ARE PARTICULARS OF CLAIM PROPERLY SERVED IF SENT (AT THE 12th HOUR) IN THE POST WITH THE CLAIM FORM? CIRCUIT JUDGE DECISION ON APPEAL
I am grateful to barrister Christopher Johnson for sending me a copy of the judgment of HHJ Ralton in the case of Ellis -v- The Chief Constable of Avon & Somerset Constabulary (HHJ Ralton, 16th November 2021). The judge was considering the issue of whether service of particulars of the claim was in time if they were served by post at the end of the period for service, alongside the claim form. On appeal this decision was decided in the claimant’s favour. However this remains a very moot point. In the absence of a definitive Court of Appeal judgment on this issue any prudent claimant would ensure that service of the particulars took place within the four month period.
A copy of the report is available here. F61YJ238 Ellis v CCAS Police final Judgement 16.11.21 (1)
The claimant brought a civil action against the defendant. The action was issued at the end of the limitation period. The claim form was served, just within the four month period, by sending it by first class post. The Particulars of Claim accompanied the claim form.
The rules state that the date for service of the claim form is the date it is placed in the post. There is no express rule in relation to service of the Particulars of Claim. The Particulars have to be served within the four month period for service. The question was whether the Particulars of Claim were served within the relevant period.
THE DECISION OF THE DISTRICT JUDGE
The District Judge struck out the claimant’s claim, on the grounds that the Particulars were not served within time. The claimant’s application for a retrospective application of time was refused.
THE CLAIMANT’S APPEAL
HHJ Ralton allowed the claimant’s appeal. It was held that the rule relating to service of the claim form applied to service of the Particulars of Claim. The judgment contains a detailed discussion of the case law on the topic. The judge then concluded the issue in favour of the claimant’s construction.