In this Spotlight on… article we give some food for thought on potential issues around service of proceedings.
Do you have internal processes for bringing court proceedings to your attention quickly, particularly if your business operates from multiple sites?
Don’t forget that if you have not instructed solicitors to accept service on your behalf, a claim form can be served on a company registered in England and Wales at:
“the principal office of the company; or any place of business of the company within the jurisdiction which has a real connection with the claim.”
You therefore need to ensure that any internal process for forwarding claims to the legal team is understood not just at your registered office but also at any other places of business such as depots or warehouses.
Do you contract with overseas entities?
Post-Brexit the rules on service of proceedings in the EU are no longer as straightforward as they were previously. This can substantially increase the costs and time required to serve court proceedings in an EU member state. Consider in appropriate cases whether it would be appropriate for the other party to your contract to be required as part of the contract to give an address for service in England and Wales. In this way, you can bypass the rules for service out of the jurisdiction as the Civil Procedure Rules allow for service by a contractually agreed method at a place specified in the contract.
What addresses are registered for the directors of the company at Companies House?
Be aware that any court proceedings (even those which have no connection with the company) can be served on a director at the address registered for them at Companies House pursuant to section 1140 of the Companies Act 2006.
It is particularly important to be alive to this provision if the company has directors resident overseas who have used the company’s UK registered office address as their registered address. A claimant bringing a claim against an overseas director can use this provision to bypass the rules on service out of the jurisdiction and to serve the proceedings at the company’s registered office address.
Consistent with our policy when giving comment and advice on a non-specific basis, we cannot assume legal responsibility for the accuracy of any particular statement. In the case of specific problems we recommend that professional advice be sought.