Substituted Service and the Hague Service Convention

46 Pages Posted: 22 Jul 2021 Last revised: 13 May 2022

See all articles by William S. Dodge

William S. Dodge

University of California, Davis - School of Law

Date Written: July 19, 2021


State law plays a surprisingly large role in transnational litigation, and how it defines the applicability of the Hague Service Convention is an important example. In Volkswagenwerk AG v. Schlunk, the U.S. Supreme Court held that the Convention does not apply when, under state law, service of process is made within the United States. In Schlunk, Illinois law permitted substituted service on the U.S. subsidiary of a foreign parent company, so the Convention did not apply. This Article looks at substituted service under state law today and when it permits avoidance of the Hague Convention. The Article focuses on two kinds of substituted service that many states permit: (1) substituted service on affiliated companies; and (2) substituted service on state officials.

The Article argues that states should liberalize their rules for substituted service on affiliated companies by focusing on whether service on the affiliate provides adequate notice to the defendant rather than on whether there are grounds to pierce the corporate veil, as many states currently do. The Article further argues that when substituted service is made on a state official, the Due Process Clauses require that a copy of the service be sent abroad, making the Hague Convention applicable.

Keywords: service of process, hague service convention, Schlunk, substituted service, registration statutes, corporate veil

Suggested Citation

Dodge, William S., Substituted Service and the Hague Service Convention (July 19, 2021). 63 William & Mary Law Review 1485 (2022), Available at SSRN:

William S. Dodge (Contact Author)

University of California, Davis - School of Law ( email )

Martin Luther King, Jr. Hall
Davis, CA CA 95616-5201
United States

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