SERVICE AT THE "LAST KNOWN ADDRESS": A CASE ILLUSTRATING THE DANGERS OF NOT COMPLYING WITH THE RULES FOR SERVICE

Mediatelegal

An earlier piece  dealt with the dangers of serving the claim form at the “last known address”.  A report on Lawtel today demonstrates the dangers.  This was a decision of Hamblen J in Norcross -v- Constantine (2014 – 16/5/2014).This is based on the Lawtel summary. I have sought the transcript.

THE ISSUES

The claimant served the claim form at an address in the Essex. They had been told that the defendant had moved to Thailand. The claimant asserted that this was the “last known address” under CPR r.6.9(2).

SERVICE AT THIS ADDRESS WAS NOT APPROPRIATE SERVICE

The judge held that service was not effective. The test was an objective one.

  • The claimants had notice of the facts which would give reason to believe that the defendant was no longer living in Essex.
  • The claimants had been given notice by the Insolvency Service that unsuccessful attempts had been made to serve the defendant at the Essex address during director disqualification proceedings.
  • The defendant’s former accountant also told the claimant that the defendant was living abroad.
  • The claimant’ solicitors could not ignore that information, especially when it came from third parties.

THE CONSEQUENCE: JUDGMENT WAS SET ASIDE

As a result service was defective and judgment was set aside.

THE SOLUTION FOR A CLAIMANT IN THIS POSITION: TAKE THE STEPS REQUIRED BY r. 6.9(3)

It was because the claimants had failed to take the steps required by 6.9(3) that judgment was set aside. If the claimants had taken those steps, and not been able to find an address for service, then service on the Essex address would have been good service. This issue was discussed in the earlier post on this topic.