Finland and the United States are parties to the Hague Convention on the Service Abroad of Judicial and Extra-Judicial Documents in Civil or Commercial Matters (20 UST 361, TIAS 6638; 28 USCA (Appendix following Rule 4 FRCvP); 16 I.L.M. 1339 (1977)). The Hague Service Convention provides for service by international registered mail, by agent and by formal request to the foreign Central Authority. (See Rule 4(f)(1) F.R.Cv. P.) For a detailed discussion of the operation of the Hague Service Convention, consult. Service can be effected in Finland under the Convention through the Finnish Central Authority. A request for service by the Central Authority can be made by an attorney by submitting the documents to be served under cover of form USM-94, in duplicate to the foreign Central Authority. The Convention form (USM-94) is available at the office of any United States Marshal and is reprinted in the Martindale Hubbell Law Directory, Law Digest Volume, Selected International Conventions, after the text of the Hague Service Convention.
FINLAND CENTRAL AUTHORITY:
Ministry of Justice
P.O. Box 25
There are generally no costs incurred in connection with service through the Central Authority under the Hague Convention.
METHODS OF SERVICE:
Article 5(b) – Personal Service: If personal service is required, strike out methods (a) and (c) on the Request for Service form (USM-94) and indicate method (b) on the form, noting that the documents should be served personally upon the person or company to be served.
The Finnish Central Authority has informed the Hague Conference for Private International Law that a translation is not required; however, if the addressee does not accept a document made out in a foreign language, service can only be effected if the document is translated into one of the official languages of Finland, i.e. Finnish or Swedish, or if the addressee must be deemed to understand the foreign language. All documents forwarded to them for service under the provisions of the Convention must be in duplicate.
On letters rogatory Finland does not undertake to execute requests made in English; requests must be made in Finnish or Swedish, and the response will be given in Finnish unless Swedish has been specifically requested.
SERVICE BY MAIL:
Service of process by international registered mail is permitted under Finnish law in administrative, civil, and criminal cases.
Finland Process Service
APPLICABLE TREATIES OR OTHER AGREEMENTS:
The Vienna Convention on Consular Relations, 21 UST 77; 596 UNTS 261; TIAS 6820 (Article 5); Hague Convention on the Taking of Evidence Abroad in Civil and Commercial Matters, 28 USCA 1781 (1980 Cumulative Suppl) and 23 UST 2555; TIAS 7444. See also the law digest volume of the Martindale-Hubbell Law Directory under selected international conventions.
Article XXIV of the 1934 Finnish-U.S. Treaty of Friendship, Commerce and Consular Rights.
TRANSMITTAL OF A REQUEST:
The request should be transmitted to the foreign Central Authority as explained in our general flyer on the operation of the Hague Evidence Convention.
DEPOSITIONS OF WILLING WITNESSES:
The right to take depositions of U.S. citizens and U.S. permanent residents is secured by treaty. Finnish law also permits the taking of voluntary depositions from Finnish citizens and third country nationals. Articles 15-16 of the Hague Evidence Convention provide for the taking of evidence of willing witnesses by diplomatic and consular officers.
SCHEDULING A DEPOSITION AT THE U.S. CONSULATE GENERAL:
All U.S. consular services in Finland are provided at the Embassy in Helsinki. Public hours are from 9:00 A.M. to 12:00 noon, Monday through Friday, except for U.S. and Finnish holidays. A consular officer is available to administer oaths on the premises during regular working hours. However, you will need to schedule an appointment in advance. Appointments can be scheduled by contacting the American Citizen Services Unit of the U.S. Embassy (tel: 358-9-171931/ext. 270; fax: 358-9-652057).
Effective June 1, 2002, consular fees related to taking depositions or executing commissions to take testimony changed. See Federal Register, May 16, 2002, Volume 67, Number 95, Rules and Regulations, Page 34831-34838; 22 CFR 22.1. A deposit for fees is payable in advance prior to taking of deposition based on consular officer”s estimate of time required. Make certified or corporate check payable to “American Embassy Nicosia.”
Effective June 1, 2002, the consular fees for a deposition involving little participation by consular officers is $235.00, representing one hour or part thereof of consular officer time. See Federal Register, May 16, 2002, Volume 67, Number 95, Rules and Regulations, Page 34831-34838; 22 CFR 22.1, Item No. 52(b). In addition, there is a $475.00 fee for scheduling/arranging appointments for depositions, including video teleconference depositions (per daily appointment); Item No. 52(a).
The new fees are:
Item No. 52(a) – Scheduling/arranging appointments for depositions, including depositions by video teleconference (per daily appointment) – $475 (If an appointment is changed and a new appointment must be scheduled and new arrangements made, a new $475 fee will be charged each time.)
Item No. 52(b) – Attending or taking depositions, or executing commissions to take testimony (per hour or part thereof) – $235 per hour plus expenses
Item No. 52(c) – Swearing in witnesses for telephone (teleconference) depositions – $235
Item No. 52(d) – Supervising telephone (teleconference) depositions (per hour or part thereof over the first hour) – $235 per hour plus expenses
Item No. 52(e) – Providing seal and certification of depositions – $60.00
Postage for Return of Transcript – Actual Costs
After being sworn in, the parties (witnesses, court reporters, and translators) withdraw to a location outside the Embassy for the taking of the deposition. Should the deposition last more than one day, the parties can be considered as remaining under oath for the entire proceedings, unless counsels find this disagreeable, in which case oaths will need to be readministered as required. A written copy of the oath can be provided for optional attachment to the deposition record. Should this be required, arrangements must be made when scheduling the swearing in of the parties. When a written version of the transcript has been prepared, the witness may return to the Embassy to sign the document, as necessary.
The use of video and sound recording equipment is not restricted, provided the parties involved are amenable. However, counsels should be aware that the European voltage is 220V and local video equipment (PAL) is not compatible with the NTSC system used in the United States. Consult the Office of American Citizens Service”s general flyer Obtaining Evidence Abroad .
Commercial stenographer and interpreter services are available in Finland. Consult the U.S. Embassy for additional information.
HOST COUNTRY CLEARANCE – PARTICIPATION OF LOCAL, STATE OR FEDERAL GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS FROM THE UNITED STATES:
If a local, state, or federal government official from the United States intends to participate in the voluntary deposition of a willing witness abroad, formal host country and U.S. Embassy clearance is required. This can be requested by contacting the Office of American Citizens Services. The request should be made at least ten days prior to the taking of the deposition to allow sufficient time for local authorities to make a determination about the official travel.
COMPULSION OF TESTIMONY, DOCUMENTARY OR PHYSICAL EVIDENCE:
Requests which require compulsion of evidence must be submitted in accordance with the requirements of the Convention and submitted to the designated Central Authority. In cases not governed by the Hague Convention, letters rogatory may be used.
There is no mutual legal assistance treaty in force between the U.S. and Finland. Requests for evidence in criminal cases must be made in the form of letters rogatory.
AUTHENTICATION OF DOCUMENTS:
Finland is a party to the Hague Convention Abolishing the Requirement for Legalization of Foreign Public Documents (TIAS 10072; 527 UNTS 189, 20 Int”l Legal Materials 1405 – 1419 (1981).
ENFORCEMENT OF JUDGMENTS:
There is no treaty, convention, or other international agreement in force between the U.S. and Finland regarding enforcement of judgments.
LISTS OF FOREIGN ATTORNEYS:
Lists of foreign attorneys prepared by the U.S. Consulate General are available from the Office of American Citizens Services or directly from the U.S. Embassy.
U.S. EMBASSY LOCATION:
Itainen Puistotie 14B
If you have further questions, contact the Office of American Citizens Services, CA/OCS/ACS, Department of State, Room 48l7 N.S., Washington, D.C. 20520, tel: (202) 647-5226.
Revised January 2002
Finland Process Service