Full case report
Weston v Bates
Reference  EWHC 590
Court Queen's Bench Division
Judge Tugendhat J
Date of Judgment 15 Mar 2012
Libel – service of claim form – service abroad – service of original or copy
The Claimant, a resident of Jersey, issued proceedings against the Defendants on the last day of the limitation period. The First Defendant was a resident of Monaco. The Claimant obtained permission from Master Eyre to serve him out of the jurisdiction at his home address. The Claimant’s solicitors scanned a photocopy of the hard copy Claim Form which had been sealed by the Court and emailed the scan to Monegasque agents, who served the printout of the scan in accordance with Monegasque law.
Was the method of service used effective to serve the proceedings?
Service had been properly effected. All that CPR Part 6.40(3)(c) provides is that the steps required to bring a claim form to a person’s attention may be taken by any method permitted by the law of the country in which those steps are to be taken. There is no additional requirement that a particular hard copy of the claim form be used.
Although the Judge gave detailed consideration to the leading cases of Cranfield v Bridgegrove  EWCA Civ 656 and Phillips v Nussberger  UKHL 1, which contained obiter comments suggesting that service of photocopies was not sufficient, he found no such requirement in the rules governing service out of the jurisdiction, saying “it should be possible for ltiigants and their advisers to find our how to effect service simply by looking at the rules.” The Judge however warned that parties proposing to serve a claim form will be well advised to continue the present practice of serving the document which has been sealed by the Court.
More from 5RB
5RB is the pre-eminent set in the area for handling defamation, privacy, contempt and data protection matters. Interviewees praise the set for having great depth and quality of counsel, and note that it boasts many of the top barristers in the field. Get the lowdown here.
New 3rd Edition of The Law of Privacy and the Media, published by OUP. Further details here.