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
  • What is alternative service?
  • Is there a method of service available without the need for alternative service
  • Other options available if encountering difficulties with service
  • When can an application for alternative service be made?
  • Prospective application
  • Retrospective application
  • Retrospective application—has the claim form been served?
  • What test will the court apply?
  • More...

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 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 and illustrative cases in this area, see Practice Note: Alternative service—key and illustrative decisions.

When serving the claim form the following

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