Authorities

 United Kingdom - Central Authority & practical information
Address

Central Authority(ies):

[Until 21 August 2008: Her Majesty's Principal Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs]

As per 22 August 2008: The Senior Master, Royal Courts of Justice

Contact details:

Address: The Senior Master
For the attention of the Foreign Process Section
Room E16
Royal Courts of Justice
Strand
LONDON WC2A 2LL
Telephone: +44 207 947 6691 / 7786 / 6488 / 6327 / 1741
Fax: +44 870 324 0025
E-mail: [email protected]
General website: www.justice.gov.uk
Contact person: -
Languages spoken by staff: English 

Practical Information:

Forwarding authorities
(Art. 3(1)):

England and Wales:
The Senior Master of the Royal Courts of Justice
Strand
London WC2A 2 LL
Switchboard: +44 207 947 6000
Tel: +44 20 7947 6691
Fax: +44 20 7947 6237
Website: http://www.hmcourts-service.gov.uk/

Scotland:
Scottish Government Justice Directorate
Central Authority & International Law Team
St. Andrew's House (GW15)
EDINBURGH EH1 3DG
Scotland, UK
E-mail: [email protected]
tel.: +44 (131) 244 4829
fax: +44 (131) 244 4848

Northern Ireland:
The Master (Queen’s Bench and Appeals)
Royal Courts of Justice
Chichester Street
Belfast BT1 3JF
Tel: + 44 28 90 72 47 06
Fax: + 44 28 90 23 51 86
[email protected]
Website: www.courtsni.gov.uk/en-GB/

Methods of service
(Art. 5(1)(2)):

Personal service on individuals & postal service on registered offices of companies. If this fails by first class post. 

England and Wales:
European Judicial Network in Civil and Commercial Matters – Service of documents.

Scotland:
European Judicial Network in Civil and Commercial Matters – Service of documents.

Northern Ireland:
European Judicial Network in Civil and Commercial Matters – Service of documents.

Gibraltar:
European Judicial Network in Civil and Commercial Matters – Service of documents.

Translation requirements
(Art. 5(3)):

Pursuant to Article 5(3) of the Convention United Kingdom will require the documents to be written in, or translated into, the English language.

Click here to read all the declarations and reservations made by the United Kingdom under this Convention.

Costs relating to execution of the request for service
(Art. 12):

As from 1 January 1979 no charge is made for service in normal circumstances. However, if the request is for service by a particular method, which incurs extra costs, or in other exceptional circumstances, actual costs of service will be reclaimed.

N.B.: This applies only to England and Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, and not to those overseas territories for whose international relations the United Kingdom is responsible.

Time for execution of request:  

Direct communication between:

- Judicial officers, officials or other competent persons
(Art. 10 b)), and

- Any person interested in a judicial proceeding and judicial officers, officials or other competent persons
(Art. 10 c))

With reference to Article 10(b) and (c) of the Convention, documents for service through official channels will be accepted in the United Kingdom only by the Central or additional authorities and only from judicial, consular or diplomatic officers of other Contracting States (see however English letter below).*

* Extract from a letter dated 11 September 1980 addressed by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office to the Permanent Bureau:

"(...) Thank you for your letter of 31 July in which you ask for assistance in the interpretation of the declaration made by the United Kingdom on 17 November 1967 in relation to Article 10 c) of the Convention.

I am happy to confirm that our declaration does not preclude any person in another Contracting State who is interested in a judicial proceeding (including his lawyer) from effecting service in the United Kingdom "directly" through a competent person other than a judicial officer or official, e.g., a solicitor. (...)"

Conclusion and Recommendation No 58 of the 2003 Special Commission (SC)
"The 2003 SC noted that the UK confirmed its position expressed at the Special Commission meeting of 1989, indicating its preference for the use of direct service through English solicitors on residents of England and Wales." (See Conclusions and Recommendations of the 2003 SC)

Click here to read all the declarations and reservations made by the United Kingdom under this Convention.

Oppositions and declarations
(Art. 21(2)):

Click here to read all the declarations and reservations made by the United Kingdom under this Convention.

Art. 8(2): No opposition
Art. 10(a): No opposition
Art. 10(b): Additional information - see above and declarations
Art. 10(c): Additional information - see above and declarations
Art. 15(2): Declaration of applicability
Art. 16(3): Declaration for Scotland only

Derogatory channels (bilateral or multilateral agreements or internal law permitting other transmission channels)
(Arts. 11, 19, 24 and 25)

Disclaimer:
Information may not be complete or fully updated – please contact the relevant authorities to verify this information.

To consult bilateral and multilateral treaties to which United Kingdom is a party, click here.

Council Regulation (EC) No 1393/2007 on the service in the Member States of judicial and extrajudicial documents in civil or commercial matters (Strasbourg, 13 November 2007) (European Judicial Atlas – Service of Documents).

Useful links: Civil Procedures Rules – Department of Constitutional Affairs.

(This page was last updated on 1 October 2014)

Conventions