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Civil Procedure Rule 6.9(2) states:

Subject to paragraphs (3) to (6), the claim form must be served on the defendant at the place shown in the following table.

(For service out of the jurisdiction see rules 6.40 to 6.47.)

+-------------------------------------------------------------------------+---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------+
|                    Nature of defendant to be served                     |                                                                             Place of service                                                                              |
+-------------------------------------------------------------------------+---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------+
| 1. Individual                                                           | Usual or last known residence.                                                                                                                                            |
| 2. Individual being sued in the name of a business                      | Usual or last known residence of the individual; or principal or last known place of business.                                                                            |
| 3. Individual being sued in the business name of a partnership          | Usual or last known residence of the individual; or principal or last known place of business of the partnership.                                                         |
| 4. Limited liability partnership                                        | Principal office of the partnership; or any place of business of the partnership within the jurisdiction which has a real connection with the claim.                      |
| 5. Corporation (other than a company) incorporated in England and Wales | Principal office of the corporation; or any place within the jurisdiction where the corporation carries on its activities and which has a real connection with the claim. |
| 6. Company registered in England and Wales                              | Principal office of the company; or any place of business of the company within the jurisdiction which has a real connection with the claim.                              |
| 7. Any other company or corporation                                     | Any place within the jurisdiction where the corporation carries on its activities; or any place of business of the company within the jurisdiction.                       |
+-------------------------------------------------------------------------+---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------+

I have a few questions on this—

  1. What is #5 "Corporation (other than a company) incorporated in England and Wales"? Is not a company the sole form of corporation that exists in England and Wales?

  2. "Principal office" is not defined within the Civil Procedure Rules. Is it necessarily the registered office (of a company/LLP)? Or where a company has a head office location that is different to its registered office (which might for example be that of its accountant), might the former be the "principal office"?

  3. Where a company ceases to use a place of business, does that place immediately cease to be a "place of business" for them or would it remain a valid place of service thereafter?

Supporting citations/references much appreciated!

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  1. All companies are corporations but not all corporations are companies. For example, co-operatives are Corporations but not companies. Also, most government owned (statutory) corporations are not companies.
  2. "Principal office" is just what it says, the main (principal) office of the organisation. It may be distinct from the registered office for the reason you give among others.
  3. Assuming the organisation still exits, it will have a new Principal Office - even if that is just the office of its liquidator.
  • Ah, I see. Thank you. Re #2, it would therefore appear that service to a company's registered office could be contrary to the Rule (where it is distinct from the principal office/place of business)—this seems quite extraordinary to me; is it plausible that effective service could be denied on that basis? Also, re #3, the question was rather to confirm that service to a former place of business would indeed be ineffective irrespective of any other facts (e.g. whether the claimant is aware that such place has been vacated by the company)? – eggyal Dec 21 '18 at 8:21
  • Re the first part of my comment above, I have discovered that s1139(1) Companies Act 2006 states “A document may be served on a company registered under this Act by leaving it at, or sending it by post to, the company’s registered office”—which obviously settles that effective service cannot therefore be denied; nevertheless it is curious that such is not explicit in the Civil Procedure Rules. I’m still not certain whether a former place of business might still be effective for a claim form, however? – eggyal Jan 11 at 11:29

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