Letters Rogatory

Printer-friendly versionPrinter-friendly version

Letter Rogatory / Letter of Request for Judicial Assistance

A Letter Rogatory is a letter of request from a court in one country to a court in another country requesting international judicial assistance. It is a device used by a tribunal of one sovereign nation to request a tribunal of another sovereign nation to obtain testimony or other evidence from a person located in the latter country.

Title 28 U.S.C. §§ 1781 and 1782 describe the transmittal of Letters Rogatory through the Department of State and through the district court. Requests for issuance of Letters in a pending civil case are forwarded to the assigned district judge, who may refer them to the discovery magistrate judge. When filed as a new action, the matter will be assigned a miscellaneous case number and referred to a magistrate judge.

An Application for Issuance of Letter(s) may also be filed in a criminal action and would be handled in the same manner as in a civil case, except that the assigned district judge may refer the matter to the document duty magistrate judge.

The moving party must submit two originals of each Letter.

When an Application for an Order for the Issuance of Letters is filed, a proposed Order must be lodged. The Letter(s) must allow for 1) the judge’s signature, 2) the Clerk of Court’s authentication (by the deputy clerk) of the judge’s signature, 3) the judge’s authentication that the Clerk of Court is the Clerk of Court, and 4) a final authentication of the judge’s signature by the Clerk of Court (by the deputy clerk). The courtroom deputy clerk performs the necessary verifications on behalf of the Clerk of Court. Counsel shall format the Clerk of Court's verifications by the deputy clerk as set forth below:

Terry Nafisi, Clerk of Court
by (deputy clerk’s signature)
Deputy Clerk (deputy clerk’s printed name)

Seal (district court’s inked stamp seal is affixed here)

Once the Letters have been signed and Seal-stamped, they will be returned to the moving party for appropriate service on the State Department.