“Negligent failure to serve a claim form in time for the purposes of CPR rr 7.5/7.6 was not in itself an abuse of process. Nevertheless, failure to serve on time had always been dealt with strictly. This was because in England, unlike most civil law jurisdictions, proceedings were commenced when issued and not when served. But it was not until service that the defendant was given proper notice of the proceedings. The additional time between issue and service was thus, in a way, an extension of the limitation period. A claimant could issue proceedings on the last day of the limitation period and still enjoy a further four-month period before service. The strictness with which the time for service was supervised thus had valid public interest underpinnings which were quite separate from the doctrine of abuse of process.”
WLR Daily, 26th October 2010
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