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District Court Litigation

Service of Documents in Civil Proceedings in the District Court

service of documents

The service of your documents in the correct way is an important part of a successful outcome to your legal proceedings.

Service on a person

There are two ways of serving documents on a person: registered post or personal service.

A document in civil proceedings may be served by sending a copy of the document by registered prepaid post in an envelope addressed to the person to be served at his or her last known residence or place of business in the State.

Personal service of a document must be served:

(a) by delivering a copy of the document to the person to be served, or

(b) where it appears by evidence that the person to be served is personally within the jurisdiction and that due and reasonable diligence has been exercised in endeavouring to effect personal service on him or her, by leaving a copy of the document for the person to be served at his or her last or most usual place of residence, or at his or her office, shop, factory, home or place of business with:
(i) the husband or wife of the person to be served; or

(ii) the civil partner of the person to be served; or

(iii) a child or other relative of the person to be served, who apparently resides with the person to be served; or

(iv) a child or other relative of the husband, wife or civil partner of the person to be served, who apparently resides with the person to be served; or

(v) any agent or employee of the person to be served; or

(vi) the person in charge of the house or premises where the person to be served usually resides,

provided that the person with whom the copy is left:

(I) is not under the age of 16 years, and

(II) is not himself or herself the person beginning the civil proceedings.

Service on a company

A document may be served on a company by leaving a copy of the document at or sending a copy of the document by post to the registered office of the company or, if the company has not given notice to the Registrar of Companies of the situation of its registered office, by registering the document at the office of the Registrar of Companies.

Service on a local authority or an unincorporated body

A document may be served on a local authority, statutory board or body, or an unincorporated society or club by leaving a copy of the document with any employee of the authority, board, body, society or club at its principal office or by sending a copy of the document by prepaid registered post to its principal office.

 Service on a partnership

Where persons are sued as partners in the name of their firm, a copy of the document must be served either:

(a) on any one or more of the partners; or

(b) at the principal place within the State at which the business of the partnership is carried on, on any person having at the time of service the control or management of the partnership business there;

and such service must be deemed good service on the firm sued, whether any of the members of the partnership are outside the State or not.

Acceptance of service

Service of a document must be deemed good service if the Court is satisfied that a solicitor acting on behalf of the person to be served has accepted service of the document.

Substituted service

Where the Court is satisfied that, for good cause shown, service of a document cannot be effected in a manner or in any manner prescribed by these Rules, the Court may make an order:

(a) for substituted or other service; or

(b) for the substitution for service of notice by advertisement or otherwise.

An application for an order for substituted or other service may be made ex parte.

Where the Court is satisfied that any particular mode of service prescribed is at any time not then available, the Court may by order in writing direct that the service of documents or of any particular class of documents be effected in such other manner as it thinks proper.

Service deemed good

  1. The Court may, if it considers it just to do so, deem the service of any document actually effected in any civil proceedings to be good and effected service, even though the service was not effected in a manner prescribed by these Rules.

Proof of service

A person who serves a document may prove the service:

(a) by evidence given orally before the Court; or

(b) by statutory declaration as to service made in accordance with the Statutory Declarations Act 1938.

A statutory declaration as to service must be in the Form 41.01, 41.02 or 41.03, Schedule C, as the case may be.

When service of a document on a person has been effected by registered prepaid post, a statutory declaration of service, which must be in the Form 41.01, Schedule C must be made not earlier than ten days after the day on which the envelope containing the copy of the document for service was posted.

A statutory declaration of service by registered post must:

(a) be made by the person who posted the envelope; and

(b) exhibit the certificate of posting; and

(c) state, where appropriate, that the original document was duly stamped at the time of posting, and

(d) state that the envelope has not been returned undelivered to the sender.

Where a statutory declaration is made as to service, and filed with the Clerk:

(a) the statutory declaration is prima facie evidence of the mode, time and place of service as set out in the statutory declaration; and

(b) it is not necessary for the person who effected service to attend in person at the Court to prove service on oral evidence,

but the Court may, if it considers it necessary, require the person who effected service to attend before it and give evidence concerning the service notwithstanding the making of a statutory declaration.

Deemed time of service

  1. Where service of a document is effected by registered prepaid post or by ordinary prepaid post, the document must be deemed to be served on the person to whom it was directed at the time at which the envelope containing the copy of the document for service would be delivered in the ordinary course of post.

Time for service before hearing

Save where otherwise provided by another enactment or by these Rules, a document which must be served before a hearing in the Court must be served at least seven days or, in the case of service by registered prepaid post, at least 21 days, before the date fixed for the hearing concerned.

Time for filing before hearing

Subject to any order or direction of the Court, a document which must be filed with the Clerk before a hearing in the Court, including any statutory declaration of service, must be filed at least four days or, in the case of filing by prepaid post, at least seven days, before the date fixed for the hearing concerned.

Service under Civil Liability and Courts Act 2004

The delivery or service of any notice for the purposes of section 8 or section 17 of the Civil Liability and Courts Act 2004 must be in the manner prescribed in section 4 of that Act.