It is often easier to provide the court with a defendant’s home address or in the case of a company, their registered office or place of business, so that the court can send the claim to them.
The court may take some time to serve the claim on the defendant, so if you are in a particular hurry, then you can serve the claim form yourself, by either delivering it to the defendant personally or posting it to them by first class post to their home address or last known address, or, in the case of a company, to their place of business or registered office. It may also be possible to fax a claim to someone and in some circumstances email and other social media can be used to serve a claim on a defendant.
If you serve the claim on the defendant yourself, you will then need to provide the court with a “certificate of service” to confirm that you have served the claim on the defendant.
It is very important that you serve the claim on the defendant(s) correctly. Failure to do so could mean that your claim is stayed (postponed) or possibly even dismissed for not following the correct procedure.
After a claim is issued, the general rule is that you have 4 months in which to serve it on the defendant. If you are serving outside of the jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales, then this period is extended to 6 months, but you should take legal advice if you are considering a claim against a person or company who lives outside the court’s jurisdiction.
The rules which govern the county court procedure, called the Civil Procedure Rules (CPR), set out the permitted methods of service of either the claim form or other documents. The permitted methods are as follows:
- Personal service;
- First class post;
- Document exchange (DX) or any other service which provides for delivery on the next business day;
- Leaving the document at a specified place;
- Fax or other electronic means.
Further, the court may order that you can serve a claim form or other documents by other methods, if it is clear to them that the defendant is unable to be served by one of the above methods.
Courts have rules in the past that claims can be served by email and even by Twitter.
There are special rules that apply to service of both claim forms and documents by each of the above methods and if in doubt, you should check with a solicitor to ensure that you are serving documents correctly.
For example, if you wish to serve a statutory demand or bankruptcy petition on an individual, or a winding up petition against a company, this can only be done by way of personal service on the individual or company.
If you wish to serve a claim form or document on a person or company personally, but do not want to go to their home or business premises, you can engage the help of a process server, who will for a small fee, serve the documents or claim form on your behalf.
If the defendant has provided you in writing with his address for service or details of his solicitor who has agreed to accept service on the defendant’s behalf, then you should serve the claim form and other documents on that address.
If however you are unsure as to where to serve the claim form and other documents, the Civil Procedure Rules set out the addresses where you should attempt to serve, as set out below:
Nature of defendant to be served – Place of service
- Individual – usual or last known residence
- Individual being sued in the name of a business – usual or last known residence of the individual; or principle or last known place of business
- Individual being sued in the name of the business name of a partnership – usual or last known residence of the individual; or principal or last known place of business of the partnership
- Limited liability partnership – principal office of the partnership; or any place of business of the partnership within the jurisdiction which has a real connection with the claim
- Corporation (other than a company) incorporated in England and Wales – principal office of the corporation; or any place within the jurisdiction where the corporation carries on its activities and which has a real connection with the claim
- Company registered in England and Wales – principal office of the company; or any place of business of the company within the jurisdiction which has a real connection with the claim
- Any other company or corporation – Any place within the jurisdiction where the corporation carries on its activities; or any place of business of the company within the jurisdiction
There are also special rules on serving claim forms and documents on other individuals, such as members of the armed forces, claims against the Crown and claims involving children or other protected parties. You should seek specialist legal advice form a solicitor if you are thinking or issuing a claim against one of these defendants.
Our expert team of county court solicitors at Francis Wilks & Jones are here to help you with any type of county court enquiry or question. Contact one of our team of expert friendly county court lawyers now for your confidential county court consultation. Whatever your county court requirements, we are the experts to help you. Call us now. Let us help.