The purpose of service is to ensure that defendants know the nature of the claim against them and are aware of the documents relating to the claim. The rules of court contain specific requirements to ensure that proper service is effected.
Any documents by which civil proceedings in the District, Circuit or High Courts are instituted (including appeals from a lower court) and all subsequent documentation in the proceedings.
The party on whose behalf the document purports to be issued or a person so authorised by him/her in that regard is responsible for serving the document.
No. The address for service must be provided by the requesting authority.
No. There is no central address/residence register for individuals. The registered address of a company may be found by carrying out a search on the Companies Registration Office website.
The request is dealt with by the Circuit Court as a request under Regulation 1206/2001.
In the District Court service may be effected by
(i) Registered post
(ii) Recorded delivery prepaid post
(iii) Delivery by hand in a sealed envelope to a person other than the person on whose behalf it purports to be issued
(iv) Personal service or service on a relative over the age of sixteen years of age residing with the defendant.
In the Circuit Court almost all documents are served by registered post.
In the High Court, Order 9 Rule 2 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. Subsequent documentation is usually served by registered post. (See Order 121 RSC, 1986 as amended). Section 51 of the Companies Act 2014 provides for service of documents by ordinary prepaid post on the registered office of a company registered in Ireland and Section 1310 of the Companies Act 2014 by the same means on an external company
Electronic service of documents is not permitted.
Personal service or service by registered post are the usual methods of service. If Irish legal proceedings need to be served by another method such as by ordinary pre-paid post, fax, e-mail or advertisement, then an application is made to court for ‘substituted service’ and if granted, the proceedings can be served by the alternative method permitted by the court.
If service is effected pursuant to an order for substituted service, the documents are deemed served when the terms of the court order have been complied with. Where service is effected by post, there is a statutory presumption of service of the documents when they are delivered in the ordinary course of post. This is a rebuttable presumption.
If service has been effected pursuant to court order, then the addressee is informed in the manner set out in the court order. If the documents are served by registered post and the addressee is unavailable, then the postal staff leave a notice at the address requesting that the addressee attend at the post office to collect a registered post document. The letter is usually held at the post office for a week to ten days.
There are no consequences for refusing to accept service. Where it has not been possible to effect service in Irish legal proceedings, an application can be made to the court for an extension of time for service or to substitute an alternative method of service or both.
For unregistered post, the document will be delivered to the address. For registered post, the document will be delivered to the named person only. This applies equally to internal and international post.
As an alternative to postal delivery, Article 15 of Regulation No. 1393/2007 allows a person to effect personal service through a solicitor or a summons server.
The post office generally sets a deadline on the notice sent to the addressee. The notice is left at the addressee’s address. The deadline is normally one week.
District and Circuit Courts: 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.
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.
An application may be made to court to set aside any order made where notice of the court hearing has not been lawfully served on the respondent.
The costs will be that of postage or an agent’s fee, if one is retained.
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