Alternative service—principles

The following Dispute Resolution practice note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Alternative service—principles
  • Coronavirus (COVID-19) considerations
  • Before considering alternative service
  • Other options available if encountering difficulties with service
  • What is alternative service?
  • Is the court seal required on the claim form?
  • When can an application for alternative service be made?
  • Prospective application
  • Retrospective application
  • Retrospective application—has the claim form been served?
  • More...

Alternative service—principles

Coronavirus (COVID-19): the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic may impact the ability to serve documents such that a party considers whether to apply for alternative service. for considerations, see: Alternative service—principles—Coronavirus (Covid-19) considerations below.

For news and other resources to assist general dispute resolution practitioners working in the civil courts to understand and stay ahead of fast-moving changes in the civil courts’ processes and procedures necessitated by the coronavirus pandemic, see: Coronavirus (COVID-19) implications for dispute resolution—overview.

This Practice Note considers alternative service for court documents. The relevant provisions are set out in CPR 6.15 (claim form) and CPR 6.27 (other documents). Alternative service allows service of documents by alternative methods of service or service at an alternative place. Alternative service is a potential way forward if problems have been, or are likely to be, encountered when serving the claim form, defence or other court document in proceedings. This Practice Note sets out the basis on which an order for alternative service can be made and the issues the court will consider. Alternative service was previously known as substituted service.

The following Practice Notes covering alternative service may also be of assistance:

  1. Alternative service—unknown or anonymous defendants

  2. Alternative service—making an application.

  3. Alternative service—key and illustrative decisions

When encountering difficulties with serving the claim form, the following may also be of assistance, Practice Notes:

  1. Dispensing with service of documents—principles

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