The Hague Convention on Service

The Hague Convention on Service

Topic: Family Law February 9, 2018 by Erika Young

Serving Family Law Litigants who Reside Outside of Canada:

The Hague Convention on Service

How do you serve the respondent in your family law matter if they live outside of Canada?

Your first step is to determine if the Hague Service Convention applies.

In the 2016 Ontario decision Wang v Lin, 2016 ONSC 3967, the Ontario Divisional Court found that the Hague Convention on the Service Abroad of Judicial and Extrajudicial Documents in Civil and Commercial Matters (Hague Service Convention) applies to family law cases. Where a respondent lives in a country that is a signatory to the Hague Service Convention the applicant must serve the respondent in accordance with the terms of the Hague Service Convention (

To determine if the respondent resides in a country that is a signatory to the Hague Service Convention go to

If the respondent does reside in one of these countries, then you must determine if the receiving country requires the documents to be served through the Central Authority, or if the documents may be served by an alternative means, for example by mail. This information is found in Article 10 of the Hague Service Convention:

If you decide to serve your documents through the Central Authority, you cannot ask the Central Authority to serve the documents directly. You must provide your documents for service to Ontario’s Central Forwarding Authority, which is located in Haileybury, Ontario. You should contact court staff or a lawyer to assist you.

You will need to provide the following documents to Ontario’s Central Forwarding Authority:

Within 8-12 weeks you will receive a Certificate from the Central Receiving Authority in the mail. The Certificate is to be attached to your Affidavit of Service to confirm with the Court that the respondent has been served with the family law application.

You will also receive notice if the Central Authority was unable to serve the documents on the respondent.

Please feel free to contact a member of our Family Law Group for more information or to discuss your options when it comes to serving a party outside of Canada.