Court rules that service of claim form by claims consultant is valid service

The claim form in this case had been served by a claims consultant, who was acting for the claimant, a litigant in person. The defendant argued that the claim form had not been properly served because the claims consultant, an unregistered barrister, was not permitted to carry out reserved legal activities under the Legal Services Act 2007. Under the Act, a "reserved legal activity" means the conduct of litigation, which includes the "prosecution" of proceedings.

Coulson J accepted that the prosecution of proceedings would encompass the service of the claim form. However, he went on to find that the claim form had been validly served.

The judge noted that claim forms are regularly served by process servers, but this does not give rise to the issue of reserved legal activities because the process servers are engaged by solicitors to carry out this particular task. In this case, though, no solicitors were acting and the claimant was a litigant in person. However, the litigant in person is permitted to serve the claim form, as he is the claimant in this case and he is also entitled to delegate that task to an agent: "It would be nonsensical to conclude that, whilst a solicitor can delegate the carrying out of this task to a third party, a litigant in person cannot do so".