Australia - Central Authority & practical information

Central Authority(ies):

Attorney-General's Department

Contact details:

Address: Private International Law Unit
Australian Government
Attorney-General's Department
Robert Garran Offices
3-5 National Circuit
BARTON ACT 2600
Australia
Telephone: +61 2 6141 3332 (for voicemail messages)
Fax: +61 2 6141 5452
E-mail: pil@ag.gov.au
General website: www.ag.gov.au/pil
Contact person: The Principal Legal Officer
Languages spoken by staff: English

 

Practical Information:
(The following information was provided by the relevant State authorities or was obtained from the replies to the 2003, 2008 and/or 2013 Service Convention Questionnaires)
Forwarding authorities
(Art. 3(1)):
The persons and entities within Australia competent to forward service requests pursuant to Article 3 include any court official, or any other person or entity authorised by the rules of the court.

Click here to read all the declarations made by Australia under the Service Convention. 

Methods of service
(Art. 5(1)(2)):
New South Wales:
The documents are served on a person by means of personal service by the Sheriff of New South Wales with the request of the Supreme Court of New South Wales.

Personal service of a document on a person is effected by leaving a copy of the document with the person, or, if the person does not accept the copy, by putting the copy down in the person's presence and informing the person of the fact that the document has been so placed. If the person is not at home, personal service is effected by leaving the documents addressed to the person, with a person who is apparently of or above the age of 16 years residing at that address.

In the case of a person having an address for service that is a solicitor's office address, service is attempted at the solicitor's office by leaving the documents with a person employed at that address.

Service of a document on a Corporation is effected by personally serving the document on the Corporation in any manner in which service of such a document may, by law, be served on the Corporation.

Service of a document on a prisoner or an inmate is effected by leaving the document with the General Manager of a Correctional Centre where the prisoner or an inmate is held.

Note: Request for service to a Post Office Box number, DX number or service transmission of documents electronically is not accepted in New South Wales.

Voluntary or informal delivery of documents (Article 5(2)) is carried out in the same manner as above.

Victoria:
As above for New South Wales. A Sheriff's Officer, detailing whether service has been successful or not, completes an affidavit of service. This indicates how the addressee was identified or reasons that service could not be affected. All relevant documents are sent back to the Foreign Service Officer for the Certificate of Service to be completed. Documents are then returned to the Applicant.

If the requesting authority has stipulated they require voluntary service to be affected, the process is carried out in the same manner as above. However, the addressee may refuse to accept the documents when being served by a Sheriff's Officer under this method. This is reflected in the affidavit, returned to the Court and deemed unsuccessful. Documents are then returned to the Applicant.

Queensland:
If the request is compliant with the Convention, service is effected by either a bailiff of the court or an enforcement officer.

Personal service on an individual is effected by locating the person to be served and identifying them, generally by asking their identity, and then giving them the documents to be served.

If service of the documents is required on a corporation, then service will ordinarily be attended to by delivering the documents and leaving them with a person at the registered address of the corporation.

If service of the documents is required on a business that is not a registered corporation, then service is effected by delivering the documents and leaving with them with a person at the business address who appears to be in control or management of the business.

Please note that service cannot be effected by sending documents to or leaving them at a Post Office Box address.

Voluntary service is carried out by either a bailiff of the court or an enforcement officer.

The bailiff or enforcement officer will locate the person to be served, identify them (by asking them to confirm their name) and will then ask if they will voluntarily accept service of the documents. If so, the documents or a copy of them will be left with that person.

Please note that Voluntary Service cannot be effected on a Post Office Box address.

Western Australia:
Official service is carried out pursuant to the Supreme Court Rules 1971 (WA) under Order 11A.

If these requirements are met, the request is processed through the Supreme Court and passed to the Sheriff to organise personal service.

Upon receipt the Sheriff will organise for one of his Officers to effect service and when service is effected an Affidavit will be completed by the Sheriff's office. This Affidavit is forwarded to the Supreme Court and upon receipt, the Principal Registrar produces the Certificate of Service of Foreign Process which is signed and sealed.

Attached to that Certificate is the Sheriff's Affidavit and annexures being the documents that were in fact served.

These documents are then forwarded to the State Solicitor's Office.

Upon receipt the State Solicitor's Office transmits that Certificate, Affidavit and annexures to the requesting authorities.

A notation and request is also made with regards to payment of service fees which are paid in advance by the State Solicitor's Office.

The process for voluntary service is basically the same as above apart from the fact that in some instances, no translation of the documentation is provided apart from the original request and if that is the case, voluntary service will be carried out on the condition that the person being served is happy to accept the documentation in that form. An Affidavit of Service is prepared by the Sheriff's Officer annexing the document that was served.

The Principal Registrar of the Supreme Court of Western Australia will produce a Certificate for documents that are not translated but he cannot certify what has been delivered other than a document in a foreign language.

South Australia:
The documents are transferred to the Sheriff who arranges for the documents to be forwarded to the Process Server. The Process Server will attend at the address shown and attempt to serve the documents. If successful an affidavit of service would be completed.

If the person is no longer at the stated address, inquiries would be made with neighbours to try to ascertain the current address.

The Process Server would follow specific instructions relating to the service of the documents as provided by the applicant. For example, requiring the signature of the recipient. If the applicant has requested a particular method of service and that method is compatible with the law in force in this jurisdiction that method would be used.

Voluntary service
There are no recent precedents in South Australia.

Tasmania:
If the applicant has requested a particular method of service and that method is compatible with the law in force in Tasmania, service will be by that method (Supreme Court Rules 2000 (Tas), r.9700 (3)(b)).

If the applicant has not requested a particular method of service and the person accepts the document voluntarily by delivery of the document to the person to be served (Supreme Court Rules 2000 (Tas), r.9700 (3)(c)).

Unless a specific method of service is directed, a notice or document may be served on a natural person by giving it to the person or by leaving it at or posting it to that person's residential or business address. A document may be served on any other person by leaving it at or posting it to the person's principal or registered office or principal place of business. (Acts Interpretation Act 1931 (Tas), s.29AB).

Where service by post is permitted it shall be deemed to be effected by properly addressing, prepaying and posting the documents as a letter. Further, unless the contrary is proved service shall be deemed to be effected at the time the letter would be delivered in the ordinary course of post. A document required to be sent through registered post must be duly registered or, unless contrary intention appears, be sent through a certified mail service as provided for by postal regulations in force at the time. (Acts Interpretation Act 1931 (Tas), s.30)

Australian Capital Territory:
The request for service must be sent to the ACT Supreme Court by the Attorney General of the Commonwealth or forwarding authority. The Court arranges for service of: the document to be served, the summary of the document, and a copy of the request for service (Court Procedure Rules 2006 (ACT), rule 6564). This is ordinarily served by a Sheriff's Officer of the Supreme Court.

Voluntary service is carried out in the same way as official service as described above i.e. the request must be sent to the Supreme Court which arranges for service See Court Procedure Rules 2006 (ACT), rule 6564.

Northern Territory:
Information on the Northern Territory is not available at this stage.

Translation requirements
(Art. 5(3)):
No translations are required for voluntary service. For all other methods of service please refer below.

New South Wales:
11A.13 of the Uniform Civil Procedure Rules 2005 (NSW) requires the documents to be served and its translation in English.

Please note: the translation must bear a certificate (in English), signed by the translator stating:

  • that the translation is an accurate translation of the document
  • the translator's full name and address, and
  • his or her qualifications for making the translations

Victoria:
Where the documents to be served (including request forms) are not in the English language, they must bear a certificate (in English) signed by the translator stating:

  • that the translation is an accurate translation of the documents;
  • the translator's full name and address and his or her qualifications for making the translation.

See Order 80.13(2) and (3) of the Supreme Court (General Civil Procedure) Rules 2005 (VIC).

Queensland:
The foreign civil process to be served must be translated into English and provided in duplicate pursuant to Rule 130 of the Uniform Civil Procedure Rules 1999 (Qld). The documents forwarded for service must be duly certified by the translator to be a true and correct translation of the documents to be served.

Western Australia:
Documents to be served must be translated into English. Any translation that is provided must bear a Certificate in English (signed by the translator) stating that the translation is an accurate translation of the document and the translator's full name and address and his/her qualifications for making the translation. The Certificate is required pursuant to Rule 11A 3(2) of the Supreme Court Rules 1971 (WA).

South Australia:
Rule 41M of the Supreme Court Civil Rules 2006 (SA) deals with translation requirements.
Subrule (2) provides that where a document to be submitted is not in English it must be accompanied by an English translation of the document.
Any translation required under subrule (2)(d)) must bear a certificate (in English) signed by the translator stating:

  • that the translation is an accurate translation of the document, and
  • the translator's full name and address and his or her qualifications for making the translation.

Tasmania:
Any documents in a language other than English must be accompanied by an English translation (Supreme Court Rules 2000 (Tas), r.970M(2)(b)). Any translated documents must bear a certificate (in English) signed by the translator stating the translation is an accurate translation of the document as well as the translator's full name and address and his or her qualifications for making the translation (Supreme Court Rules 2000 (Tas),r.970M(2)).

Australian Capital Territory:
Documents for service, if in a language other than English, must be accompanied by an English translation of those documents. The translation must bear a certificate in English, signed by the translator, stating that the translation is an accurate translation of the document and the translator's full name, address and qualifications for making the translation (Court Procedure Rules 2006 (ACT), rule 6562).

Northern Territory:
Information on the Northern Territory is not available at this stage.

Costs relating to execution of the request for service
(Art. 12):
New South Wales:
A flat fee applies for service, including service attempts. The fees are payable to the Supreme Court of New South Wales. An invoice for payment is sent to the requesting authority along with the Certificate of Service/Non Service.

The costs of service are set out in the Civil Procedure Regulations 2012 (NSW). The Sheriff's fees are in Schedule 2 Sheriff's Fees. Item 1 sets out the current fees for service.

Please note that an increase in service fees normally occurs on 1 July of each year.

Victoria:
A fee of AUD 32.00 applies for successful service and AUD 23.00 for unsuccessful service. This is payable upon receipt of Certificate of Service or Non-service.
Payment can be made via credit cards, bank transfers or bank drafts. Reference numbers provided by the Sheriff's Office (in the invoice) must be quoted when payment is made.

Queensland:
The requesting authority must bear the costs of effecting service of both judicial and extrajudicial documents in Queensland, Australia.

There is no difference between the costs to effect service of judicial documents or extrajudicial documents. If service is not effected on the person, then the requesting authority must also bear the costs involved in attempting to effect service.

The exact cost will vary on a case by case basis depending on a number of factors, including, the location where service must be effected, whether the person to be served is cooperative and the number of attempts required to effect service.

The Queensland authorities will seek reimbursement of the service fees from the requesting authority.

At the conclusion of the matter, a Certificate of Service or a Certificate of Non Service will be returned to the requesting authority, together with an invoice for payment.

Western Australia:
The standard cost for service is AUD 120, a deposit fee which is paid to the Sheriff's Office in advance by the State Solicitor's Office and from that amount, he has a receiving charge, handling charge and service charge plus mileage and that normally comes in under that amount which is normally in the vicinity of AUD 60.00 to AUD 80.00.

As this State is a very large state, some 3500 kilometres from one end to the other, service in remote areas can incur additional fees for travelling the additional distances. But, generally speaking, most service requests come in under AUD 120.00. The cost of service is set out in the Civil Judgments Enforcement Regulations 2005 (WA). The Sheriff's Fees are in Schedule 2.

South Australia:
The requesting applicant must bear the costs of effecting service of both judicial and extrajudicial documents in South Australia. If service is not effected on the person/company, then the applicant must bear the costs involved in attempting to effect service. The exact cost will vary on a case by case basis depending on a number of factors, including the location where the service must be effected, whether the person/company to be served is cooperative and the number of attempts required to effect service. The South Australian authorities will seek reimbursement of the service fees from the requesting applicant.
At the conclusion of the service, a Certificate of Attestation showing service, or non-service, will be returned to the applicant together with an invoice for payment.

Tasmania:
The costs of service vary according to the mode of service used. Postal costs vary according to the size and weight of the article. Process servers' costs for personal service vary according to the location of the person served (distance the process server has to travel to effect service), and the number of trips which must be made before service is achieved.

Australian Capital Territory:
The Australian Capital Territory Supreme Court currently charges a flat fee of AUD 344.00 for service. This fee includes up to 3 attempts to serve the documents at the same address and is payable regardless of whether service is successful or not.
These fees are required to be paid up front. Payment can be made by way of cheque made payable to the ‘Supreme Court of the Australian Capital Territory’. Alternatively payment can be made by credit card over the phone by ringing the Supreme Court Registry.

Northern Territory:
Information on Northern Territory is not available at this stage.

Time for execution of request: Service in Australia can currently take up to 3 months or more. It varies according to the state or territory that the request is sent to as they may have different ways of processing service requests. It also depends on where in Australia the person resides. If the person is in a remote location, the time for execution of the service request will be longer than if the person lives in a central location.

Requests for urgent service are considered, but it may not always be possible to assist with expediting the request.

Please note the above for setting of future court dates.

Judicial officers, officials or other competent persons
(Art. 10(b)
 
Oppositions and declarations
(Art. 21(2)):

Click here to read all the declarations made by Australia under the Service Convention.

Art. 8(2): No opposition
Art. 10(a): Australia does not object to service by postal channels, where it is permitted in the jurisdiction in which the process is to be served. Documents forwarded via postal channels must be sent via registered mail to enable acknowledgement of receipt (see declarations)
Art. 10(b): No opposition
Art. 10(c): No opposition
Art. 15(2): Australia accepts that a default judgment may be awarded against a defendant even if no evidence of service had been provided, if all of the conditions outlined in Article 15, paragraph 2, are satisfied. See declaration of applicability.
Art. 16(3): An application for relief by a defendant from the effects of the expiration of the time to appeal will not be entertained if it is filed after the expiration of one year following the date of the judgment, except where it is determined otherwise by the Court seized by the matter. See declaration of applicability.
Derogatory channels (bilateral or multilateral agreements or internal law permitting other transmission channels)
(Arts. 11, 19, 24 and 25)

Disclaimer:
Information may not be complete or fully updated – please contact the relevant authorities to verify this information.

 

Useful links: http://www.ag.gov.au/pil

(This page was last updated on 24 August 2017)

Conventions (incl. Protocols and Principles)