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CPR71 - Westrop -v- Harrath - the importance of personal service

The recent decision in the Court of Appeal and the matter of Westrop -v- Harrath again highlights the importance of understanding and complying with the requirements of CPR71 when serving N39 & N79a Orders.

Westrop-v-Harrath-Judgment (1)
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The substantial debt, of over £300k, arose pursuant to a Judgment in 2017, and in 2023 the Claimant applied for an order to attend court for questioning (N39 Order). Four Certificates of Service were filed in relation to service of this matter, and despite the requirements of CPR71 clearly stating personal service should be effected, and that evidence of the same should be in the form of an affidavit, the Certificates detailed various forms of postal service.

As a result of the debtor failing to attend Court on the given date (which the debtor claims is because he is now residing in the USA and not aware of the matter), a second Order was issued, which was again served by post, and again the debtor did not attend.

An N79a Suspended Committal Order was then issued, which did come to his attention by way of his father, who resides at the address at which it was served. With insufficient time to attend in person due to him being out of the country, the debtor instructed legal representation at the hearing.

This Court of Appeal Decision highlights the importance of ensuring proper execution of the requirements of the Civil Procedure Rules, and highlights that 'personal service' is the act of leaving the paperwork with the individual, and service by post is not personal service.

A.S.H. (UK) Process Servers Ltd are fully versed in the correct service procedure of both N39 and N79a Orders, and will ensure such service is fully compliant with the requirements of the Court.

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