United Kingdom (England, Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland)Official Name: United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
THE INFORMATION RELATING TO THE LEGAL REQUIREMENTS OF SPECIFIC FOREIGN COUNTRIES IS PROVIDED FOR GENERAL INFORMATION ONLY AND MAY NOT BE TOTALLY ACCURATE IN A PARTICULAR CASE. QUESTIONS INVOLVING INTERPRETATION OF SPECIFIC FOREIGN LAWS SHOULD BE ADDRESSED TO FOREIGN ATTORNEYS. THIS CIRCULAR SEEKS ONLY TO PROVIDE INFORMATION; IT IS NOT AN OPINION ON ANY ASPECT OF U.S., FOREIGN, OR INTERNATIONAL LAW. THE U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE DOES NOT INTEND BY THE CONTENTS OF THIS CIRCULAR TO TAKE A POSITION ON ANY ASPECT OF ANY PENDING LITIGATION.
Embassies and Consulates
24 Grosvenor Square
London, W1K 6AH
Telephone: +(44)(20) 7499-9000
Emergency After-Hours Telephone: +(44)(20) 7499-9000
Fax: +(44) (20) 7495-5012
U.S. Consulate General Edinburgh, Scotland
3 Regent Terrace,
Edinburgh EH7 5BW
Telephone: 013-1556-8315 / from the United States: +(44)(13) 1556-8315
Emergency Telephone: Outside office hours: 020-7499-9000 / from the United States: +(44)(20) 7499-9000
Fax: 0131-557-6023 /from the United States: +(44) 131-557-6023
U.S. Consulate General Belfast, Northern Ireland
Danesfort House, 223 Stranmillis Road,
Belfast BT9 5GR
Northern Ireland, UK
Telephone: 028-9038-6100 / from the United States: +(44)(28) 9038-6100
Emergency After-Hours Telephone: 07545-507738 / from the United States: +(44) 7545-507738
Fax: 028-9068-1301 /from the United States: +(44)(28) 9068-1301
List of Attorneys
Service of Process
The UK is a party to the Hague Convention on the Service Abroad of Judicial and Extra Judicial Documents in Civil and Commercial Matters. Complete information on the operation of the Convention, including an interactive online request form are available on the Hague Conference website. Requests should be completed in duplicate and submitted with two sets of the documents to be served, and translations, directly to The UK’s Central Authority for the Hague Service Convention. The person in the United States executing the request form should be either an attorney or clerk of court. The applicant should include the titles attorney at law or clerk of court on the identity and address of applicant and signature/stamp fields. The United Kingdom did not object to Article 10(a) of the Convention and does permit service via postal channels. For additional information see theHague Conference Service Convention web page and the Hague Conference Practical Handbook on the Operation of the Hague Service Convention. See also the UK’s response to the 2008 Hague Conference questionnaire on the practical operation of the Hague Service Convention concerning England and Wales.
Service on a Foreign State: See also our Service Under the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act (FSIA) feature and FSIA Checklist for questions about service on a foreign state, agency or instrumentality.
Service of Documents from the United Kingdom in the United States: See information about service in the United States on the U.S. Central Authority for the Service Convention page of the Hague Conference on Private International Law Service Convention site.
Prosecution Requests: U.S. federal or state prosecutors should also contact the Office of International Affairs, Criminal Division, Department of Justice for guidance.
Defense Requests in Criminal Matters: Criminal defendants or their defense counsel seeking judicial assistance in obtaining evidence or in effecting service of documents abroad in connection with criminal matters may do so via the letters rogatory process.
Obtaining Evidence in Civil and Commercial Matters
The United Kingdom is a party to the Hague Convention on the Taking of Evidence Abroad in Civil and Commercial Matters. A Central Authority for the United Kingdom for the Hague Evidence Convention is designated to receive letters of request for the taking of evidence. See the Hague Evidence Convention Model Letters of Request for guidance on how to prepare a letter of request. Letters of Request should be prepared in duplicate. Requests for compulsion of evidence under the Hague Evidence Convention are transmitted directly from the requesting court or person in the United States to the U.K. Central Authority and do not require transmittal via diplomatic channels. See the UK Declarations and Reservations on the Hague Evidence Convention. See also the U.K. response to the 2008 Hague Conference questionnaire on the practical operation of the Hague Evidence Convention.
Taking Voluntary Depositions of Willing Witnesses
Voluntary depositions of willing witnesses in civil and commercial matters are permitted regardless of the nationality of the witness. Oral depositions or depositions on written questions may be taken by U.S. consular officers or by private attorneys at the U.S. Embassy or at another location such as a hotel or office, either on notice or pursuant to a commission. If the services of a U.S. consular officer are required to administer an oath to the witness, interpreter and stenographer, such arrangements must be made in advance with the U.S. embassy directly.
Authentication of Documents
The UK is a party to the Hague Convention Abolishing the Requirement for Legalization of Foreign Public Documents. The UK’s competent authority for the Hague Apostille Convention will authenticate UK public documents with Apostilles. For information about authenticating U.S. public documents for use in The UK, see the list of U.S. Competent Authorities. To obtain an Apostille for a U.S. Consular Report of Birth Abroad of a Citizen of the United States of America, contact the U.S. Department of State, Passport Services, Vital Records Office.