Alternative service
Alternative service

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

  • Alternative service
  • What is alternative service?
  • When can an application for alternative service be made?
  • What test will the court apply?
  • Requirement for a good reason
  • Is there a requirement for exceptional circumstances?
  • Defendant is domiciled in the jurisdiction
  • Is alternative service available if the defendant is outside the jurisdiction?
  • Unknown/anonymous defendants
  • Examples of alternative service
  • more

This Practice Note considers alternative methods of service and alternative places for 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 alternative methods of service of the court document or service at an alternative place. Alternative service is a possible 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. In addition, examples of circumstances in which such orders have been made or refused are provided. Alternative service was previously known as substituted service. For a round up of key cases in this area, see Practice Note: Alternative service—case tracker.

When serving the claim form the following may also be of assistance: Practice Notes: Service of the claim form in the jurisdiction or EEA—Power of the court to dispensing with service of the claim form (CPR 6.16) and Service of the claim form—extensions of time.

What is alternative service?

When seeking to serve a document in proceedings, Part 6 of the Civil Procedure Rules (CPR) sets out the methods of service and the places at which the document must