Service of any summons on the defendant shall, except in the cases specified, be effected:
- by personal service upon the person to be served,
- by personal service upon another person referred to below on behalf of the person to be served, or
- by the sending of a copy of the summons by registered prepaid post in an envelope addressed to the person to be served at his last known residence or place of business in the State, or an address in the State for service provided by the person to be served, provided that such service shall not be deemed effective without proof of delivery of the said envelope to the address of the person to be served.
Where it shall appear by affidavit that the defendant is personally within the jurisdiction and that due and reasonable diligence has been exercised in endeavouring to effect personal service on him or her, service of the summons may be effected by delivering a copy thereof at
- the defendant’s usual or last known place of residence within the jurisdiction, or
- the defendant’s principal or last known place of business or office, to the wife, husband, civil partner, father, mother, brother, or sister of the defendant, or to any employee of the defendant (the person to whom such copy shall be delivered being of the age of sixteen years or upwards) and showing to such person the original or duplicate original of such summons.
The service of the summons is not required when the defendant by his solicitor accept service and undertakes in writing to enter an appearance.
Personal service is effected by delivering a copy of the summons to the defendant in person and showing him the original or duplicate original.
At least three attempts are normally required at reasonable hours to effect personal service before service on others is permitted. In some cases, however, fewer attempts than three may be appropriate where it is clear that the defendant is avoiding service. In cases of doubt, it may be necessary to apply for an order deeming the service to be sufficient.
Service may be made on a connected or related party only where the defendant is within the jurisdiction. Where the defendant appears to be within the jurisdiction and claims that he is not so the onus will be on him to prove it. Absence from the jurisdiction for the purpose evading service is not sufficient to effect valid service on a connected person
Defendants Lacking Capacity
Where a minor is a defendant in any proceedings, service on his father, mother or guardian or if none, then upon the person with whom the infant resides or under whose care he is, shall, unless the Court otherwise orders, be good service. The Court may order that service made or to be made on the infant shall be deemed good service.
Where a person lacking mental capacity whether formally so found or not, is a defendant, service on his committee or in the case of a person with whom the person of unsound mind resides or under whose care he is, shall be deemed good and sufficient, unless the Court otherwise orders.
Corporates / Partnerships
Service may be effected on a company by sending a copy of the summons etc or leaving it at the registered office of the company registered with the Companies Registration Office. If the company has not filed a notice of its registered office the company proceedings may be served at the Companies Registration Office itself.
Partners may be served by service on one or more of the partners or at their principal place of business on a person having control and management of the partnership business there. This is deemed good service on the firm, provided it still exists.
In the absence of statutory provision otherwise, every summons issued against a corporation may be served on the mayor, other head officers, town clerk, clerk, treasurer or secretary of such corporation. A summons against the inhabitants of a district may be served on any officer of An Gárda Síochána of Superintendent or a rank above, in the relevant district. Every summons issued against the inhabitants of a city or town, franchise, liberty, may be served on a peace officer thereof.
In all such cases, a sufficient notice of the issuing of the summons shall be given in Iris Oifigiúil and in one of the local newspapers in the county, city or district in which the defendant or the officer or another person to be served, shall reside.
The delivery or service of any document under the Rules, for which personal service is not required, may be effected by leaving the document or a copy thereof (as may be appropriate) at, or sending the document or a copy thereof (as may be appropriate) by registered prepaid post to, the residence or place of business in the State of the person to be served.
Alternatively it may be served by delivering the document or a copy thereof (as may be appropriate) to the solicitor (if any) who has accepted service or who is recorded in the proceedings as acting for that person in the proceedings to which the document relates. This may be done by
- leaving the document or copy at that solicitor’s place of business in the State or at a document exchange service designated by that solicitor through which that solicitor accepts documents, or
- sending the document or copy by registered prepaid post to that solicitor’s place of business in the State.
Delivery or service through a document exchange service shall: be effective provided the solicitor concerned has confirmed in writing to the party serving the document or copy (or that party’s solicitor) that he will accept service of documents in the action through the document exchange service designated by him;
It shall cease to be effective where, prior to such delivery or service, the solicitor concerned has in writing revoked such confirmation.
Any affidavit verifying delivery or service through a document exchange service shall exhibit the written confirmation and contain an averment that such confirmation had not, at the time of such delivery or service, been revoked in accordance with this rule.”
Recovery of Land
There are special rules in relation to particular types of actions including those relating to recovery of land. The court rules by the particular provisions specify what constitutes sufficient service in such cases.
In an action brought to recover land for non-payment of rent or over holding, it shall not be necessary to serve the summons on any person other than the person or persons in the actual possession of the land or part thereof, as tenant or under-tenant. In other actions for the recovery of land, it shall be necessary to serve every person in actual possession or in receipt of the rents and profits of the lands or part thereof, unless the Court otherwise directs.
In actions for the recovery of land, the service of a summons may be effected by personal service on the person to be served at any place in the jurisdiction or by delivering a copy of summons to a spouse, parent, child, brother or sister, at his house, office or place of business with a person aged sixteen years and upwards, by showing to such person the original or duplicate and delivering a copy.
The service of a summons in an action to recover land may, in the case of vacant property, when it cannot be otherwise effected, be made by posting a copy of the summons upon the door of the dwelling house or other conspicuous parts of the property. However, before any judgement by default shall be given, the Court shall be satisfied that there is no person in actual possession or in receipt of the rents and profits on whom other service might have been effected.
Indorsing Summons and Proving Service
The person who serves a summons shall, within three days, indorse on the summons the day and date of the service. Every affidavit of service shall state the date on which the indorsement is made.
An affidavit of service of a summons in actions for recovery of land, for non-payment of rent or overholding, shall state that the deponent does not know any person, other than those who have been served, who is in actual possession of the land sought to be recovered, as tenant or sub-tenant.
An affidavit of service of a summons in other actions for recovery of land, shall state that the person swearing does not know and does not believe there is any person, other than those served, is in actual possession or in receipt of the rents and profits of the land sought to be recovered, or any part thereof. This is to be verified by an affidavit of the plaintiff or a solicitor for the plaintiff.
The above provisions apply both to a summons and to proceedings not commenced by summons and to notice in lieu of summons. In any case generally, upon just grounds, the Court may declare service actually effected sufficient.
If it appears to the Court that the plaintiff is for any reason unable to effect prompt personal service or other service allowed by the Rules, the Court may make an order for substituted service or for a substitution for service of notice by advertisement or otherwise.
The application to the Court for an order for substituted or other service shall be supported by an affidavit setting forth the grounds upon which the application is made. Where an order is granted, a copy of the order for substituted service shall be served along with the summons.
Substitute Service Applications
It is possible (and common) for the plaintiff to make an applications to court to have the mode of service effected declared sufficient. The application is made by way of one-sided application based on an affidavit setting out the attempts to serve the defendant ,belief that he is in the jurisdiction at a particular place or is evading service. It should set out details of the attempts to make personal service and set out all the relevant facts.
If it appears that the plaintiff is unable to effect prompt personal service the court may make an order for substituted service. This may be by advertisement or such other manner the court deems appropriate. The court can look at the facts and consider the appropriate and flexible method of bringing the proceedings to the attention of the defendant.
An application should be made in the same way as above setting out much the same facts and the attempts that have been made to effect personal service. The proposed method of substituted service might be set out.
The court may permit substituted service by registered post or by placing it in a letterbox or otherwise. Service may be made allowed by advertisement.
Further Pleadings where no Appearance
In the case of default of appearance by a defendant to an originating summons, the claimant shall in the case of a plenary summons, deliver a statement of claim by filing the same in the Central Office, in the case of a special summons, by filing a grounding affidavit in the Central Office and in the case of a personal injury summons, a summary summons or other originating documents by filing an affidavit in the Central Office, verifying the facts relied upon and thereupon may apply to Court for judgement in default of appearance.