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HMRC internal manual

Debt Management and Banking Manual

Ordinary Cause: How the sheriff officer effects service of the writ

Usually the sheriff officer will effect service by recorded first class post by sending toeach defender

  • a copy of the initial writ
  • a copy of the warrant of citation
  • a notice of intention to defend (court form O7) and
  • a form of citation (court form O4).

All these forms are known as the “service documents”.

Postal service unsuccessful

Where either postal service is not possible or it is unsuccessful the defender’sservice documents may be served

  • personally on the defender
  • by being left with a resident at the defender’s dwelling place or with an employee at the defender’s place of business
  • by depositing it in the defender’s dwelling place or place of business or
  • affixing it to the door of the defender’s dwelling place or place of business.

The latter two methods will only be valid if

  • the other methods have been unsuccessful and
  • the sheriff officer sends, by ordinary post, a letter containing a copy of the defender’s copy summons, to the address where the defender is most likely to be found.