letters rogatory

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Letters Rogatory

A formal written request made by one judicial body to another court in a different, independent jurisdiction that a witness who resides in that jurisdiction be examined through the use of interrogatories accompanying the request.

A device used in International Law by which the courts of one country ask the courts of another to utilize their procedure to assist the country making the request in the administration of justice within its borders.

The use of letters rogatory can be traced to early American Legal History when they facilitated cooperation between the courts of the several states of the Union. Their continued use is based primarily upon the comity (courtesy and respect) of courts toward each other. Rule 28 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure provides for letters rogatory to be used in federal courts to obtain the testimony of a witness who resides in a foreign country through a number of different discovery devices. The Convention on the Taking of Evidence Abroad in Civil or Commercial Matters (28 U.S.C.A. § 1781 [1948]) sets out the procedures to be followed in the use of letters rogatory by the countries who are parties to the treaty.

Letters rogatory can be sent to a court in a sister state or to a court or judge in a foreign country. Granting the request, again, is a matter of comity between courts.


Civil Procedure.

West's Encyclopedia of American Law, edition 2. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.

letters rogatory

Collins Dictionary of Law © W.J. Stewart, 2006

LETTERS ROGATORY. A letter rogatory is an instrument sent in the name and by the authority of a judge or court to another, requesting the latter to cause to be examined, upon interrogatories filed in a cause depending before the former, a witness who is within the jurisdiction of the judge or court to whom such letters are addressed. In letters rogatory there is always an offer on the part of the court whence they issued, to render a similar service to the court to which they may be directed whenever required. Pet. C. C. Rep. 236.
     2. Though formerly used in England in the courts of common law, 1 Roll. Ab. 530, pl. 13, they have been superseded by commissions of Dedimus potestatem, which are considered to be but a feeble substitute. Dunl. Pr. 223, n.; Hall's Ad. Pr. 37. The courts of admiralty use these letters, which are derived from the civil law, and are recognized by the law of nations. See Foelix, Dr. Intern. liv. 2, t. 4, p. 800; Denisart, h.t.

A Law Dictionary, Adapted to the Constitution and Laws of the United States. By John Bouvier. Published 1856.
References in periodicals archive ?
The counsel said that Letters Rogatory (LR) have been sent to different countries to seek information.
The investigating judge issued letters rogatory to conduct the necessary investigations.
The official also said that Letters Rogatory have been sent to the authorities of foreign jurisdictions to enforce the provisional attachment orders.
organized basis involved the exchange of letters rogatory....").
They have said all the details sought by the agency from the Italy were provided through the Letters Rogatory which was the only country among seven others which has provided complete details.
He said they usually involve a bilateral treaty or process called "letters rogatory," which is sometimes how courts seek judicial assistance from overseas.
7] "The legislative history confirms that [section] 1782 was enacted--and further refined--to create a cause of action for enforcing letters rogatory or other international requests for documents or testimony found in the United States.
Although there is no mutual legal assistance treaty between Haiti and the United States, the Haitian government has cooperated, through letters rogatory, on many cases within the limits of Haitian law.
The NIA, in order to further strengthen the case, is also planning to send Letters Rogatory (LR) to Iraq and Syria as the passport of Majeed, a 23-year-old youth from Mumbai, shows Iraq as his port of entry and Syria as port of exit, the sources said.
NIA sources said that permission from the government had been received to send a Letters Rogatory (LR) to Pakistan asking the authorities to arrest Salahuddin, and seven others named as proclaimed offenders named in the chargesheet filed yesterday.
Where letters rogatory shall have be [sic] addressed from any court of a foreign country to any circuit court of the United States, and a United States commissioner designated by said circuit court to make the examination of witnesses in said letters mentioned, said commissioner shall be empowered to compel the witnesses to appear and depose in the same manner as to appear and testify in court.