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If you need legal assistance from another state and no agreements exist to regulate your request, you may need to draft letters rogatory. This may seem like an intimidating exercise to take on, but there are some tips you can follow if you face this task.

Even if you decide not to tackle writing these letters on your own, knowing the general tips might help you determine good service. These tips come from the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Consular Affairs, but similar measures apply to domestic cases.

What language should you write in?

To prevent the likelihood of creating confusion, write in simple and nontechnical English. You should also take the time to proofread your statement. Even if you only write a first draft for professionals to rewrite, you want to ensure you say what you mean.

What should the letter include?

Try not to give the courts too much information. Relate only what they need to make a decision. If they need more information, they may request this. Here are some recommended components of the letter:

  • The type of case, such as criminal or civil
  • The kind of assistance you seek
  • Confirmation that you seek assistance in the interest of upholding justice
  • The out-of-state party involved in the legal request
  • A statement confirming reimbursement for out-of-state courts’ incurred expenses
  • List of questions agents should request from the out-of-state party

Letters rogatory can sometimes create a controversial mess if not handled correctly. Some states opt out of agreements on purpose and may not feel particularly inclined to facilitate your request.