China in the letters rogatory or any accompanying Taiwan Process Service documents and translations.
Letters Rogatory should be accompanied by a certified check payable to American Institute in Taiwan in accordance with the current schedule of fees at 22 CFR 22.1. Additional fees may also be required by the court. If the letter rogatory requests the taking of evidence, the Taiwan court will not permit the examination of witnesses by attorneys; witnesses would be examined by the court on the basis of written questions. A full transcript of the deposition, in traditional Chinese and not Simplified, is made at the time of the deposition and should be specifically requested in the letters rogatory. Simplified Chinese stems from Chairman Mao’s cultural revolution and may be considered insulting when used in conjunction with Taiwan Process Service.
AUTHENTICATION AND VERIFICATION OF LEGAL DOCUMENTS IN TAIWAN
When having a public document issued by a state agency or state court in the United States authenticated for use in Taiwan, it is important first to contact the state Secretary of State’s office or other designated state authority. Such Taiwan Process Service documents may then be authenticated by the U.S. Department of State’s Authentication Office.
If the court where the defendant’s domicile is located does not have jurisdiction, the court where the defendant’s home is located may be sued. A claim stemming from a transaction or event that took place within the jurisdiction of that court may also be brought against a defendant in the court where the defendant resides.
As long as it is unknown where a defendant’s place of residence is, Taiwan Process Service will be presumed to be the defendant’s place of domicile if it does not know where a defendant’s place of residence. It is presumed that the defendant’s last known home serves as their place of residence if the defendant does not have a house there and if the defendant’s residence is unknown. The location where the central government is situated will be considered the place of domicile of a Taiwanese citizen who is located in another country and enjoys immunity from the jurisdiction of that country’s courts, often considered the place of domicile of such person.
It is possible to file a lawsuit against a public juridical entity at the court where its main office is located in accordance with Taiwan Process Service. A central or local government agency may be sued in the jurisdiction where the office is situated in the court of the said agency’s legal jurisdiction. A foreign juridical entity or unincorporated organization may be sued in the Taiwanese court for the location of its major office or principal place of business if it can be a party to an action. It is up to the Judicial Yuan to establish the items and rates of collectible fees for photocopying and video recording of litigation documents, transcripts and translations of litigation documents, daily fees for a witness or expert witnesses, travel expenses, and other necessary fees and disbursements.
This means that Taiwan Process Service fees for transporting documents, uploading on the court’s website, and distributing them in official publications will be charged based on the real cost. The court will collect and distribute the fees and disbursements received from the parties in the two previous paragraphs, and they will only be used for the prescribed fees in the individual case. At the conclusion of the case, the extra money will be refunded to the payer. No extra costs for service by mail or telecommunication, as well as expenses spent by the court clerk, executive officer, and translator for conducting litigation outside the courtroom, will be collected.
WHY DOES TAIWAN FOLLOW LETTERS ROGATORY
Taiwan is unable to sign a treaty since it is not considered a sovereign state.* Because of this, the Hague Service Convention is not applicable. That complicates things and makes serving a little simpler at the same time. Litigants in Taiwan have a wider range of service alternatives than in the People’s Republic of China, making the process simpler. The difficulty is in deciding which one to go with.
In the case of SignalQuest v. Chou, FRCP Rule 4 took precedence as a means of serving papers since Taiwan was not a signatory to the Hague Convention on service, the Court reasoned. Foreign Taiwan Process Service is permitted by letters rogatory or in accordance with the legislation of the foreign nation. However, ‘the letters rogatory procedure takes months to complete since it involves the help of courts and government officials in both nations.’ Provision of service in Taiwan would have been ‘no less difficult’ since ‘Taiwan’s legislation requires service to be made by Taiwan’s court clerk’
FRCP 4(f)(2)(C)(ii), which ‘permits the process to be served on a foreign defendant – unless forbidden by the foreign country’s legislation,’ was used by the plaintiff in SignalQuest to serve the Taiwan defendant via Federal Express. To avoid having to face FRCP 4(f)(2)(C), the defendant sought to dismiss the matter, saying that service by overnight courier is banned under Taiwanese law and therefore should be dismissed. Because Taiwan Process Service is not forbidden under international law until explicitly stated, the court disagreed and determined that FedEx’s service was legal.
FedEx Taiwan Process Service may have been an acceptable solution for SignalQuest, where the plaintiff was seeking only a declaration of [patent] non-infringement in the United States. Still, a plaintiff should think twice before attempting such a tactic in a case where enforcement may be required in the defendant’s country. There is a good chance that Taiwan courts will refuse to accept a foreign decision served by mail, email, or any other unconventional method of Taiwan Process Service since Taiwan does not recognize foreign judgments unless they have been acknowledged by Taiwan courts.
For the vast majority of situations, it would seem that the complaint must be translated into traditional Chinese before it can be filed in court in Taiwan. The court may, on its initiative, continue to serve the same party by constructive notice if it has already done.
The constructive notice requires that the document be retained in the custody of the court clerk and that a notice be put on the court’s bulletin board instructing the person to be served to pick up their copy from the clerk at any time. On the other hand, when the document being served is a summons, it must be displayed on the bulletin board.
It is also mandatory that a written or photocopied version of your document be put on the court’s website in addition to what is specified. An official gazette or newspaper may be ordered to publish an abridged or a written copy if the court thinks it’s required.
Once posted on the court’s bulletin board or website, service by constructive notice is effective twenty days after the posting date, and publishing in an official gazette or newspaper is effective as of the publication’s final day. A foreign country’s Taiwan Process Service by constructive notice takes effect sixty days after the notice is given. Despite this, Taiwan Process Service performed by means of constructive notice will be effective the day after the day on which notice is placed on the court’s bulletin board of the service.
Effective notice may be served via constructive notice by the court clerk, who must establish an official record of this. Transmission of any litigation document by fax or other technical means has the same effect as service. If the person served receives the document, they notify the court. If a person in the case requests that a particular litigation document be sent, they do so. It is up to the Judicial Yuan to set the regulations for the transmission described above.
Documents can be faxed at (800) 296-0115, emailed firstname.lastname@example.org, 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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1. The American Institute in Taiwan
3rd Floor, Consular Section
#7, Lane 134, Section 3, Xinyi Road
Taipei, 106 Taiwan
Telephone: (886) 2-2162-2000 or (02) 2162, ext. 2306
Emergency Telephone: +(886) 2-2162-2000. Press ‘0’ or ‘*’
Fax: +(886) 2-2162-2239
The U.S. maintains unofficial relations with the people of Taiwan through the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT). This private nonprofit corporation performs U.S. citizen and other consular services similar to those at embassies.
Kaohsiung Branch Office
5th Floor, No. 88 Chenggong 2nd Road,
Telephone: +(886) 7-335-5006
Emergency After-Hours Telephone: Please contact the American Institute in Taiwan.
Fax: +(886) 7-238-5237
Please contact the American Institute in Taiwan.
2. Requests to transmit letters rogatory may be sent to the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Consular Affairs, Overseas Citizens Services, Office of Legal Affairs, CA/OCS/L. Mailing address: ATTN: Judicial Assistance Officer, U.S. Department of State, CA/OCS/L, 2201 C Street, NW, SA-17, 10th Floor, Washington, DC 20522-1710.
3. Refer to Taiwan simply as Taiwan.
4. SignalQuest v. Chou, et al. CV-11-392-JL 5/22/12