Claim Form
February 28, 2022

Service of a Claim Form – how to ensure service is carried out correctly

Service of a Claim Form is an important legal step. The Claim Form is sent to a defendant in relation to a claim being brought against them.

Over the years, however, I have heard from many defendants who say they never received the court’s Claim Form and therefore the judgment entered against them is deemed ‘not regular’.

Under the Civil Procedure Rules a claimant must take ‘reasonable steps’ to locate a defendant. If a claimant knows that the defendant may not be at their last known address, further action may be required.

The claimant could serve the court papers at the ‘default’ address or via an alternative method.

In a recent case, after repeated failed attempts to serve the court papers at a postal address, the claimant applied to the court to seek an order to serve by an alternative method. Permission of the court was given to serve the Claim Form on an email address previously used to communicate with the defendant.

The defendant argued that service had been defective as the claimant had not taken ‘reasonable steps’ to locate her and should have contacted her via phone or Instagram.

The defendant did not deny having received the email regarding the proceedings but said she was not aware of it until after judgment in default. The master/judge set aside the permission to serve by email on the basis that the claimant should have made further enquiries.

Last week the Court of Appeal considered this case and set out very clearly the current law regarding service.

In essence it said that:

In summary:

For advice about this or any other dispute or debt recovery matter, please email or phone our Altrincham team on 0161 929 8494, our Stoke-on-Trent office on 01782 205000, or our Birmingham office on 0121 516 3025.