Outcomes - Selected Case Summaries



Delays in processing of overseas complaint's marriage certificate and apostille

Early Resolution | 24 June 2021
Corporate Services Office

We were contacted by a complainant in the U.S. requesting assistance with issues he and his wife were experiencing involving the Corporate Services Office (CSO) and General Registry (GR). The couple required three certified copies of their marriage certificate, one with an apostille. In early March 2021, they had requested the certificates online, however, the processing of the documents was delayed. On 31 March 2021, they were contacted by the GR informing them that their online credit card payment was insufficient to cover the cost of the apostille. As a result, they had been asked to wire transfer additional funds. However, an error occurred when their bank attempted to send the transfer and it failed to go through. Following this failure, the couple were requested to mail a bank draft to the CSO’s post box, which they did on 21 April 2021. The bank’s tracking system confirmed its delivery to the Postal Service on 10 May 2021. Nonetheless, the couple heard nothing further from CSO and their follow-up emails went unanswered.

We commenced an informal investigation by telephoning the CSO regarding the complaint. An urgent email was then sent directly after to the Head of Department (HOD) stressing the urgency of this matter. She responded promptly, acknowledging  receipt of our correspondence, and stated she had commenced an investigation into the issue and would respond as soon as there was anything to report. Two days later the HOD emailed to say the cheque was received from the Postal Services that morning and they had immediately processed the apostille. The document was delivered to the GR to accompany the copies of the marriage certificates. The documents were then mailed to the complainant.

The HOD confirmed that the cheque had been in their post box since 10 May 2021, but they were unaware of this as it is the norm that their clients pay online or deliver a draft. Regular mail tends to be used only when all other options fail. The HOD apologized to the complainant for the delay and wrote to thank us for the opportunity to resolve this matter informally. The GR committed to making every effort to improve their processes and ensure timely service, including where delivery by post is required. The client also emailed to thank everyone for working together to resolve this issue, and noted he was happy to learn his complaint resulted in improving the CSO’s processes.