Service of documents in family proceedings other than applications for matrimonial and civil partnership orders in the United Kingdom
Service of documents in family proceedings other than applications for matrimonial and civil partnership orders in the United Kingdom

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

  • Service of documents in family proceedings other than applications for matrimonial and civil partnership orders in the United Kingdom
  • Good practice in relation to service
  • Who serves documents
  • Methods of service
  • Alternative service (substituted service)
  • Dispensing with service
  • Deemed service
  • Service on children and on protected parties
  • Certificate of service
  • Service of non-molestation orders

This Practice Note is impacted by the exit of the UK from the EU on 31 January 2020. This has implications, inter alia, for practitioners considering service on a European Lawyer in an EEA as currently provided for in Family Procedure Rules 2010 , SI 2010/2955 Pt 6. For guidance, see Practice Note: Brexit—service of documents in family proceedings. This Practice Note sets out the current position on service.

The Family Procedure Rules 2010 (FPR 2010), SI 2010/2955, Pt 6 contain the core provisions regarding service in family proceedings, although note that specific provisions in any other Part of FPR 2010, other legislation or practice directions may overrule the general provisions, as can a direction of the court in a particular matter. There have been no major changes to the rules that existed previously, but the rules are set out more clearly. The United Kingdom means England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

There are specific rules in respect of service of applications for matrimonial and civil partnership orders, which are set out in chapter 2 of FPR 2010, SI 2010/2955, Pt 6 (SI 2010/2955, 6.3–6.22).

See Practice Note: Service of applications for matrimonial and civil partnership orders within the jurisdiction.

The rules relating to service within the UK, of documents other than applications for matrimonial and civil partnership orders are contained in chapter 3 of FPR 2010,