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What are the key things to consider when serving out of jurisdiction? Alvin Aubeeluck, team leader in the Foreign Process Section, discusses the main steps lawyers must take when choosing to serve out of jurisdiction.
The most common pitfall solicitors should bear in mind is the length of time to serve a document. If serving to a non-convention country, service can take a minimum of six months and up to a maximum (and sometimes longer) of four years. This is regularly overlooked—there is then a rush by solicitors to apply for an order extending the life of the claim form, which then needs to be sent to the relevant foreign ministry via the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. Foreign Process staff can advise solicitors of the average length of time for most countries.
Solicitors should thoroughly read the Civil Procedure Rules 1998, SI 1998/3132, Pt 6.30 (CPR 1998) and Practice Direction 6B. Thereafter solicitors should contact the Foreign Process Section to seek advice as to the requirements in respect of the relevant country.
Reading the CPR 1998 before lodgement will save a lot of time in terms of documents being rejected. A common provision overlooked by solicitors is CPR 1998, Pt 6 PD 6B para 6.1 (Period for responding to a claim form). As it is a mandatory requirement to amend the dates subject to this provision (which can be done by the solicitors clerk if lodged physically) the problem occurs if there is a translated copy. In this case the translated copy has already been certified by a translator and therefore any amendments to the certified translated document should be amended by the translator themselves.
The area will be moving towards electronic service.
Interviewed by Natasha Mellersh. The views expressed by our legal analysis interviewees are not necessarily those of the proprietor.
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