United Kingdom - Central Authority & practical information

Central Authority:

The Senior Master, Royal Courts of Justice

Contact details:

Address: For the attention of the Foreign Process Section
Room E16
Royal Courts of Justice
Telephone: +44 203 936 8957 (please select the option for ‘Foreign Process’)
E-mail: foreignprocess.rcj@justice.gov.uk
General website: Ministry of Justice: https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/ministry-of-justice
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
London WC2A 2LL
Switchboard: +44 207 947 6000
Tel: +44 203 936 8957 (please select the option for ‘Foreign Process’)
Website: Ministry of Justice 

Scottish Government Justice Directorate
Central Authority & International Law Team
St. Andrew's House (GW15)
Edinburgh EH1 3DG
Scotland, UK
E-mail: serviceofdocuments@gov.scot or Angela.Lindsay@gov.scot
Tel.: +44 131 244 4829

Northern Ireland:
The Master (Queen’s Bench and Appeals)
Royal Courts of Justice
Chichester Street
Belfast BT1 3JF
Tel: +44 28 9072 4639
Website: Department of Justice NI

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

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

England and Wales


Northern Ireland

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:

Within 3 months

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

For Scotland only:
Requests for service within Scotland of documents in civil and commercial matters can be made directly to sheriff officers and messengers-at-arms (judicial officers). 

This is the preferred method of service in Scotland. The Society of Messengers-at-Arms and Sheriff Officers (smaso.org.uk)

Oppositions and declarations
(Art. 21(2)):
Click here to read all the declarations made by this State under the Service Convention.
Art. 8(2): No opposition
Art. 10(a): No opposition
Art. 10(b): Additional information – see declarations
Art. 10(c): Additional information – see declarations
Art. 15(2): Declaration of applicability
Art. 16(3):

Declaration for Scotland only:
In accordance with the provisions of the third paragraph of Article 16 of the Convention, in relation to Scotland, applications for setting aside judgments on the grounds that the defendant did not have knowledge of the proceedings in sufficient time to defend the action will not be entertained if filed more than one year after the date of judgment.

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

England and Wales:
Civil Procedure Rules

Competent authorities
(Arts 6, 9)

Messengers-At-Arms and Sheriff Officers

Other authorities
(Art. 18)

This page was last updated on: