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Serving the claim on the defendant

There are three choices as to how the claim is served:

  • The court can post one copy of the claim to the defendant
  • The sheriff's office can serve the claim either on the defendant personally or by leaving it with someone at his address
  • The plaintiff can serve it personally or pay for a licensed process server to serve it.

The court will charge an additional fee for the Sheriff's office to serve the claim. The same fee can be claimed if a licensed process server serves the claim. A process server may charge the plaintiff more than the fee allowed by the court in which case the difference will have to be paid by the plaintiff but cannot be able to be recovered from the defendant. This is added to the amount of the claim but as with the issue fee must in the first instance be paid by the plaintiff.

If the claim is posted to the defendant but is returned to the court as unclaimed the plaintiff will have to either find a new address at which to try to serve the defendant and notify the court or try to serve it personally. If the plaintiff or a licensed process server serves the claim the back of one of the spare copies of the claim must be completed and the claim form filed with the court registry. This is called a 'proof of service'. Unless this is done the court will not know if the claim has been served on the defendant and will not be able to assist the plaintiff to take any further steps to proceed with the claim.

A claim must be served within twelve months of it being issued but this can be extended with the court's permission if the court is satisfied that there are good reasons why it was not served within that period.

Serving the claim on the defendant  :  Last Revised: Fri Dec 3rd 2010
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