What Happens If Court Papers Cannot Be Served?
Posted on 31st March 2021 at 10:27
Options in the UK if court papers cannot be served conventionally
When a legal case escalates to the court, the defendant must be served with a summons outlining the case details, amount owed and the hearing date. The issuing of a summons is undertaken by a process server who personally hand delivers the documents to the defendant in person. If this is not possible then the summons can be issued by registered post if the court permits this. It is part of the legal system and in such cases is a legally binding method for official documents to be served. However, what does one do if the legal documents cannot be served in the UK?
If you have filed a case against a former employee you can engage the services of a process server to deliver documents to the employee. You need to provide information about the recipient and the process server will use this to trace and serve the documents. The court process then continues.
What happens when the documents cannot be served this way?
If the process server is unable to personally serve the documents what is to be done next? The good news is other substitute methods can be used to complete the process. However, these are to be used as a last option only i.e., you should first try your utmost for the documents to be served to the recipient through the conventional process. Substitute services cannot be the primary way of serving legal documents as they may be rejected in court if done so. It is only when the process server method is tried diligently and unsuccessfully that you can use a substitute service. This includes:
The newspapers: While not reliable it still is a substitute method. A court might allow placing advertisements in the local newspapers where the recipient lives. A copy must be saved for evidence in court later.
Use a Third-party: The document can be served to a family member, a friend, employer or neighbour. The documents have to be handed with proof of delivery. The individual the documents are handed over to must be in contact with the recipient. The person in receipt of the documents is then legally responsible to ensure the documents to reach the recipient.
Social Media: Not the most popular but gradually gaining acceptance as a substitute. Any social media network can be used to serve a notice to the recipient with proof of the same.
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