Service of documents in England and Wales during the COVID-19 pandemic– Foreign Process Section re-opening

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Service of documents through the Central Authority and the Foreign Process Section of the Royal Courts of Justice was suspended for several months in the UK as the country entered a period of lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic. A recent announcement (here) confirms that both the FPS and the Foreign & Commonwealth Office have re-opened and are now processing requests for service of documents in line with the EU Service Regulation and Hague Service Convention.

This is fantastic news, allowing documents to be serviced within the usual procedural ambit. However, it is still worth considering alternatives routes of service, as service via the Central Authority can lead to substantial delays, possibly more so in the current circumstances.

We consider some alternatives in our previous article (here); however, the rules on service of documents are complex and your options on service may differ depending on the jurisdiction and laws that govern the documents you seek to serve. Careful thought needs to be given to what method of service ought to be used, as defective service can have serious implications, particularly for example, rendering a foreign judgment unenforceable if the proceedings relating to the judgment were served incorrectly.

If you have any questions concerning the updated guidance or service of legal proceedings in England and Wales or abroad, please do not hesitate to contact Alice Daniels or Christa Feltham in Michelmores’ Commercial & Regulatory Disputes team.

This article is for information purposes only, and is not a substitute for legal advice, and should not be relied upon as such. Please contact our specialist lawyers to discuss any issues you are facing.