Hague Convention

Switzerland has designated a Central Authority for each canton.

Also review Taking of Evidence Abroad. Documents to be served or Letters of Request, including all supporting documentation, should be in the official language of the canton where they are to be served or accompanied by translations into that language (e.g., French in Geneva, German in Basel, Italian in Ticino, etc.).

Requests of service of documents or evidence under the Hague Conventions may also be addressed to the Federal Justice and Police Department, Federal Office for Justice, International Judicial and Extrajudicial Assistance, Bundesrain 20, 3003 Bern, Switzerland, Tel. 011-41-31-322-4529. That office will forward the requests for service to the Central Authority in the appropriate canton.

The completed request form and documents to be served, with accompanying translation (2 copies of each), should be mailed directly to the foreign Central Authority as provided by Article 3 of the Convention. In their accession to the convention, the Swiss specified that in cases where the addressee does not voluntarily accept service of a document it cannot officially be served on him/her unless it is in the language of the authority addressed. Technically, therefore, English language documents can be served, but only if the person being served chooses to accept them. To avoid difficulties, one may wish to provide a translation.


Switzerland made specific reservations regarding translations at the time it deposited its instruments of accession to the Conventions. Unless the party to be served will accept service voluntarily, the documents to be served must be accompanied by a translation into the language of the authority addressed, e.g. German, French or Italian, depending on the part of Switzerland in which the document is to be served. With the taking of evidence, letters of request and any accompanying documents must be in the language of the authority requested to execute them or translated into the appropriate language. Documents confirming execution will be drawn up in the official language of the requested authority.


There are generally no costs incurred in connection with service through the central authority under the Convention. However, if personal service is made and the person to be served resides in some remote location, some fees may be charged. The fees will be billed to the requester.

Please note: The information in this circular relating to the legal requirements of a specific foreign country is provided for general information only. Questions involving interpretation of specific foreign laws should be addressed to foreign counsel.