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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:
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).
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.
Documents are normally served in the following ways:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Last update: 06-04-2006