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How You Sue Someone Abroad in 2023?

a lawyer explaining to a client the process to sue someone abroad

As globalization is adopted rapidly and embraced by everyone, there is a rise in a unique category of lawsuits. These lawsuits do not list in domestic/national jurisdictions but involve parties from different jurisdictions. The lawsuits that fall under this category are known as multinational lawsuits/international lawsuits.

Being a part of a lawsuit can be stressful and frustrating, especially if that lawsuit is happening in international jurisdiction. People usually do not think they will ever be involved in a legal case until they face it head-on. Lawsuits can be stressful, frightening, confusing, and time-consuming.

Jumping through hoops in hopes of understanding laws in another country can be challenging, but it does not always have to be so. With this guide, filing a lawsuit to sue someone overseas will become simpler and easier, so your case can move forward easily.

This article explains what suing abroad means and how to sue someone abroad. The broad categories that your overseas lawsuit can fall into. The procedure to sue someone abroad and when you can sue someone abroad. Where you can seek help to sue someone abroad. Further, whether technology can play any role in seeking legal assistance.

How can I sue someone abroad?

Lawyers discussing on suing someone abroad over online meet

One of the first things you should consider before you sue someone abroad is whether you have legal recourse within your own country. You might be able to get a judge or other authority figure in your country to hear the case instead of going overseas for it.

Lawsuits already entail a long battle for an individual to fight for justice, and getting involved in a lawsuit is a hassle. When a case is overseas or, in other words, when you sue someone abroad in foreign jurisdictions with foreign laws, the problems can be even worse.

If you are involved in a foreign legal matter, you may wonder how to sue someone abroad. If you want to sue someone abroad, finding a lawyer in the new location and having them handle it isn’t simple. Hence we have Legamart to your rescue, which provides 24×7 legal support irrespective of your location.  

There are many factors to consider while filing a suit to sue someone abroad, which include:

  1. Which country you are going to file your lawsuit in;
  2. For what matter do you want to sue someone;
  3. What nature is your filing of; and 
  4. In what capacity are you filing the suit? 

Remember to have all your documents ready before filing the lawsuit. 

You should contact your country’s embassy or consulate and ask about their procedures for filing lawsuits against people who are citizens of other countries like the US. This process can take longer than just asking at home because more red tape is involved with international matters than domestically. If you have never filed such a lawsuit, this could make things more complex for you.

With this, you also must be watchful of other factors when you are filing a suit in a country with similar or different jurisprudence.

If you want to know how to use a US citizen as a foreigner? check out this article!

What is it meant by sue someone abroad?

A multi-jurisdictional or overseas lawsuit is when one party sues a person, business, or company based in another country. In domestic jurisdiction, the same statutory law governs the individual resident subjects equally and decides suits based on merits and facts. 

While dealing with disputes where different statutory laws govern parties and reside in other jurisdictions, it is interwoven to determine how the laws should be applied.  

It can happen for several reasons, described in a detailed manner below.

It is possible to treat an act committed by a person differently in different jurisdictions. It may not be a crime at all in any one of the jurisdictions. Suppose religious blasphemy is a crime in Gulf nations while it is no crime in the UK. 

However, the challenge comes from the fact that one must consider the justice system of a foreign country. We must go through all the requirements of the legal procedure of the country and derive the method to sue someone abroad. It means coming face to face with new and strange laws and court proceedings. 

That said, a multi-jurisdictional lawsuit is not filed in an international court. International courts have exclusive jurisdiction for matters involving two countries, not persons or entities.

What issues should be considered while you sue someone abroad?

Before institutionalizing any court proceedings abroad, various key factors should be addressed. They include; –

  1. Determining what you are suing for and establishing the appropriate causes of action should be the first thing, i.e. what you are suing for. There are various claims ranging from personal injury, breach of contract, owed money or medical malpractice. You can also establish other claims within these claims. For example, most personal injury cases have multiple grounds for compensation, like Negligence or Premises liability.
  2. Identify who you are suing: Legal liability should follow the cause of action, hence the need to identify who you are suing. For example, in a personal injury claim, the party liable may be an employer, manufacturer, or another driver on the road. There are possibilities of having more than one defendant, and every case must have one.
  3. Determine which court has jurisdiction: Determining which court has jurisdiction when suing persons in another country can be a difficult task depending on several elements, including jurisdictional rules, international agreements, choice of forum clauses, forum non conveniens, service of process, and legal counsel advice. The facts of your case and the applicable laws will ultimately establish which court has jurisdiction. So after carefully analyzing the above factor and upon the advice of your attorney, you can decide the place of jurisdiction.

What are the different types of multinational lawsuits?

A multinational lawsuit falls into the following categories and types but is not limited to:

a) In civil matters: Generally, the law of the land applies in civil cases. The local civil codes talk about parties who can sue and can be sued. There are definitions of who can be a party in a civil suit in almost all applicable civil laws, including non-residents. For example, a non-UK or non-EU resident could sue someone in the UK courts if the court approves.

b) In contractual and agreed-upon matters: In a case where there is a breach of contract between parties in different jurisdictions, you can sue someone abroad by considering the following three points:

  1. As a first step, determine where the defendant resides.
  2. Second, is the place where the performance of the contract was due. 
  3. The third is the place where the defendant carries on his business. That will prevail if there has been an express agreement regarding court jurisdiction in disputes.

c) In commercial transactions: The lawsuits of commercial nature vary from transaction to transaction. Finding how to sue someone abroad can require technicalities.

The parties always mention in contracts what jurisdiction will be enforceable if a dispute arises. Since trade and commerce are growing exponentially globally, disputes regarding commercial transactions are also increasing.

One can sue an individual company or employees of the company quite easily, even though the company operations take place in a different jurisdiction. An example is Amazon, against whom lawsuits can be filed by any individual, regardless of their geographic location.

d) In divorce matters: This is a unique and newest form of overseas disputes. As marriages occur overseas, and so do divorces, it is common for people to sue someone abroad to resolve marital disputes. Many nations, such as the United States and the UK, have recognized these disputes under their laws. A recent instance is Dubai ruler Sheikh Mohammad bin Rashid Al Maktoum and his wife Princess Haya case, where parties had to resolve a divorce dispute of multinational nature. 

Therefore, international lawsuits can involve any issue or category of law, be it corporate law, family law, or personal injury law. International disputes can even involve cases under other categories, such as criminal or environmental law. The list cannot be exhaustive because the nature of disputes keeps changing and emerging every day, so there are emerging categories of lawsuits also. 

Evidence needed to sue someone

For legal actions to succeed, it is imperative that you evaluate your relevant evidence and support your claim throughout the lawsuit. The types of evidence in varied lawsuits are:

  1. Family disputes: Collect evidence supporting claims related to divorce, child custody, property division and spousal financial support. It entails prenuptial or postnuptial agreements, parenting plans, international child custody arrangements, and financial documents identifying real income, such as bank statements, investment statements, mortgage documents, loan applications, tax returns, etc. Parties can also call witnesses to provide their statements. 
  2. Commercial transactions: While filing a commercial claim, parties must gather pertinent information from each other and third parties. It includes original sales and employment contracts, documentary proof of fraud or corruption, witness interviews, evidence of damages, claims of negligence and policy of insurance (if applicable). It is complex to obtain foreign evidence in the backdrop of international litigation. Therefore, businesses or parties must refer to the Hague Evidence Convention that governs and facilitates the transmission of evidence between signatory countries in multinational disputes
  3. Civil disputes: Initiate the process and assemble access to witnesses available to testify in court, gather documents, official reports, pictures, and other evidence to support your claim or disprove the opponent’s claim. Itemize the number of elements required to prove or refute and collect the particular evidence. Further, comply with rules of discovery and request documents possessed by either the defendant or non-party witness. 
  4. Contractual matters: While resolving international contract disputes, the innocent party must collect and provide original contracts or agreements, documentary proof of breach of contracts, witness statements and proof of damages suffered. Others are testimony of the parties to the alleged contract and demonstrative evidence such as video recording.

How to sue someone abroad on a personal injury claim?

A man reading a book on suing someone abroad for personal injury claim

In personal injury cases, the required process can be complicated depending on the evidence needed. Most key elements that should be observed are; –

  1. Sending a final demand letter. Before filing your case in court, you can consider sending a final demand letter to the defendant either by hand delivery or through certified mail with the return receipt requested.
  2. The demand letter should be typed in a formal manner highlighting the cause of action, the previous attempts made for restitution, and your proposal on out-of-court settlement based on any appropriate financial compensation. In addition, the letter should explicitly state your intention to institute legal proceedings if the defendant fails to comply.

Determine the appropriate jurisdiction

Before filing a civil lawsuit, you must determine the appropriate jurisdiction. Several factors can guide you in determining the jurisdiction, such as the location of the injury, the location of the defendant, and the laws of the country where the injury occurred. Consulting with an experienced international personal injury lawyer to determine these issues can be helpful.

Once you have identified the appropriate jurisdiction, you will need to determine the proper court to file your legal claim. Normally a civil court handles such matters. This may depend on the specific rules and procedures of the country where the injury occurred.

Gather evidence

This is a critical step to establish your case. Gathering evidence is crucial to support your claim, for example, medical treatment in case of any medical malpractice (medical records document), witness statements, and photographs of the injury, if any. Other supporting evidence can be any relevant insurance policies (from the insurance company), a police report where the accident was reported to the police or any expert report.

File a complaint form

Most personal injury cases commence by serving a demand letter to the defendant informing them about the complaint, which should be responded to within a specific time limit. Then you can prepare and file a complaint with the relevant federal or local small claims court after establishing the relevant court jurisdiction. The complaint must contain– the facts of the case, the injuries suffered, and the damages sought.

The local court procedures and rules for filing documents will guide you on the filing procedure and applicable filing fees.

Serve the defendant

A copy of the complaint and summons must be served upon the defendant or defendants.

Service can be complicated, especially when the defendant is located in a foreign country because the rules for service of process can vary. You can research the relevant laws relating to service as it will guide you on the requirements for the service process, the relevant procedure (e.g. by certified mail or by a professional process server) and the applicable timeframe. Hiring a local professional process server or liaising with a court clerk can help you ensure the defendant is properly served.

Firstly, you can identify the appropriate service method depending on the laws of the country where the defendant is located or, in cases where there is more than one defendant, how they are personally served. After appropriate service, it is mandatory to confirm service of the pleadings and other documents to the local federal court.

Commencing the legal process

The legal proceedings during the suit may differ from country to country. It is important to follow the local court procedures and rules, which may include filing documents in a specific format or language and conducting hearing proceedings.  

How to sue someone for a small claims case abroad?

Local small claims court is a special court established in many jurisdictions to determine small claims expeditiously. In small claims court, the rules are simplified, and the hearing may be done informally without an attorney with less strict rules of formality.

If a person who owes you money lives in a different jurisdiction, the procedure for recovering the same can be complicated because both countries might have separate court systems with different laws.

You will first need to decide the jurisdiction where it is best to lodge your small claim, either in your jurisdiction or the defendant. The legal requirement in most jurisdictions is that the defendant must be served with notice that you are suing them. If the defendant is a company with an office within your jurisdiction, service can be done via their office’s certified mail. If they live abroad, some courts require permission to be obtained first before such service of notice.

To institute a small claim abroad, you will need to file a small claims court action in the appropriate jurisdiction. Depending on the laws and procedures of the foreign country, it is important to seek legal advice abroad to ensure that correct processes and procedures are observed when instituting a small claims court action in a foreign jurisdiction.

Court proceedings in a small claim court may commence by instituting a complaint and filling out a complaint form. This is a document used to formally initiate legal proceedings in most jurisdictions. The complaint form typically entails various information such as the name and address of the plaintiff and defendant, a description of the dispute, and the amount of money or damages being claimed.

Once the complaint form is submitted to the relevant court, the filing fee is paid, and notice is served to the defendant, the legal process for your small claim abroad will typically proceed through various stages, for example, attending court hearings and presenting evidence to support your claim.

How to sue a company?

Suing a company means filing a lawsuit or making a legal claim against a company in court. The specific steps and procedures for suing a company vary depending on the jurisdiction and the nature of the dispute. There are many reasons that can necessitate a company to be sued, including; breach of contract, negligence, security violation, employment dispute or intellectual property infringement.

Suing a company in a foreign country can be stressful, and to avoid challenging hurdles associated with international lawsuits, described below are the mandatory course of action: 

  1. Confirm the forum: Meticulously check the forum selection clauses of the multinational contracts or the agreements that lay down the governing law and specific jurisdiction that would apply to a lawsuit. In case of absence of the clause, a suit may be filed in either the parent company’s principal place of business or the nation where assets are located. 
  2. Deciding the jurisdiction: Determine the court where the suit will be filed, as the international filing process differs. Demonstrating jurisdiction involves both subject matter and personal jurisdiction. Therefore, it is necessary to establish a link between the foreign company and the nation where the lawsuit will be filed. 
  3. File a lawsuit: The concerned party is required to file a suit specifying the alleged violations. It must be clubbed with proof of valid jurisdiction, supporting exhibits, nature of the suit and remedial course of action. 
  4. Serve the notice: Delivering the notice for a lawsuit to the other party is essential to suing a foreign entity. Usually, the affected party hires a process server because the overseas company is located in a foreign land. If the defendant you wish to sue is located outside the EU, the court’s permission is required to serve the notice. The Hague Convention eases the process for the plaintiff by facilitating in serving claims on the condition that defendants are also members of the convention. Therefore, it is vital to follow the provisions laid down in the convention. 

Now that we have covered the steps to bring a lawsuit against a corporation, let’s look at the right forum and the difficulties you encounter when using a foreign corporation in further legal blogs!

How can I enforce foreign court orders abroad?

Enforcing foreign judgment can be complex as it involves navigating the legal system of two jurisdictions. There are a few significant steps that should be considered including–

  1. Determine the enforceability of the judgement or court orders: This can be achieved by determining whether the foreign judgement is enforceable within your jurisdiction by researching through specific laws and treaties in place between the two jurisdictions.
  2. Once it is established that the foreign court order or judgement is enforceable, the same will need to be registered with the appropriate court. Registration mostly involves submitting certain documents, such as a certified copy of the foreign judgement, and paying a fee.
  3. After complete registration, the defendant can be notified informing them of the intention to enforce the judgement in their jurisdiction. Such notification entails serving the defendant with legal documents or using another method specified by the court.

What kind of lawyer do I need to sue someone abroad?

Now that you understand the nature of lawsuits abroad and know what category your dispute may be placed into, here is the following essential requirement:

  1. Choose a person to help you with your representation, counselling, and lawsuit filing.
  2. To sue someone abroad, the first question that needs to be asked is, what kind of lawyer do I need to help me to sue someone abroad as per my grievances? Relating to international litigation, the practice lawyers that are the most common include:
    1. International Business Lawyers 
    2. International Corporate Lawyers
    3. International Intellectual Property Law Lawyers 
    4. International Arbitration.
  3. Moreover, you must identify whether or not you need a foreign legal consultant or a lawyer licensed to practice law in a specific jurisdiction.

How can I find a good lawyer to sue someone abroad?

Once you have identified the kind of lawyer most appropriate for your case to sue someone abroad; now, how can you find reputable and reliable representation in another country? 

Take into account the magnitude of the situation: you are not familiar with the country’s legal system, nor do you have any information about the network of lawyers in that specific jurisdiction.

So, finding a competent representative that you can trust to handle your case properly is crucial. Giving power of attorney to an overseas lawyer requires much more than a simple Google search. Trust is built on more than a few polished reviews and a nice picture.

Moreover, since you will disclose many facts about your life, privacy and confidentiality are critical elements in your search.

The solution: first, check the regulations of the foreign country concerning attorney-client confidentiality and then thoroughly check whomever you choose. 

You can also look at the highly qualified lawyers that are a part of our very own community here at LegaMart in our advocacy section. 

Our organization is well-connected globally and has professionals engaged everywhere. We have many experiences that can help you sue someone abroad. 

As a globally accessible law firm, we work in different countries to make legal services accessible to everyone easily. 

You do not have to worry about travelling to another country when you can engage with the best in the field through our lawyer’s directory. If you have questions, you can ask us on our community page and social media handles. 

How can I find a good lawyer quickly and easily online to sue someone abroad?

Hiring the right person for your case increases the chance of a successful outcome and puts you on the best path to achieve the best results. You may speak with a friend or family member who knows a lawyer who has had a similar case, but word-of-mouth referrals cannot meet your needs because each case is unique.

Internet access enables you to consult a professional far from you online. Many law firms are now providing advice via the internet to their clients.

One of the innovations in the legal-tech sector is referral platforms. These platforms can provide the opportunity to search for lawyers in different jurisdictions across the globe. You can explore several legal service providers versed in handling all legal issues.

You can also have free initial consultation through the internet with the lawyers before hiring them. Thus, you can ensure that the lawyer can sufficiently handle your case. You will know about the work profile of the lawyer and how well he has dealt with previous cases.

You can request at our LegaMart platform for consultation and avail the best advice on all the legal issues you face.

Now, online legal representation extends beyond the realm of lawsuits, encompassing diverse needs such as immigration. Whether you’re aiming to relocate to countries like Norway, Portugal, the UK, USA, or any part of the world, legal professionals specialize not only in litigation but also in facilitating seamless immigration processes.

Work with a lawyer abroad

As the internet is taking over every sphere of life and work, so has it affected the legal field. Nowadays, booking an appointment with an international law firm and suing someone abroad is not hard.

Seeking legal help globally, especially after the Covid-19 pandemic, has become common.

You can consult any professional and take advice while in your office.

We at LegaMart have a very efficient and accountable system that automatically updates the case status and informs clients and lawyers about the latest happenings of the cases.

How can I pay my lawyer after I have hired them?

Now you know about the nature of your case and which law firm or lawyer to engage. It is time to decide how much you must pay your lawyer for legal counsel and by which mode you can pay your lawyer.

Financial issues, billing schedules, and price transparency are essential to decide. Even when individuals are looking for a reliable lawyer locally, they will receive different rates. This problem can be worse when you are unfamiliar with the rates in a specific country.

Since your options are limited, you will not receive competitive quotes. Also, some lawyers may expect to be paid in advance. It is best to request an estimate of the total hours and costs first and then discuss the expected payment method.

We at LegaMart have secure and safe payment methods that ensure payment delivery.

How can I communicate with my lawyer if they are overseas?

Language barriers are the main issues with legal proceedings in foreign jurisdictions. If you are not fluent in the language in which the proceedings will be taking place, be sure to choose a legal representative who is fluent in that language. Furthermore, in addition to knowing the court’s language, they should also learn your language to advise you understandably and effectively.

Moreover, an international case requires ample communication between the attorney and the client. You should inform your attorney immediately if there are any new developments in your case. It helps them represent you more efficiently. Therefore, you and your lawyer must establish a set method of communication so that you can be reached as quickly as possible, be it via email, phone, or even fax.

How do I proceed to sue someone abroad?

After considering all these questions, the next logical question is how to proceed with your lawsuit. The answer is simple: either book a consultation with a lawyer or hire an attorney to represent you in court. They will then help you in the following stages of your legal journey.

What’s the final answer?

It’s simple! Don’t seek an intermediary if you’re looking for a lawyer in a foreign jurisdiction. Fortunately, legal tech makes finding a competent lawyer in another country easier without spending hours on the web. With platforms such as LegaMart, the process of assessing a lawyer’s background and work history, in addition to free consultations and hiring, has been made possible with simple clicks. Who could want more?

Moreover, you might encounter a country that doesn’t speak English, resulting in its problems. You also don’t want to be giving your client advice about a foreign jurisdiction, nor do you want to perform work abroad due to legal limitations and restrictions. The best solution is to network with lawyers on a professional community page such as LegaMart Community or hire a trusted and vetted LegaMart lawyer in your desired jurisdiction that can communicate without any language barriers.

That said, finding a lawyer in a foreign jurisdiction to sue someone abroad couldn’t have been easier. It’s time to ditch the old-school and expensive international law firms and replace them with a modern, transparent method of finding foreign lawyers. 

Frequently Asked Question

What happens when you are sued and leave the country?

When you are sued and leave the country, the legal proceedings can continue without you. If you do not respond or present yourself in court, the court may give a default judgment against you. However, enforcement of the judgement may be difficult due to the need for collaboration between legal systems and the availability of assets in the nation where you presently reside.

Can you sue for anything?

Yes, you can sue for anything till you have a reasonable cause of action or reasonable legal grounds on which you can sue. This means you must have some legal justification to make your case valid and effective. If you file a vague lawsuit with no arguable legal foundation or not based on facts, your case is more likely to be rejected, and you can be solely held liable for the defendant’s legal bills.

What is the lowest amount a person can sue for when suing someone abroad?

You can sue for any reasonable amount if you have a reasonable cause of action or valid legal claim. Usually, there is a separate court, a small claims court, where you may bring minor claims. However, there are fees associated with pursuing a court case, so you must consider whether it will make any monetary sense to sue.

Explore our guide on ‘types of shipping insurance‘ for insights on protecting your cargo. Modernize your approach in both legal matters and logistics—read now!

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