Travel.State.Gov > Legal Resources > Judicial Assistance Country Information > Panama Judicial Assistance Information
DISCLAIMER: THE INFORMATION IS PROVIDED FOR GENERAL INFORMATION ONLY AND MAY NOT BE TOTALLY ACCURATE IN A SPECIFIC CASE. QUESTIONS INVOLVING INTERPRETATION OF SPECIFIC FOREIGN LAWS SHOULD BE ADDRESSED TO THE APPROPRIATE FOREIGN AUTHORITIES OR FOREIGN COUNSEL.
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Is Panama a party to the Hague Convention on the Service Abroad of Judicial and Extra Judicial Documents in Civil and Commercial Matters?
How should requests be completed?
Panama is not a party to the Hague Service Convention. However, the United States and Panama are parties to the Inter-American Convention on Letters Rogatory and Additional Protocol. See below.
Does Panama permit service via postal channels?
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.
Inter-American Convention on Letters Rogatory and Additional Protocol
The United States and Panama are parties to the Inter-American Convention on Letters Rogatory and Additional Protocol.
The U.S. Central Authority for the treaty is the U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Division, Office of Foreign Litigation, Washington, D.C.
Requests for service under the Inter-American Convention on Letters Rogatory and Additional Protocol may be sent to the U.S. Department of Justice's contractor, ABC Legal, for transmittal to the Panamanian Central Authority.
U.S. litigants seeking to serve process in Panama by other methods may wish to consult legal counsel in Panama for guidance.
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.
Is Panama a party to the Hague Convention on the Taking of Evidence Abroad in Civil and Commercial Matters?
How should letters of request be completed? Do they require transmittal via diplomatic channels?
All requests for obtaining evidence, including requests to compel evidence or to take voluntary depositions, may be submitted via the letters rogatory process.
Are foreign attorneys permitted to take depositions of willing witnesses without the involvement of the host government or courts?
Panama is not a party to the Hague Evidence Convention. Local authorities do not permit foreign persons, such as American attorneys, to take depositions for use in a court in the United States.
Private foreign attorneys may only take a deposition of a willing witness, regardless of nationality, with the assistance of a local court or before a consular officer at the U.S. Embassy in Panama.
May consular officers conduct depositions of willing witnesses?
Yes, local authorities allow consular officers to be present and conduct depositions of willing witnesses. Depositions may only be taken within the premises of the U.S. Embassy in Panama.
Attorneys should contact the U.S. Embassy in Panama City to make arrangements.
May local attorneys directly petition a court to conduct the deposition of an unwilling witness or must this be requested via letters rogatory?
This must be requested via letters rogatory .
Is Panama a party to the Hague Convention Abolishing the Requirement for Legalization of Foreign Public Documents?
Panama’s competent authority for the Hague Apostille Convention will authenticate local public documents with Apostilles and maintains an electronic register for the verification of Apostilles.
How can I authenticate U.S. public documents for use in Panama?
For information about authenticating U.S. public documents for use in Panama, 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.