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International suits under examination

An inquiry has been launched into simplifying the process for filing international law suits. The Federal Parliament's Treaties Committee will examine both civil and commercial matters and the…

An inquiry has been launched into simplifying the process for filing international law suits.

The Federal Parliament's Treaties Committee will examine both civil and commercial matters and the opportunity for Australians to sue and be sued by persons in other countries.

Currently, to initiate an action against a person or company or to exchange legal documentation in another country, Australians are required to hire private legal agents or go through complex legal and diplomatic channels. The process is the same for a person overseas wanting to commence proceedings in Australia.

Last week, Foreign Minister Steven Smith tabled the Hague Convention on Service Abroad of Judicial and Extrajudicial Documents in Civil or Commercial Matters, which designates a central authority in each country to lodge and receive documents as well as secondary channels to file law suits.

The Treaties Committee is seeking submissions on the implications for Australia of acceding to the Convention. Submissions are due by 24 July 2009.

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