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HMRC internal manual

Debt Management and Banking Manual

Enforcement action: county court proceedings: preparation and service of the claim: deemed date of service of claim form

The ‘deemed date of service’ is a critical date in the action. Once a claim form is deemed to be served, the defendant has only a limited time in which to respond to the claim. If the debtor does not respond within the time allowed, the claimant is entitled to enter judgment in default.

In accordance with CPR 6.14 the claim will be deemed to be served on the second business day after completion of the relevant step shown in the table below. You should note that this rule applies even where the claim form has been served personally. 

Method of service Step required
First class post, document exchange or other service which provides for delivery on the next business day Posting, leaving with, delivering to or collection by the relevant service provider.
Personal service An individual, by leaving the claim form with that individual.

A company or other corporation, by leaving the claim form with a person holding a senior position within the company or corporation. A ‘person holding a senior position’ includes a director, chief executive, treasurer or manager, but not, for example, a receptionist. Leaving a document with a receptionist is therefore not personal service. It is service by leaving it at the relevant place.

A partnership (where partners are being sued in the name of the firm), by leaving the claim form with a partner, or a person who, at the time of service, has control or management of the partnership business at its principal place of business.    
  Delivering the document to or leaving it at the relevant place Delivering to or leaving the claim form at the relevant place
  Fax Completing the transmission of the fax
  Other electronic method Sending the email or other electronic transmission
  Issued through the CCBC** The fifth day after the date of issue regardless of whether this is a Saturday or Sunday or a bank holiday.

**Be aware that service of the claim is slower using this method. If the circumstances of the case mean that you need quicker service, you will have to serve the claim by other means.

Definition of a business day and bank holiday

Business day means any day except Saturday, Sunday, a bank holiday, Good Friday or Christmas Day.

Bank holiday means a bank holiday under the Banking and Financial Dealings Act 1971 in the part of the UK where service is to take place.

Queries and advice on service

If you are in any doubt about deemed dates of service or you need advice, contact the EIS Bradford CCP Technical Team.

Entering judgment

Once you have established the deemed day of service, it is vitally important that your B/F arrangements will enable you to enter judgment in default immediately if the defendant fails to respond.