Weston v Bates

Reference: [2012] EWHC 590

Court: Queen's Bench Division

Judge: Tugendhat J

Date of judgment: 15 Mar 2012

Summary: Libel - service of claim form - service abroad - service of original or copy

Appearances: Jacob Dean (Defendant) 

Instructing Solicitors: Carter-Ruck


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 [2003] EWCA Civ 656 and Phillips v Nussberger [2008] 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.