20 November, 2020
The Claimant provided a document which was posted at 5.36pm on 4 April 2010 in an attempt to comply with an Unless Order requiring the documents to be served by 4pm on the 4 April 2010. The document was sent using Royal Mail's "Signed For 1st Class" service which aims to deliver items the next working day, but will only make a delivery once a signature or other proof of delivery has been obtained from the addressee. This document was not signed for and received until 9 April.
It was accepted that the document was filed late and therefore an application was made for relief from sanctions, however, key to the success of this application was just how late the document was.
Rule 6.26 of the Civil Procedure Rules states that for documents sent via first class post (or other service which provides for delivery on the next business day) the deemed date of service is the second day after it was posted. Based on this, the document would be deemed served on the 6 April, being 2 days late. However, as the document was sent via Signed For - 1st Class and was clearly delivered and signed for on the 9 April, what is the actual date of service?
At first instance, DDJ Goodman found that the mere requirement that the delivery of signed for, meant that this method fell outside the deemed service provisions contained within Rule 6.26 of the CPR. The Claimant appealed and the decision was upheld.
The case went to the Court of Appeal and the Court agreed with the Claimant, finding that the signed for provision merely rectifies the problem with First Class post in proving actual delivery, but that nevertheless, it was a form of First Class Post. The Court went on to state that by excluding such method of service from deemed delivery could allow unscrupulous recipients from evading service by refusing to sign.
Whilst the Court did find the deemed date of delivery to be the 6 April, the Claimant was unsuccessful in their Relief from Sanctions Application.
This is a common sense decision that will offer litigants reassurance. At Forbes, we ensure we serve Notice for Possession by both Royal Mail First Class and Royal Mail Signed For - 1st Class. This decision confirms that the use of such services will give comfort to the actual delivery and will not deprive their clients of the benefit of the deemed service provisions in CPR 6.26.
For more information contact Laura Hallett Lea in our Dispute Resolution department via email or phone on 0333 207 1141. Alternatively send any question through to Forbes Solicitors via our online Contact Form.