Spain Process Service

Process service, also known as "service of process,” is the procedure employed to give an appropriate notice of initial legal action to another party (such as a defendant), court, or administrative body in an effort to exercise jurisdiction over that person so as to enable that person to respond to the proceeding before the court, body, or other tribunal. Notice is furnished by delivering a set of court documents (called "process") to the person to be served.


Spain process servers serve civil and commercial matters pursuant to the Hague Service Convention, which is a multilateral treaty adopted in Hague, Netherlands on November 15, 1965, by member states of the Hague Conference on Private International Law.  It came into existence to give litigants a reliable and efficient means of serving the documents on parties living, operating or based in another country. The provisions of the convention apply to service of process in civil and commercial matters but not criminal matters. Also, the Convention shall not apply if the address of the person to be served with the document is not known

Method of Service

Article 5(1)(a) Service

The Central Authority forwards the document to the Dean Judge (Juzgado Decano) of the Courts of First Instance within the judicial territory (partido judicial) where the document is to be served. This court office is competent for distributing the different proceedings (including service of documents) among the judicial authorities that fall under its jurisdiction. Service is done by the Court of First Instance to which the matter has been forwarded.

Article 5(2) Service

In principle, although a different form of service is not prohibited nor allowed in Spanish domestic law, the Central Authority does not practice informal delivery within the meaning of Article 5(2).

Service by a particular method (Art. 5(1)( b))

In principle, although a different form of service is not prohibited nor allowed in Spanish domestic law, the Central Authority does not usually receive a special request by the applicant according to Article 5(1)(b).

For more information on methods of service, see European Judicial Network in Civil and Commercial Matters – Service of documents – Spain.

Translation Requirements

Spain has not made a general declaration regarding the necessity to draft or translate all documents into Spanish. This means that, in principle, the Central Authority has the discretion to require such a translation or not.Article 144 of the Spanish Procedural Law establishes that all documents drafted in a foreign language must be accompanied by a translation into Spanish. The requirement for translation is extended to the document or evidence to be served, and if applicable, to the document’s summary.

In practice, the Central Authority requires a Spanish translation of all the requests for service. Some exceptions have been made, such as, considering the mother tongue of the addressee. However, there have been uneven results on the part of the judicial organs.

Only if the forwarding authority justifies sufficiently that the translation is not needed in a particular case, may the Central Authority consider the possibility of accepting the request for service in the original language. However, a summary of the document should always be translated in the official language of the requested country.

Spain has concluded a bilateral agreement with Portugal in 1997 aiming to exclude translation requirements in legal assistance matters. There is also a bilateral agreement with Austria for the same purpose, but its application was directly related to the application of the Civil Procedure Convention of 1954 between the two countries, and, as regards service of documents, the latter has been recently substituted by the EU Regulation.

Diplomatic Service Via Letters Rogatory

For states which are not party to the Hague Service Convention, diplomatic channels are generally used for the service of legal documents. It is generally effected by a letter rogatory, which is a formal request to issue a judicial order from a court in the state where proceedings are underway to a court in another state. This procedure generally requires the transmission of the document to be served from the originating court to the foreign ministry in the state of origin. The foreign ministry in the state of origin forwards the request to the foreign ministry in the destination state. The foreign ministry then forwards the documents to the local court. The local court then makes an order to allow for the service. Once service is made, a certificate of service would then pass through the same channels in reverse. Under a somewhat more streamlined procedure, courts can sometimes forward service requests to the foreign ministry or the foreign court directly, cutting out one or more steps in the process.


The Hague Service Convention established a more simplified means for parties to effect service in other contracting states. Under the convention, each contracting state is required to designate a central authority to accept incoming requests for service. A judicial officer who is competent to serve process in the state of origin is permitted to send request for service directly to the central authority of the state where service is to be made. Upon receiving the request, the central authority in the receiving state arranges for service in a manner permitted within the receiving state, typically through a local court. Once service is effected, the central authority sends a certificate of service to the judicial officer who made the request.

The main benefits of the Hague Service Convention over letters rogatory is that it is faster (requests generally take two to four months rather than six months to one year), it uses standardized forms which should be recognized by authorities in other states, and it is cheaper (in most cases).

Alternate Methods of Service

The Hague Convention provides various modes of process service of documents such as by postal channel or by diplomatic/consular agents, judicial officers, officials or other competent persons. These provisions are covered under Articles 8 to 10 and may or not be allowed by member countries as a valid mode of serving the documents in their territory. The method of serving the documents through the Central Agency (Article 5) is not optional but is binding on all the member countries. The services done by the Central Agency usually takes a long time: 4 to 12 months. The convention gives relief to the litigants if they have not received certificate of service or delivery from the Central Agency even after waiting for six months. In such cases, the Court may, if it considers that a reasonable time has elapsed, give its judgement. Also, in case of urgency, the court may issue a provisional order or protective measure even before six-month waiting period.

Service by Mail

Service by mail is possible only in states that have not objected to that method under Article 10(a) of the convention and if the jurisdiction where the court case takes place allows it under its applicable law.

Our Process

Documents can be faxed (800)-296-0115, emailed, mailed 590 Madison Avenue, 21 Floor, New York, New York 10022, or dropped off at any of our location. 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 for 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 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.

What Should You Do Next?

Simply pick up the phone and call (212) 203-8001 or simply click the service you want to purchase below! Our dedicated team of professionals is ready to assist you. We can handle all of your 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 of our clients globally from our offices in New York, Brooklyn, Queens, Long Island, Westchester, New Jersey and Connecticut.

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