Service of Process and Orders in Monaco
The Principality of Monaco is the home to many international companies, businesses, and individuals who have activities all over the globe. Sometimes, it is necessary to acquire jurisdiction over one or more of those persons in a foreign court or tribunal. Monaco generally permits the service of foreign process and orders, but there are rules and procedures to be followed if service is to be effective. This page provides some general guidelines for accomplishing service in Monaco.
General. The service of process and orders in Monaco is normally done through a quasi-court official called a huissier. An English translation of this term might be bailiff, marshal, or sheriff. There are two huissiers in Monaco. Both are very busy because they also perform other judicial and quasi-judicial functions in addition to serving process. In addition to the procedures described below, papers can also be served through diplomatic channels, but this is a very lengthy process.
Translations. Neither huissier in Monaco is generally willing to serve papers that are in a language other than French, unless they are accompanied by a French translation. This includes exhibits to papers, including, news paper articles, etc. This is an important requirement because, even if a huissier would entertain serving non-French language documents, the person served could seek to have service voided in a Monaco court because the papers served were not accompanied by a French translation. This could cause problems later on, when trying to enforce a judgment in Monaco based on the defective service. Thus far, it does not seem as if anyone challenges the quality of the translation; however, a translation by a professional translator would seem advisable.
Procedure. The papers to be served, including proper translations into the French language, must be presented to a huissier at the request of a resident of Monaco. Otherwise, the huissier may refuse to accept them and will direct the party seeking service to submit the papers through diplomatic channels. Upon receipt of properly delivered papers, the huissier will attempt to deliver those papers to the person to be served. If that person can not be found because of absence or other reason (but not because the person is unknown in Monaco or has departed Monaco), the huissier will deposit the papers with the Mairie and send the person to be served a registered letter informing him of the deposit. Either method constitutes personal service under Monaco law. The huissier will then provide a report in French describing the service. Normally, the huissier will not sign foreign forms of affidavits of service.
Costs. The huissier's fees are statutory and will depend on the number of papers to be served and their size. There is a separate fee for each party served. Usually, they range upwards from sixty Euro for a simple service.
The Firm routinely assists foreign law firms and process servers in arranging for the service of legal papers in Monaco. The charge for doing so is $300, or the Euro equivalent, for a normal service. Please note that the Firm's fees are per service of a related group of papers. The huissier's fees, which are separate, are per person served.
If you wish the Firm's assistance in serving legal papers in Monaco, we require the following:
1. A check payable to Berg and Duffy, LLP, for € 300 drawn on a bank in Monaco or France.
2. Three (3) copies of each paper to be served which, if not in the French language, must include a proper translation into French of every part of the papers not in French, including exhibits.
3. A specific appointment of the Firm as your agent to arrange for service of the papers in Monaco.
It is usually best to contact the Firm's Monaco office prior to sending the papers to discuss any possible issues, the estimated fees of the huissier, the form of the affidavit of service required, etc.
While the Firm will endeavor to be of assistance in serving papers whenever possible, the Firm reserves the right to refuse to assist in case of conflict or propriety. The Firm also reserves the right to request advance payment of the huissier's fees for service.