How to Sue Someone Abroad
Being a part of a lawsuit can be stressful and frustrating, especially if that lawsuit is happening in a foreign country. In this situation, everyone wants to have a reliable, hardworking lawyer who fights ardently on their behalf and mitigates the risks of a foreign lawsuit.
With this in mind, finding and hiring a lawyer in another jurisdiction is even harder regardless of the type of legal service desired (case review or legal advisory). So, the real question is: “what do you need to look at when suing someone overseas?”
How Can I Sue Someone Overseas?
People usually do not think they will ever be involved in a legal case until they are facing it head-on. Lawsuits can be stressful, frightening confusing, and time-consuming. When a case is overseas or in another words to sue someone in foreign jurisdictions with foreign laws, these problems can be even worse.
Jumping through hoops in hopes of understanding laws in another country can be hard, but it does not have to be. With this guide, suing someone overseas will become easier and more understandable, so your case can move forward with ease.
What Is an International Lawsuit?
An international lawsuit, or international litigation, is when one party is suing a person, business, or company that is based in another country. This can happen for a number of reasons, which will be explained in detail below.
Suing someone overseas is fundamentally the same as a domestic court case. There are two parties; one (the plaintiff) is suing the other (the defendant) because of some sort of wrongdoing.
However, the difference, and therefore the challenge, comes from the fact that the justice system of a foreign country must be taken into account. This means coming face to face with new and strange laws and court proceedings.
That being said, an international lawsuit does not take place within an international court. International courts are reserved specifically for matters involving two countries, not persons or entities.
International courts deal with cases crossing international borders, like war crimes or human trafficking. International lawsuits, where an everyday person wants to sue someone, should then be dealt with within one of the jurisdictions that the case involves.
Why Should I Sue Someone Internationally?
The basic requirement for legal case abroad is for the lawsuit to involve two parties from two different countries. This, therefore, means that any case that falls under this category can be a reason to sue someone abroad. However, there are some cases that are more common when it comes to international litigation:
- International Business Contracts: This is when two people who are living in different countries do business together. The contract that is draw up between them, involves both countries; therefore, if the agreement in the contract is breached, the matter is international. In this case, the country in which the legal proceedings will be done is usually specified beforehand. It can either be the place where the defendant lives, the place where the contract is put into effect, or the place where the defendant has their business. This also covers:
1- Claims against an overseas manufacturer of a product
2- Claims against multinational companies
- Personal Injury Claims: When someone goes to another country, usually for vacation, and they are hurt while they are there. This can be because of a company’s negligence or an automobile accident.
- Debt Collection: When someone outside of the country that you live in owes you money. This can be because of business dealings or commercial transactions.
- Divorce: When someone’s spouse is filing for divorce from another country.
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 that fall under other categories as well, such as criminal law or environmental law.
What Kind of Lawyer do I Need?
The first question before you sue someone which is needed to be asked is what kind of lawyer do I need to help me with this case? This requires you to identify the type of case you have and the field of law in which you need to find a lawyer. Regarding international litigation, the fields that are the most common include, but are not limited to:
- Business/Corporate Law: Corporate law is the branch of law that encompasses cases dealing with corporations and businesses, and those persons who work for them. Corporate lawyers would thus handle cases involving subject matters such as mergers, internal reorganization, liability, or inter-corporate disputes. If you want to establish a business or obtain a license in a foreign country, you would need a corporate lawyer.
- Immigration Law: Immigration lawyers aid clients who are going through the process of naturalization. This would include those seeking foreign asylum, or individuals who have entered the country without legal authorization.
- Personal Injury Law: Personal injury law encompasses those cases that deal with any physical or psychological injuries as a result of any kind of wrongdoing or malpractice (either intentional or unintentional). Examples would include getting injured while in a foreign country or even motor vehicle accidents on foreign soil.
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?
You have identified the kind of lawyer that is 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 legal system of the country 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 properly handle your case is crucial. Giving power of attorney to an overseas lawyer requires much more than a simple Google search. Trust is built off of more than a few polished reviews and a nice picture. Moreover, since you will disclose many facts about your life, privacy and confidentiality are key elements in your search.
The solution: first, check the regulations of the foreign country concerning attorney-client confidentiality and then do a thorough check of 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.
Can I Find a Good Lawyer Quickly and Easily Online?
You’ve probably encountered this question as an individual abroad looking for an inheritance lawyer in your hometown or as an attorney with a trusted clientele seeking legal aid in a foreign jurisdiction. You are often left with costly, non-transparent, and difficult solutions; so, what can be done in times like this?
Hiring the right person for your case increases the chance of a successful outcome and puts you on the best path to move towards 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 all of your needs because each case is unique.
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 a number of legal service providers who are versed in handling all types of legal issues.
You can also have free initial consultation through the internet with the lawyers before hiring them. Thus, you can make sure that the lawyer can sufficiently handle your case.
Working with a Lawyer Abroad
The initial thing that crosses one’s mind is to contact an international law firm. However, what isn’t told is the high costs associated with working with such entities. Moreover, miscommunication and other issues might result due to the lack of transparency and direct relationship between a client and the lawyer in the foreign jurisdiction. For instance, LawPro magazine advises lawyers to directly link their client to the foreign lawyer rather than act as the middleman in the scenario. This is not only beneficial to the client but it also prevents the responsibility of a lawyer for the deliverance of false information or missed deadlines and malpractice.
Let’s look at a good example stated in another article by LawPro. Imagine you are a lawyer in Canada and assigned a U.S case by one of your clients. Now, the settlement amount is initially set at $7 million dollars, yet the American lawyer you decided to hire misses the deadline and leaves you and your client with his errors and omission insurance of only $250,000! Since you initially didn’t inform your client of the specifics of the case and how it’s being taken care of abroad, you are left at fault and have to deal with an angry client.
How Can I Pay My Lawyer after I Have Hired Them?
Financial issues, billing schedules, and, primarily, price transparency all matter. 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 would not receive competitive quotes. Also, some lawyers may expect to be paid in advance. Be wary of this because sometimes there will not be a refund policy. It is best to request an estimate of the total hours and costs first and then discuss the expected method of payment.
How Can I Communicate with My Lawyer If They Are Overseas?
The main issues with legal proceedings taking place in foreign jurisdictions are language barriers. 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. Furthermore, in addition to knowing the language of the court, they should also know your own language as well so as to advise you understandably and effectively.
Moreover, an international case requires an ample amount of communication between the attorney and the client. If there are any new developments in your case, you should inform your attorney immediately. This helps them represent you more efficiently. Therefore, it is imperative that you and your lawyer establish a set method of communication so that you can both be reached as easily as possible, be it via email, phone, or even fax.
How Do I Proceed to Sue Someone Overseas?
After taking all of these questions into consideration, the next logical question is how to move forward with your lawsuit. The answer is simple: you can either book a consultation to have a lawyer look at your case or you can directly hire an attorney to represent you in court. They will then help you on the next stages of your legal journey.
What’s the Final Answer?
It’s simple! If you’re looking for a lawyer in a foreign jurisdiction, definitely don’t seek a middleman in the process. Let’s summarize as to how this could hurt you as a client:
- Higher costs
- Lack of transparency
- Possibility of misinformation and misstatement
- Lack of knowledge on the person handling your case in the foreign jurisdiction
Thanks to legal-tech, there’s no longer the need to endlessly spend hours on the web looking for a proficient lawyer in a country other than your own. With platforms such as LegaMart, the entire 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?
And on the lawyer’s side of the table, there will always be a lack of transparency and the possibility of missed deadlines or the delivery of false information by an online lawyer you’ve found that hasn’t passed careful screening procedures like those on LegaMart.
Moreover, you might encounter a country that doesn’t speak English which results in its own set of problems. Obviously, 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 professional lawyers on a professional community page such as LegaMart™ Community or hiring a trusted and vetted LegaMart™ lawyer in your desired jurisdiction that can communicate without any language barriers.
With that said, finding a lawyer in a foreign jurisdiction couldn’t have been made any easier. Now, out with the old-school and costly international law firm, and in for the modern and transparent method of seeking lawyers in a foreign jurisdiction.