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Last update: 06-04-2006
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Service of documents - Gibraltar

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TABLE OF CONTENTS

1. What does the legal term “service of documents” mean in practical terms?

Why are there specific rules on the “service of documents”? 1.

2. Which documents need to be served formally ? 2.
3. Who is responsible for serving a document ? 3.
4. How is the document in practice normally served ? 4.
5. What happens when in exceptional cases service to the addressee himself is not possible (e.g. because he is not at home)? 5.
6. Is there any written proof that the document has been served? 6.
7. What happens if something goes wrong and the addressee does not receive the document or the service is effected in violation of the law (e.g. the document is served to a third person)? 7.
8. Do I have to pay for the service of a document, and if so, how much ? 8.

 

1. What does the legal term “service of documents” mean in practical terms?

Why are there specific rules on the “service of documents”?

In practical terms, “service of documents” means the service in the appropriate manner, of documents used in court proceedings.

The rules set out the framework to be followed to enable the following:

  • that documents are served in a manner approved of by the court
  • to provide a mechanism in which a party can show that a particular document has or has not been served
  • to set out a timetable in which a document can be deemed to have been served (e.g. personal service - deemed to be served the same day unless served after 5pm on a business day or served on a Saturday, Sunday or bank holiday, when it will be deemed to have been served on the next business day).

2. Which documents need to be served formally ?

Documents required to be served formally include claim forms, particulars of claim, defences, replies, application notices, petitions, orders and witness statements/affidavits (where these are for use at trial).

3. Who is responsible for serving a document ?

The party who has prepared a document is responsible for its service. For example, a claim form should be served by the claimant or duly authorised solicitors. The Supreme Court of Gibraltar will not serve documents.

4. How is the document in practice normally served ?

Documents are normally served in the following ways:

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  • By personal service
  • By post
  • By leaving the document at a place specified in Rule 6.5 of the Civil Procedure Rules (i.e. where a party has not given an address for service).

Service can be effected by fax where a party or his legal representative have previously indicated in writing to the party serving that he is willing to accept service by fax. A similar provision applies in the case of service by electronic mail, although the rules also provide that service by electronic mail can only take place where the parties are both acting by legal representative.

It may also be possible to effect service by an alternative method. This requires that an application be made to the Supreme Court supported by evidence. An order made would specify the method of service.

An injunction or other order endorsed with a penal notice should normally be served personally.

5. What happens when in exceptional cases service to the addressee himself is not possible (e.g. because he is not at home)?

Rule 6.5 of the Civil Procedure Rules provides that a party must give an address for service within the jurisdiction (whether the address is his residential address, business address or his solicitors' address). Service could be effected by post or by leaving the document at the addressee's usual or last known residence or even his place of business. Alternatively, where a party has instructed solicitors, they can accept service on his behalf if they have been authorised by their client to do so.

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6. Is there any written proof that the document has been served?

Where the Rules of Court stipulate that there should be proof of service, a certificate of service should be provided. This should state that the document has not been returned undelivered, the method of service used and the date of posting/personal service/fax/leaving at permitted place. A prescribed form is available.

Where a claim form is the document personally served, the claimant must file a certificate of service within 7 days of service of the claim form. Failure to do so will render a claimant unable to obtain judgment in default.

7. What happens if something goes wrong and the addressee does not receive the document or the service is effected in violation of the law (e.g. the document is served to a third person)?

Can the service of the document nevertheless be valid ( e.g. can violations of the law be remedied) or must a new effort to serve the document be made?

Normally, an attempt to re-serve should be made provided that the relevant limitation period is still current.

However, the Supreme Court does have power to dispense with service in exceptional cases. An example of this is where a defendant has been properly and fully notified of a claim but the claimant has failed to effect service within the relevant limitation period by, e.g. serving at a wrong address.

8. Do I have to pay for the service of a document, and if so, how much ?

As service is carried out by a party to the proceedings or his solicitors, any fees arising from such service are paid by that party. The fees will depend on what type of service is used.

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Last update: 06-04-2006

 
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