Hoddinott v Persimmon Homes [2007] EWCA Civ 1203

Defendants should be aware of new principles set by the Court of Appeal, governing service of claim forms and extension of time.

Claim brought by farmers arguing land not reinstated under deed of transfer by which Defendant given right to put sewer on land. Claim form issued on 22nd May 2006 and without notice application made on 13th September (prior to expiry of 4 month time period to serve) to extend service until 22nd November. Application granted and Claimants sent copy of order and claim form, “for information purposes only”, to Defendant. On 2nd October Defendant solicitor applied to set aside ex parte order. Claim form served on 21st November and Defendant acknowledged on 28th November. District Judge’s decision to grant Defendant’s application to set aside appealed. Court of Appeal held that Defendants seeking to take a point as to service must comply with CPR 11, indicating that they want to dispute the court’s jurisdiction to try the case when acknowledging service. Thereafter, within 14 days of acknowledgment, an application must be made to dispute jurisdiction otherwise Defendant is deemed to accept the court has jurisdiction to try the case.

This rule will be applied strictly and Defendants must consider issues of service before filing an acknowledgment of service – if you want to take the point in respect of service then you must say so in the acknowledgement of service. In the above case, the court ruled that the Defendant’s application to set aside the ex parte order prior to service of proceedings was insufficient – an application under CPR 11 had to be made in addition.