Q&As

Can you rely on without prejudice correspondence as evidence of service of a divorce petition?

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Produced in partnership with Katherine Illsley of 4 King’s Bench Walk
Published on LexisPSL on 11/05/2018

The following Family Q&A produced in partnership with Katherine Illsley of 4 King’s Bench Walk provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Can you rely on without prejudice correspondence as evidence of service of a divorce petition?

Can you rely on without prejudice correspondence as evidence of service of a divorce petition?

A divorce petition may be served by way of personal service in accordance with Family Procedure Rules 2010 (FPR 2010), SI 2010/2955, 6.7, or by first-class post or other service which provides for delivery on the next business day in accordance with FPR 2010, PD 6A. Alternatively, where FPR 2010, SI 2010/2955, 6.11 applies (where the respondent has a solicitor acting for them and the applicant has been notified in writing that the solicitor is instructed by the respondent to accept service of the application), by way of document exchange. In the first instance, the petition will usually be served by first-class post along with an acknowledgment of service.

If the respondent files a completed acknowledgment of service, the petition will be deemed served (FPR 2010, SI 2010/2955, 6.15). If no acknowledgment of service is received, in order to satisfy the court that decree nisi should be granted, service of the petition must be proved. The applicant can attempt to serve the petition on the respondent personally, note however that the applicant cannot themselves personally serve the respondent (FPR 2010, SI 2010/2955, 6.5). The server will need to file a certificate of service with the court showing the means by which the person serving the application knows the

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