Frequently Asked Questions
What time is it over there?
So if you work in Los Angeles or Vancouver and you call us just before you go home for the evening, do bear in mind it will be 1am our time! Having said that, we do try to answer calls personally during our evenings, to be available through as much of the US working day as possible.
How long before you effect service
We try to meet any reasonable request, but there may be cost implications - please contact us with full details for advice and a specific quotation.
RUSH means that we drop everything the moment the papers arrive and get them served.
SEMI-RUSH is a service we offer in cases where we have the time (usually overnight) to get the papers to the nearest suitable local server who, on receipt, will treat them as RUSH.
ROUTINE to us is the same as RUSH to many other process servers! We normally make a first attempt within one to three working days of receipt of instructions, or two to four working days if they have to be physically (rather than electronically) sent on to the nearest suitable local server.
How do we identify a British Company's Registered Agent?
Under British rules, companies do not have a “Registered Agent”, i.e. the official person for service of a corporation. Instead, we have the "Registered Office", an 'official' place for service.
Under our rules, it is always good service if process is delivered to the registered office of a company, regardless of the circumstances at that address. If you go to our Companies House website, you can check out the correct title and registered office of any British company.
How long before we get proof of service?
If service has been effected directly from our office, the proof of service will be dealt with the next day and usually emailed to you before being sent by your chosen method of return (or sent off to our Central Authority in the case of gold serves).
If service was effected from another office, there will usually be a few extra days for us to send the proof to the server and receive it back, executed.
For our gold service, Hague Certificates of Service typically take two to three weeks to be returned from the court and sent on to you.
What do we need to send?
For ALL SERVES (by email in the first instance):
- A Word document setting out the layout of the action header with title, court, parties, etc.
- The papers for service*
- Detailed instructions covering such things as time limits, any special home court requirements, etc.
- All available information concerning the party to be served, i.e. anything and everything the local process server should know to ensure smooth service of process
- Your full contact details, especially an email address
- A FedEx or UPS account number or other instructions for the return of documents to you.
* Where you send us documents for service by email there may be charges for printing excessive numbers of pages.
For gold serves: what you need to send us will be detailed to you in the step by step guide we shall send you - this will be accompanied by the (partly completed) Hague forms for you to complete and submit.
For silver serves: a letter of instruction (we provide the wording) and a "Summary" completed with relevant case details (we provide an example to help you with this, and the blank form itself) plus the documents detailed above.
Where do I get the Hague Convention forms?
Under our gold service we will supply you with everything you need including a step by step guide to the process and partly completed Hague forms.
For silver serves we will provide you with the wording for the letter of instruction to our Solicitor, and help you prepare a "Summary" to be added to the service papers.
What will we receive back?
For gold serves you will receive a Hague Certificate of Service detailing the date and method of service, signed by a Master of the High Court of Justice in London (a procedural judge) and sealed by the court, together with a Solicitor-certified copy of the witness statement of service from the process server attaching copies of everything served as an exhibit.
For silver serves you will receive an original witness statement of service (or a sworn affidavit of service, should you require it, for an extra charge) detailing the date and method of service, and showing compliance with article 10 of the Hague Service Convention.
For bronze serves you will receive an original statement of service (or a sworn affidavit of service, should you require it, at an extra charge).
What alternative proofs of service are available?
WITNESS STATEMENTS: Our courts and our Central Authority require as standard an unsworn (but formal) witness statement to prove service - similar to a declaration under penalty of perjury in the US. There is no additional charge for providing this form of proof of service.
AFFIDAVITS: The usual alternative to an unsworn witness statement is an affidavit. Our affidavits are sworn on oath or formally affirmed before a court official or a commissioner for oaths (usually a Solicitor of the Senior Courts of England and Wales) under his/her signature (a Solicitor will generally use a formal ink stamp to confirm his/her authority, but never a seal).
NOTARIZED AFFIDAVITS: Notaries Public in the UK are very different to those in the US, in essence being lawyers who have taken an extra qualification. Their fees reflect their status and are based on time spent. The United States has in excess of four million Notaries, whilst England and Wales has less than a thousand! Because we shall have to make an appointment and because Notaries are so few and far between, having an affidavit notarized can involve lengthy travel and waiting times. Thus the fee for a notarized affidavit can easily exceed the cost of the service itself.
DOCUMENT NOTARIZED AT US EMBASSY: The most expensive option, but surely the most unchallengeable, is for our US court affidavits to be notarized with a consular seal at the US Embassy in London. Given Embassy fees, and that the deponent will have to make an appointment and travel to London, the fee will be considerable.
APOSTILLE: Sometimes, a US court has sought proof that an affidavit sworn here is genuine. The UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office offers a service of “Legalisation” of official documents (an Apostille is a Legalisation Certificate). Legalisation is the official confirmation that a signature, seal or stamp on a document is genuine. But having a document legalised doesn’t mean that its contents are accurate, nor does it carry any sort of official approval by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office - in the case of an affidavit it simply confirms that it was genuinely sworn in front of a solicitor.
COST: Unsworn witness statements are included in our pricing. Other proofs of service will result in extra charges - please ask.
Where and how do we send everything?
- FedEx and UPS know us very well and it usually takes two working days for papers to reach us.
- Air Mail can often be nearly as quick, three to four days typically.
- Please feel free to send papers by email, providing your court does not insist on originals being served (there will be a charge for excessive amounts of printing, so please ask).
How should we pay you?
- We are happy to accept payment online via PayPal to firstname.lastname@example.org; or
- We can provide the information you will need to make a direct bank transfer; or
- Please send funds with your instructions by check in US$, but please check with us before so doing as to the exact naming of the payee, as American Cheque Processing Regulations have made this a thorny issue with our banks.