This part of GOV.UK is being rebuilt – find out what beta means

HMRC internal manual

Debt Management and Banking Manual

Enforcement action: county court proceedings: preparation and service of the claim: Personal Service

There may be circumstances where you wish or need to serve the claim form yourself.

For example

  • if postal delays (whether alleged or real) have caused you to write off court fees more than once in earlier actions against the same defendant and you need to prove beyond doubt the date on which the claim form was served
  • you want speedy service of the claim because the defendant is a seafarer or is moving abroad
  • the court has failed to serve the notice and has sent you a notice of non-service
  • the court orders personal service.

Preparing for service

To serve your claim personally on the defendant

  • check that the particulars are correct
  • send form N1 and a cheque for the claim fee to the court office, with a letter to the court manager informing the court that you want urgent ‘claimant service’
  • obtain form N9, either from the court or by downloading from the HMCTS website.

Top of page

Serving the claim

You should serve the claim N1, with form N9, by handing it personally to the defendant. Do not enclose the claim in an envelope.

If the defendant has made it known that a solicitor is acting on his behalf, you must serve the claim on the solicitor.

Note the deemed date of service on your papers: make sure you do this as you will have no other record of the date of service (DMBM665390).

Filing the claim with the court

After service of the claim

  • obtain form N215 (Certificate of service), either from the court or by downloading from the HMCTS website
  • endorse the copy claim “This paper marked ‘A’ is the copy claim referred to in the attached certificate”
  • send forms N215 and N9 to the court within 7 days of service.