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What is personal service?


‘A document is personally served on an individual by leaving it with that individual’


Personal service is delivering documents personally to an individual or company. It involves a process server attending at an address or location to deliver documents to the subject in person, so that they are fully aware of those documents and are in personal receipt of them.


An individual can be served at any location. Service does not need to take place at the address defined on the paperwork, and it is quite common arrangements to be made to meet elsewhere, such as a place of work, car park etc.


At the time of service, a process server should ensure the subject of the documents is aware of the nature of the documents, and any important content should be verbally relayed to them where practical to do so. This would include things such as the type of document (e.g. a Bankruptcy Petition), any hearing date, and certainly any penal notice. A process server is not there to offer advice, or to enforce the contents of any paperwork - just to make sure they understand what it is that they are being served with.


It is worth noting that to personally serve paperwork, it does not have to touch that individual, and they certainly do not have to ‘accept’ the service. For example, if they refuse to take the paperwork in their hands, simply lay (don’t throw) the paperwork at their feet, or place it on a desk in front of them, or other similar place.


Covid19 brought about changes to the way in which personal service was effected during the pandemic, as it was impossible to hand over the paperwork, and maintain a 2m social distance. Generally, process servers would advise the respondent that they needed to serve them with the paperwork and invite them to step back while the paperwork was placed on the doorstep. The process server would then step back, and allow the respondent to retrieve it. In some instances conversations were had through the front door as those shielding tried to limit contact, and paperwork would be handed through the letterbox to the respondent standing on the other side.


The most important thing to demonstrate is that the paperwork was left ‘with them personally’.


I've still got questions

Call us on 01543 888218 to discuss it with a member of the team. We are happy to help where we can, even if you are not ready to instruct a process server yet.



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