When serving a Claim Form CPR 7.5(1) must be adhered to within 4 months of the Claim Form being issued with the Court where the Claim is being served within the Jurisdiction (i.e. England or Wales). CPR 7.5 states that the Claimant must serve the Claim Form by 12 midnight on the calendar day four months after the date of issue of the claim form. CPR 6.14 states that a claim form will be deemed served on the second business day after being dispatched in accordance with the provisions of CPR 7.5(1), regardless of the method of service used. A business day does not include Saturday or Sunday or Bank Holidays.
An attendance note describing the steps taken to dispatch the Claim Form should be taken. Proof of post should also be kept as a Defendant may deny ever having received the Claim Form in an effort to avoid proceedings or where a Judgment in Default has been entered into against him, in an effort to claim the time for serving an Acknowledgement of Service or Defence has not passed as the Claim Form was never served on him. Even where proof of post is provided it is difficult to prove a Defendant has actually been served if they deny it. Stories from the Defendant denying service can end up giving a client the run around and costing thousands of pounds in the process.
Under CPR 6.17(2) where the Claimant serves the Claim Form, the Claimant (a) must file a Certificate of Service within 21 days of service of the Particulars of Claim unless the Defendant to the proceedings has filed an Acknowledgments of Service within that time; and (b) may not obtain Judgment in Default under Part 12 unless a certificate of service has been filed.
Failure to file a Certificate of Service in time does not prevent a party from obtaining Judgment in Default, it just means that they cannot obtain Judgment until the certificate is filed.
CPR 6.17(3) provides that the Certificate of Service must state how the Claim Form was served, the category of address at which the claimant believes the Claim Form has been served and the details.
Under CPR 6.17(1) where the court serves a Claim Form, the court will send to the claimant a notice which will include the date on which the Claim Form is deemed served.
Where the court is to effect service, it will usually use first class post, as will most solicitors.
By Michael Coyle at Lawdit Solicitors.