Service of proceedings — a defendants’ guide

In Hills Contractors and Construction Ltd v Struth, the court held that sending a photocopy of a sealed claim form to the defendant’s solicitors was not proper service. Service within the jurisdiction under CPR 6.3 must be of an original claim form issued and sealed by court. Comments suggesting the contrary in Weston v Bates were read as referring to service outside the jurisdiction. The only exception is where the claim form is served by fax or email in accordance with Practice Direction 6A (Asia Pacific (HK) Ltd v Hanjin Shipping Co Ltd).

Those on the receiving end of claims within the jurisdiction need to be able to work out whether service is valid or whether it is worth contesting jurisdiction on the ground that service is invalid. If the claimant has left it until the end of the limitation period to issue, taking a point on invalid service could dispose of the claim for good…

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