Process Servers & Statutory Demands

Posted 9:49 6 January 2014

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When serving Statutory Demands, our process servers have recently had to clarify the timings needed between the letter of appointment being sent out and the Bailiff / Investigator re-attending for service.

The main provision concerning the time for service is found in the Practice Directions: Insolvency Rules [2000]. These state that “a first class pre-paid letter should be written to the debtor” and that “at least two business days notice should be given of the appointment”.
The first issue is then when the Court considers that the debtor has received the letter of appointment from our process servers. The guidance concerning service of a document by first class post is found in Civil Procedure Rules. These state that a letter sent by first class post is considered served the second day after posting by our process servers.
The Practice Directions then require that the debtor is then allowed “at least two business days notice” before our process servers re-attend to effect service. Unfortunately the Court has not been consistent with their interpretation of the meaning of “at least two business days”.
Sometimes the Court decides that this includes the day of service, sometimes the Court decides that the “at least” means the day of service is not included as one of the “two business days”. The spirit of the Practice Directions is to allow the debtor the opportunity to re-arrange appointments with our process servers if so required and so it is difficult to argue if the court does decide that the day of service is not included as one of the business days.

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