Service

  • There are different types of service.
  • The service offered to tenants by a landlord or agent.
  • The service offered to landlords by letting agents.
  • “Address for service” is the authorised place designated to serve documents.
  • A Process server is a person empowered to serve legal documents and whose word is trusted when affirming a document was in fact served.  Should a tenant deny receipt of a document served by a process server the court will accept the word of the process server above the litigant claiming non-service.
  • Who can serve documents?  Essentially anyone can serve documents, the problem is evincing the documents were actually served when attending court with a tenant disputing service.
  • Whilst anyone can serve, not anyone is permitted to sign or attend at court on behalf of a landlord.  Normally the landlord must sign and can be accompanied at court by the letting agent as a “next friend” or more accurately a Mckenzie Friend” who assists a “litigant in person” LIP without being party to the proceedings.  McKenzie Friends are not permitted to act outside of court nor sign NTQs or any legal documents.
  • A McKenzie friend is not normally allowed to speak directly to a judge (rights of audience) at court but in exceptional circumstances may be permitted to do so with the LIP in attendance.  The McKenzie friend is permitted to consult quietly with the LIP on points of law, procedure, flagging up points a litigant might want to raise in court or questions the LIP should ask of witnesses.
  • The process of serving a document – process server appointed by a county court.  A recognised and legally recognisable means of proving the service of documents e.g. section 21 or s. 8 Notice to quit – NTQ.  Securing a signature of receipt is also helpful.
  • Serving by email can be acceptable but it is wise to send by more than one means to avoid the suggestion “it must have been lost in the post”.  Two documents lost is most unlikely.
  • See also sec 196 LPA

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