Q&As

I need to serve a claim form in an EU Member State. Given coronavirus (COVID-19), what do I need to think about? What are likely to be barriers in being able to effect valid service?

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Produced in partnership with Ryan Hocking of Gatehouse Chambers
Published on LexisPSL on 06/04/2020

The following Dispute Resolution Q&A produced in partnership with Ryan Hocking of Gatehouse Chambers provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • I need to serve a claim form in an EU Member State. Given coronavirus (COVID-19), what do I need to think about? What are likely to be barriers in being able to effect valid service?

I need to serve a claim form in an EU Member State. Given coronavirus (COVID-19), what do I need to think about? What are likely to be barriers in being able to effect valid service?

This Q&A considers the practical considerations when serving a claim for in an EU Member State in light of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. The service provisions were those applicable for service prior to IP completion day (31 December 2020) ie service under Regulation (EC) 1393/2007, the Service Regulation. For guidance on the position post that date, see Practice Note: Serving outside the jurisdiction—serving in an EU Member State from 1 January 2021.

The first point to note is that service in accordance with the provisions of Regulation (EC) 1393/2007, the Service Regulation is mandatory, and it is not possible to circumvent this procedure through an order for alternative service from the courts of this country, or by other means, see Hornan v Baillie. However, compelling the case for alternative service might be in the present circumstances, it is therefore simply not an option.

Methods of service under the regulation

The primary method of service under the Service Regulation is for the serving party to send the claim form to the ‘transmitting agency’ in this country (that is, by filing with the Senior Master via the Foreign Process Section), which will then send the

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