EU Service Regulation
European Union legislation allows service within the European Union through a special mechanism.
The Service Regulation complements the Judgment Regulation. In addition, the Hague convention of service of proceedings in civil and commercial matter may also apply.
The European Union Regulations applies to civil and commercial matters. Each state must designate a transmitting agency and receiving agency and a central body to assist them. The receiving agency must serve the documents within seven days of receipt. If there is a problem serving, it must contact the transmitting service by the swiftest means possible.
The EU Regulation on Service out of the Jurisdiction and the Lugano Convention provides for service of the originating summons or notice thereof out of the jurisdiction without leave of Court subject to compliance with the relevant conditions.
Where the proceedings are governed by the EU Regulation, the claim must be by summons or other originating documents. They must be proceedings which the Court has the power to hear and determine. No proceedings between the parties concerning the same cause of action may be pending in another State.
Where the summons is to be served out of the jurisdiction, the time within which the defendant is to enter an appearance is to be five weeks in respect of service within the EU, European Union territories of an EU State or a Contracting State and six weeks in respect of any area outside of the European territories.
Where one, two or more defendants or parties to proceedings are covered by the Regulation, but not everyone is domiciled in an EU State or a contracting state to the Lugano Convention, then the provisions of the previous order requiring leave to serve out of the jurisdiction applies to each co-defendant. This does not apply to proceedings providing for exclusive jurisdiction under the Regulation.
Where the defendant is not or is not known to be a citizen of Ireland, notice of the summons and not the summons itself shall be served, A notice in lieu of summons is to be given in the manner in which summonses are served.
Where a defendant wishes to enter an Appearance, to contest jurisdiction he may do so by entering an appearance in a prescribed format.
A party to proceedings may choose to effect service in another State by diplomatic or consular agents under the Regulation.
Domicile for the purpose of the order is to be interpreted in accordance with the EU concept in the Regulation and the Lugano Convention.
There are similar provisions in respect of the earlier 1968 Judgements Convention. It has been largely replaced by the 2001 Regulation.
Subject to the Regulation or the Convention, where parties to a contract have agreed without conferring jurisdiction, that service of the summons and any proceedings relating to a contract may be effected in any place with or without the jurisdiction on any party or on any person on behalf of any party or in a manner specified or indicated in a contract, then in such cases, notwithstanding the Rules, service of such summons at the place or on the party or on the person if any, and in the manner indicated, shall be deemed good and effective service, wherever the parties are resident. If no place or mode of service is specified, service shall be effected in accordance with the Rules
Mechanics of Service
The EU Regulation on Service of proceedings provides a special method for service of proceedings through authorities appointed by each State.
County Registrars are the transmitting agencies for the purpose of the regulations in Ireland. The receiving entities are designated by the State.
Parties to proceedings to which the EU Regulations apply, who wishes to have a document served pursuant to it, may lodge with the County Registrar’s office,
- two copies of the documents to be served with an additional copy for each person to be served;
- a request for service in the form specified; and
- an undertaking to pay the costs occasioned by the employment of a judicial officer or of a person competent under the law of the State or where the applicant for service has specified a particular method of service, the costs occasioned by that method of service.
If the request does not comply with the Rules, the transmitting agency is to inform the requesting party.
The transmitting agency notifies the applicant of requests and contacts from the other entity.
Transmitting Agency Duties
The transmitting agency is to maintain a list of States and the languages specified for the purpose of the Regulation. The list is to be available for inspection of the offices of the County Registrar.
The transmitting agency is responsible for notifying the requesting party of any contact or notice received from the receiving agent. On receipt of a certificate under the Regulations of the receiving agency, it is to be furnished to the requesting party.
The transmitting agency shall maintain a list States who are subject to the Regulation, which may be available for inspection at the office of the County Registrar.
The transmitting agency may request that the documents be served in a particular manner provided it is not incompatible with the laws of the serving state. When documents are served the certificate of completion of service is sent to the transmitting agency together with a copy of the document which has been served.
Judgment in Default
In EU Judgements cases, a judgement in default of appearance may be entered only with leave of the Court. A judgement shall not be given or entered in default of appearance in the circumstances referred to in the Regulation, until it is established
- that the originating document was served by a method prescribed by the internal law of the State for the service of documents in domestic actions upon persons who are within its territory or
- the originating document was actually delivered to the defendant or his residence by another method provided for under the 2007 Regulation; and
- in either case, the service or delivery was in sufficient time to enable the defendant to defend the claim.
An application for leave to enter judgment is made by motion on notice, with a supporting an affidavit by the claimant, verifying the steps taken to serve the proceedings and supported by adequate proof thereof. The affidavit shall state that in the deponent’s opinion, that the claim is such that by virtue of the EU Regulation, the Court has the power to hear and determine and that no other Court has exclusive jurisdiction under the Regulation.
The Court may give leave to enter judgement if no certificate of service or delivery has been received by the transmitting agency from the receiving agency in the State in which service is requested to be effected. This is provided that the document was transmitted by one of the methods in the Service Regulation, a period of time being not less than six months, considered adequate by the Court, has elapsed since the date of transmission of the document and no certificate of any kind has been received, from the receiving agency, even though all reasonable effort has been made to obtain it through the competent authorities of the State addressed.
Appeal and Interim Measures
The Court may at any stage, in the event of urgency, make orders for provisional or protective measures on foot on an application made by the claimant.
An application to extend the time for appealing any judgement obtained in default of appearance shall be made by Motion on Notice. It shall be based on an affidavit of the moving party. The Court may if satisfied that
- The application was made within a reasonable time after the defendant had knowledge of the judgement;
- the defendant, without fault on his part, did not have knowledge of the originating document in sufficient time to defend or knowledge of the judgement in sufficient time to appeal it; and
- the defendant has disclosed a prima facie defence to the action on the merits,
extend the time for appealing, on such terms and conditions as appears just.
No application to set aside a judgement obtained in default of appearance shall be entertained if not made within a time that the Court deems to be reasonable.
No application to extend the time for appealing shall be entertained in respect of judgements relating to capacity and status of persons.