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Failure to reply to court papers can have disastrous consequences.

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We are dealing with a case whereby because of our client’s geographical remoteness he has difficulty in being located by the postman.  This has resulted in him not receiving important court documents.  

As we deal with thousands of enquiries and cases it would be impossible for our clients to use our address to receive court papers.  But given the uniqueness of the situation and the strength of our client’s case we wanted to make an exception and we thought we had agreed with the court that they would use our address in order to ensure that our client could receive future papers from them.  We would, as a ‘one-off’, scan and send them by email or by fax. 

However, the Judge declined such a suggestion with the following: “the Defendant must give his address for service [but] not that of the solicitor who is advising him and acting merely as a post-box”.  Now, I’ve been called many things in my time but never a post-box and certainly not ‘merely’ so!

But it brings about a serious point.  If you suspect or know that you will not receive expected court papers at your place of work for whatever reason then you can put your residential address instead.  But this in turn causes another problem, do you really want consumers to know where you live?

In that case you have to apply to the court to ask for an Order that allows service of documents to be sent to an alternative address. Not that this is intended to be a criticism of any kind but that all seems to be a little unnecessary.  Surely the greater benefit is for a claimant or defendant to simply be able to specify an address that will ensure he receives the court’s papers without having to ask the court’s permission first?

And so if you are going to be away from work for a while and you are expecting court papers, do please ensure that someone is briefed as to what to do with them in your absence, even if it is to simply contact us for advice.  Failure to reply to court papers can have disastrous consequences so do all you can to ensure that going on holiday this year does not cost you your business.

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Jason WilliamsLegal AdvisorRead More by this author

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