Service of documents in family proceedings outside the jurisdiction
Service of documents in family proceedings outside the jurisdiction

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

  • Service of documents in family proceedings outside the jurisdiction
  • Scope and interpretation
  • Acknowledging service or responding to an application
  • Service in Scotland or Northern Ireland
  • Service on a respondent outside the UK
  • Service on a party in an EU Member State—Service Regulation
  • Service in a Hague Convention country within Europe
  • Service in a Hague Convention country outside Europe
  • Service in a non-EU country not subject to the Hague Convention (other than a Commonwealth State, a British Overseas Territory, the Isle of Man or the Channel Islands)
  • Service in a Commonwealth State not a party to the Hague Convention, or in a British Overseas Territory, the Isle of Man or the Channel Islands
  • More...

This Practice Note is impacted by the exit of the UK from the EU on 31 January 2020. For guidance, see Practice Note: Brexit—service of documents in family proceedings. This Practice Note sets out the current position on service.

The rules about the service of application forms/notices and other documents in family proceedings outside of the jurisdiction of England and Wales, and the procedure for service, are contained in chapter 4 of the Family Procedure Rules 2010 (FPR 2010), SI 2010/2955, Pt 6 (SI 2010/2955, 6.40–6.48). This is supplemented by FPR 2010, PD 6B.

Note that documents can be served out of the jurisdiction in family proceedings without the permission of the court.

The rules differ depending on where service is intended to take place, and tend to include a longer time limit for acknowledging service. There is a detailed table setting out the different time limits in FPR 2010, PD 6B.

The general rule is that where the applicant wishes to serve a document on a respondent out of the UK, it may be served:

  1. by any method provided for by:

    1. FPR 2010, SI 2010/2955, 6.44—service in accordance with Regulation (EC) No 1393/2007 of the European Parliament and of the Council adopted on 13 November 2007 on the service in the Member States of judicial and extrajudicial documents in civil or commercial matters (service of documents) (the Service Regulation),

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