As covered on our Talking Business blog recently, for the first time the court has considered service of claim forms on directors under the Companies Act 2006, section 1140 (Companies Act).
This section confirms a document may be served on a director or secretary of a company “…by leaving it at, or sending it by post to, the person’s registered address“. This is subject to any law which requires the court’s permission for service outside of the jurisdiction.
In a recent case* a director’s personal details at Companies House showed a residential service address in Romford and a business service address in Barking. This was despite the director’s move to the United Arab Emirates.
The claim form was served on the director at both UK service addresses. He then sought an order from the court that service was ineffective because neither address was his “usual or last known residence”.
However, the court disagreed with the director stating that, “…it is not prima facie unfair that a director of an English company who resided abroad, but who gives an address for service in England, should be vulnerable to being served at that address“. Additionally, “…a director who is resident abroad is entitled to provide an address outside the jurisdiction and, if he does so, permission to serve out of the jurisdiction must be obtained before service can be effected. However, whether he is normally resident outside the jurisdiction or not, if he provides an address for service that is within the jurisdiction then he may be served at that address” .
It was also held that to deny claimants the right to serve documents, including claim forms, on directors’ UK service addresses because of their absence from the jurisdiction, was contrary to what Parliament had intended.
This decision is helpful for Insolvency Practitioners, particularly those who pursue directors who try to evade or frustrate the service of court proceedings.
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