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Last update: 17-08-2004
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Service of documents - Ireland

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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)? 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? 7.
8. Do I have to pay for the service of the 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”?

It denotes the method by which Prosecutors/Plaintiffs notify parties of cases coming before the Courts.

The rules exist to clarify the methods of service accepted by the court.

2. Which documents need to be served formally?

Any documentation by which proceedings in the District Circuit or High Court are instituted (including appeals from a lower court) and any other subsequent documentation relating to civil proceedings.

3. Who is responsible for serving a document?

The party on whose behalf the document purports to be issued or a person so authorised by him/her in that regard.

4. How is the document in practice normally served?

In the District Court service of summonses for summary (minor) offences may be served by

  1. Registered post
  2. Recorded delivery prepaid post
  3. Delivery by hand in a sealed envelope to a person other than the person on whose behalf it purports to be issued
  4. Personal service or service on a relative over the age of sixteen years of age residing with the defendant

In civil proceedings in the Circuit Court practically all documents are served by registered post.

In the High Court Order 9 of the Rules of the Superior Courts provide for personal service of an originating summons on an individual and also allows for non personal service if due and reasonable diligence has been exercised in endeavouring to effect personal service. Section 379 of the Companies act 1963 provides for service of the said summons by ordinary prepaid post on the registered office of a company. Subsequent documentation is usually served by registered post. (See Order 121 RSC, 1986 as amended).

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

If the method of serving a document by registered post/personally is unsuccessful, it is open to the plaintiff or the plaintiff's legal representative to apply to the relevant court for an alternative method of service, usually ordinary prepaid post.

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

In the District and Circuit Court when service is effected by registered post a statutory declaration is sworn by the person who posted the envelope, not earlier than ten days after the day on which the envelope is posted, exhibiting the certificate of postage.

In the High Court an affidavit of service is sworn by the person who effected service as a necessary proof for court. In the case of an originating summons details of service should be endorsed on the said summons within three days of service and the affidavit of personal service should refer to this.

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?

An application may be brought in the District Circuit and High Court to set aside any order made when notice of the court hearing has not been received, having been served by registered post.

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

The only cost is that of postage or an agents fee if one is retained.

Further information

« Service of documents - General information | Ireland - General information »

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Last update: 17-08-2004

 
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