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Warning to parties on taking technical points on service where they have not been prejudiced

In the case of DB UK Bank Ltd (t/a DB Mortgages) v Sinclair Solicitors Ltd [2015] EWHC B29 (Ch), the parties agreed under CPR 7.6 an extension of time for service of the claim form and particulars of claim until 07 September 2015 which was recorded in a consent order signed between the parties and sent to the Court without an accompanying application form. The claimant subsequently sent the claim form and particulars of claim to the defendant by fax and DX on 04 September 2015. The defendant argued in its application to the Court challenging service that the reference in the consent order to extending the “time for service” to 07 September 2015 meant that the claim form had to be deemed served under CPR 6.14 by 07 September 2015 (it would not have been deemed served until 2 business days after posting, i.e. until at least 08 September 2015) and not merely despatched under CPR 7.5.

The High Court rejected the defendant’s arguments holding that the parties had applied for the extension under CPR 7.6(1) which allows parties to extend the time for compliance with CPR 7.5. The order therefore extended the period for compliance with CPR 7.5 which only requires that the claim form is despatched in time – within the four month period within which it is valid, not that it is deemed served.

The judgment acts as a strong warning to parties against taking technical points on service in circumstances where they have not been prejudiced. The Court made it particularly clear in strong terms that the defendant in this case had had the documents in time and had suffered no prejudice whatsoever.

To discuss any issue surrounding service or relating to dispute resolution, please contact Julian Maitland-Walker or Sheree-Ann Virgin.