In the event you need a foreign court to assist you in a legal case, you might have to file letters rogatory. This is a request to a court in another country, usually to ask the court to obtain evidence such as witness testimony. Since a court can reject letters rogatory, it is important to prepare them in the appropriate manner.
According to the State Department, a foreign court might not grant your request if it contains confusing or burdensome language. Here are some tips that may help you.
Include only necessary information
Do not give into the temptation to make your documents verbose. Keep your letters rogatory simple and in non-technical English. If you include information that is not essential to your case, a foreign court might not understand your request.
Conform to foreign legal standards
If you need help with acquiring evidence, you should understand how the rules of evidence work in the country you are writing to. Since nations have their own systems to obtain evidence, a foreign court may look at U.S. legal standards as too broad.
Letters rogatory should focus on acquiring evidence according to the preferred standards of the nation of the court you need help from. Also make sure your request follows any statutory requirements for a foreign court to approve assistance.
Describe desired procedures
After researching the country in question, you may desire specific legal procedures in your case. You might want a witness to testify under oath or have your attorney attend the evidentiary proceedings. Describing your preferred legal actions in your letters rogatory may ensure that the foreign court follows your guidelines.
In general, being as clear as possible in your letters rogatory could increase the chance that a foreign court will grant your request.