- Are you being served? Conflating ‘personal service’ with ‘service at a relevant place’ (BEC Construction v Melt Hythe)
- What are the practical implications of this case?
- What was the background?
- What did the court decide?
- Case details
Dispute Resolution analysis: An application to set aside a default judgment on the grounds of invalid service of the claim form and particulars of claim failed. The documents had been left with the receptionist of a dental practice that shared the same address as the defendant. The defendant claimed that this was invalid personal service under CPR 6.5(3)(b). It was held that CPR 7.5 (1) provides that a claim form may be served by delivering or leaving the document at the ‘relevant place’. Pursuant to CPR 6.9(2), the relevant place was the ‘[p]rincipal office of the company…’ which is where the documents had been left. The claimant had not attempted personal service, and the documents could have just been left in the building. Obiter, where there is multi-occupancy of a building it may be that documents should be left at a specific place in, or floor of, the building, being the proper address of the defendant. However, in this case, no evidence was adduced to support the contention that the claimant should have served the documents elsewhere. As such, the defendant had been validly served. Written by Richard Clayman, senior associate at Kingsley Napley LLP.
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