Natural and legal persons involved in legal proceedings send and receive various judicial and extrajudicial documents. 'Service of documents' denotes the delivery of legal documents that notify the recipient of the commencement of litigation proceedings in which he/she is involved. In Cyprus, service of documents is regulated by Civil Procedure Rules.
Civil Procedure Rules determine the method of service accepted by the Courts. Legal documents are served by private process servers who are duly authorised by the Supreme Court to carry out service according to the provisions of the Statutes of Civil Procedure.
According to Civil Procedure Rules, service can be effected by:
- Personal service on the person concerned by a process server;
In the case of service abroad:
- By post in a double-registered envelope;
- Other means after a court decision has been issued on the matter;
Under Section 5, service of any summons or notice is made at the address for service of the person to be served. In the case an address for service has not be provided, then the service is effected at the last known or usual place of residence of the person to be served or at his/her usual place of employment.
If the person to be served is not found at his/her house or at his/her usual place of employment, then the service shall be effected by leaving an office copy1 of the writ with:
- Any member of his/her family of apparently 16 years and upwards then in his/her town or village or within the lands thereof; or
- Any person over 16 years old who is in charge of the place of his/her employment; or
- His/her master in the case of a servant living with his/her master;
In case the service is effected by leaving a copy with a person other than the person to be served, the affidavit of service must state that the person to be served was not found at his/her house or his/her usual place of employment.
Service on the person to be served may be effected at any time of the day/night, in any place and on any day of the week. This provision applies equally to the leaving of a copy with a member of his/her family or with his/her master in the case of a servant living with a master. In case the document is left with the person who is in charge of the place where the person to be served is employed, then it must be left during the business hours. In exceptional cases in which service cannot be carried out as described above, an application for substitute service may be registered at the Court.
The service of documents or the inability to serve them is recorded in a register kept by the authorised process server. Additionally, the process server confirms the service of documents in an affidavit. If service is carried out by fax, a certificate of dispatch of the document is lodged at the registry of the court.
Cross-border cooperation between the EU Member States:
According to Article 3(2) of the Treaty on the European Union, cooperation between the judicial authorities of the EU Member States is a fundamental requirement for the construction of a European area of freedom, security and justice2. Such cooperation is mandatory to ensure an efficient delivery of legal documents across the EU Member States.
The main purpose of Regulation (EC) 1393/2007 of the European Parliament and of the Council of the European Union on the service of judicial and extrajudicial documents in civil or commercial matters is to enhance the cooperation of judicial authorities between the EU Member States by ensuring effective and efficient cross-border service of documents3. The service of legal documents is an important component of every court case. Therefore, secure and fast transmission of documents is vital for the proper administration of justice, as well as, the protection of rights of the parties, in particular of defendants, in litigation proceedings.
The Regulation (EC) 1393/2007 applies in civil and commercial matters where a judicial or extrajudicial document has to be transmitted from one Member State to another for service there. The aforementioned Regulation provides for different means of transmission abroad either directly to the recipient or to the relevant authorities of the receiving State establishing the main mode of transmission including the intervention of the following three agencies:
- The transmitting agency;
- The receiving agency
- The central body;
1. Office copy: means a sealed copy or translation of any document lodged, filed or kept in, or issued out of a court registry, certified to be a true copy or translation by the registrar of that registry. Civil Procedure Rule, Section 2, http://www.cylaw.org/cpr.html , Accessed on 6th February 2017
2. Consolidated versions of the Treaty on European Union and the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union – Consolidated version of the Treaty on European Union – Protocols – Declarations annexed to the Final Act of the Intergovernmental Conference which adopted the Treaty of Lisbon, signed on 13 December 2007 – Tables of equivalences.
http://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/HTML/?uri=CELEX:12012M/TXT&from=EN , Accessed on 7th of February 2017
3. REGULATION (EC) No 1393/2007 OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL
of 13 November 2007 on the service in the Member States of judicial and extrajudicial documents in civil or commercial matters (service of documents), and repealing Council Regulation (EC) No 1348/2000
http://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/HTML/?uri=CELEX:32007R1393&from=en , Accessed on 7th of February 2017
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.