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Ensuring every instruction runs on time, to our clients expectations

At any one point in time, we have literally hundreds of process serving instructions in varying stages of completion, from the ones received just this morning, to cases which may have been on hold for months at a clients request (the longest so far is 18 months, still on hold without even a first visit after being sent to us from Hong Kong with instructions to hold the paperwork until given the go-ahead).

Add to this mix the fact that some serves will be urgent and require continuous attention until they are served, some are approaching a final service deadline, and some have been served and are approaching hearing date while we wait for the proof of service to be returned by our local agent.

So how do we ensure all of these instructions meet their deadlines, and progress the ones which aren’t on deadline promptly? The answer lies in our bespoke software system, written exclusively for us to address these issues.

How do we do it?

At the point of instruction, every case is entered to Novo, our bespoke system. All document details and clients instructions are loaded, together with certain key dates in clearly defined fields. We make reference to

  1. Any specific final service date (and time)

  2. Any forthcoming hearing date

  3. Any specific date the client has requested the matter is completed by

  4. The date we expect our local agent to have made first attendance by (which is usually 3 working days from receipt for non-urgent matters)

These dates feed through to various areas in our system, and at end of every day, the system generates reports of cases of interest to us, which are then individually reviewed by a member of the team to determine what (if any) work is required on them to keep them moving at the required rate to meet the deadline (or to keep them moving promptly if no deadline has been set).

Chase By Date Expired

The is probably the ‘busiest’ of our reports. Every single case on our system has a date assigned to it which is the date on which we expect the next process to have been completed by. For a standard case this date defaults to 3 working days after instruction, and is then moved along as the case progresses. This might be the date we expect a visit to be made, the date of an appointment, or the date on which we expect to receive a proof of service by. When that next process happens, the date is moved on to a further date. Any cases for which the date has expired flags to this report, reviewed by the team, to chase updates, information etc where required. The job stays on that report until the required action has been taken, and the date is them forwarded to the next expected process date.

Urgent Service

This report lists ALL cases which are open and have been marked as urgent, and all urgent jobs still awaiting service are also posted on our main Urgent board within the office for everyone to see. They stay on this report after service has been effected, right until the case is closed. This report is checked multiple times each day to ensure matters are progressing at the speed they need to.

Nearly Out of Time

This report flags any jobs which go ‘out of time’ for service in 8 days or less. This allows sufficient time for us to send appointment letters, schedule final visits, and liaise with clients on awkward cases to ensure we do everything necessary before the document goes out of time for service.

Out of Time

These are jobs which have gone out of time for service. It may be that we are awaiting a proof of service back from our local agent , or the matter could be on hold with a client. This report allows us to keep an eye on jobs which have passed final service date to make sure we finalise the final stages and get the file closed promptly.

Hearing Soon

The final report shows all cases which have a hearing within the next 7 days. Ordinarily this report is very small, but where service has been abridged to 24 or 48 hours, and the hearing is very imminent, it is vital we keep a keen eye on these jobs and ensure the client has their proof of service in readiness for the hearing.

Some cases will feature on multiple reports at any one time, but by setting such specific criteria for each of our reports, and ensuring each case featuring on them is individually checked by hand on a daily basis, we can ensure every single instruction we receive meets any deadlines, and the ‘standard’ instructions also progress quickly.

For information on how we can assist with your process serving requirements, visit, call Nicola Ashby on 01543 888434 or email

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