Service and the Civil Procedure Rules

The CPR lays down a number of detailed rules regarding the service of documents in litigious matters, the aim of the service rules are, insofar as possible, “documents actually come to the attention of the party being served” . A party that fails to respond to documents served in the correct manner within the correct timeframe, may be subject to judicial penalties.

Many factors must be borne in mind in order to affect service of documents in the correct manner as required by the CPR, the following takes a very brief look at some of the rules on service for a claim within the UK:

The method of service

The permitted methods of service are as follow:

  • Personal service.
  • Document exchange.
  • Any other service which provides for delivery the next business day.
  • Leaving the document at a specified place.
  • By fax or other electronic means.

The address for service

Documents may be served at one of the following:

  • The address of the defendant’s solicitor.
  • The defendants personal or business address.
  • An address the defendant has provided for the purpose of carrying out proceedings.

An important consideration is when does service actually take place? the date of deemed service is the date on which a document or a claim form will be legally treated as having been served, regardless of when or whether it actually arrived!

A claim form is deemed to have been served on the second business day is after despatch, the rule applies to any method of despatch of a claim form. A ‘business day’ is any day except Saturday, Sunday, a bank holiday, Good Friday or Christmas day.

It is crucial that the CPR rules are referred to when commencing a claim to ensure that your claim is not prejudiced in any way.


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