How do I serve a document?

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Delivering a legal document and bringing it to the attention of the recipient is referred to as ‘serving’ a document. An individual can serve a document using a method explained below or by using a method approved by the courts. Individuals must follow the Civil Procedure Rules when serving documents as Civil Procedure Rules may require the individual to use a specific method of service to serve particular documents. 

In some circumstances, the court may serve the document to the recipient. If a Civil Procedure Rules permits the court to serve a document, the individual must provide the court with a copy of the document to allow the court to deliver it. The individual will need to provide the court with an address at which the court can serve the document. If the individual does not know an appropriate address, they must take steps to identify an address they will be able to deliver the documents to. If they are unable to serve the document or if they will need to use an alternative method to deliver the document, they must seek the court’s permission beforehand. 

If the recipient has provided an address for their solicitor or the solicitor representing the recipient has informed the individual that they are to be served with all documents, the individual should serve the documents on the solicitor instead of the recipient. Otherwise the document should be delivered at the address at which the recipient resides or carried on business within the UK. Where the recipient has more than one address, the document should be served at the address the recipient has given for the purpose of being served.

Personal Service

Legal documents can be served personally by the individual to the recipient by handing the document over to the recipient. If the recipient is a company or corporation, it can be delivered to a person holding a senior position within the company. A person holding a senior position will be the director, treasurer, secretary, chief executive, manager or other officer of the company or corporation. If the company or corporation is unregistered, a person holding a senior position could also be the mayor, chairman, president, a town clerk or a similar officer of the company or corporation. If the recipient is a partnership, the document can be delivered to a partner or any person, who at the time of service, has the control or management of the partnership at the principal place of business.

Other methods of service

The individual can serve the document by first class post, document exchange or other service which provides for delivery on the next business day. The document can be delivered by leaving the document at a permitted location. The document can be faxed to the recipient. A document may be sent by other electronic methods such as emailing the recipient. 

If the individual will need to use an alternative method to send the document, the individual must request the court’s permission before delivering the document. 

Certificate of Service

Where the individual serves the document, they may be required to file a Certificate of Service at court. A Certificate of Service will certify that the document has been served to the recipient properly. A Certificate of Service must be filed within 21 days after serving the document. The number of days may vary depending on the document being served. 

How Legal Utopia can help

Legal Utopia will provide individuals with all the information they will need on the different methods they can use for serving documents. It will inform individuals on the specific rules of service for different documents and provide further information on how an individual can serve a document to a recipient outside of the UK. Furthermore, Legal Utopia will inform individuals on how long they will have to deliver certain documents and when the court will accept the document has been served if the document will not be served in person. 

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