Specific rules apply to the service of court and judicial documents and judgments issued by Cypriot or foreign courts in Cyprus. This update reviews the private service of documents that are not a part of a pending court procedure to companies with a registered office in Cyprus.

Obligation to register office and notify change of address

Companies must publish details of their registered office with the Registrar of Companies upon incorporation and file a notification with the registrar within 14 days of any change of address (Section 102(2)(a) of the Companies Law, Cap 113). The service of documents delivered to a company's registered address is regulated under Section 372 of Cap 113, which states that a document may be served on a company by delivering it or sending it by post to the registered office of said company.

Documents as writ of summons

Halsbury's Laws of England (third edition) clarifies that the word 'document' includes a writ of summons, as decided under English case law.(1)

Private process server

Order 5B of the Civil Procedure Rules applies to the private service of documents. Order 5B provides that the private service of a writ of summons, an appeal, a pleading, court documents and all documents that can be ordered by the courts must be carried out by a Supreme Court-licensed private process server. A private process server is distinct from a court process server by being self-employed. The service of all court documents issued by government departments or services is excluded from Order 5B's scope.

Director's obligations

A director – as a company officer authorised to manage company business as per Regulation 80, Table A, Part I of the Companies Law Cap 113 – is a person authorised by law to receive any documents addressed to the relevant company. Further, Order 5.θ7 of the Civil Procedure Rules, which applies to the service of a writ of summons (claim form) and other court documents (as opposed to service of private documents), provides that:

"in the absence of any statutory provision regulating service of process upon a corporate body, service of an office copy of a writ of summons or other process on the president or other head officer, or on the treasurer or secretary of such body, or delivery of such copy at the office of such body, shall be deemed good service."

The applicability of Order 5.θ7 with regard to the service of a writ of summons was referred to in the Supreme Court case Holy Metropolis of Limassol v Chr Michaelides (1 AAD 43 (2002)).

In the recent Larnaca District Court decision in Clappas Trading House Ltd v Tranquil Seas Hotel, Judge Talaridou-Contopoulou upheld Section 372 of the Companies Law and Order 5 of the Civil Procedure Rules in connection with the service of a notice demand for a debt. Although the document in this case was not a court document, failure to comply with the notice would have resulted in judicial proceedings. It was therefore held that service of the document at the company's registered office, and later to the company director at said office, constituted good service. The court clarified that in determining whether a document has been properly served on a company, it is crucial to establish the company's actual notice of the document being served. In this case, it was held that the company had received notice of the document being served.

Validity of service

It was further noted that service at a company's registered office is valid even if there is no clear indication of the person at the registered office to whom the writ of summons was delivered. This information was referred to in Holy Metropolis.

For further information on this topic please contact Stella Koukounis at Solsidus Law by telephone (+357 22 007700) or email (s.koukounis@solsiduslaw.com). The Solsidus Law website can be accessed at www.solsiduslaw.com.

Endnotes

(1) Volume 6, Paragraph 275, page 131.

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