“I gave a letter to the postman, he put it in his sack, bright and early next morning, he brought my letter back. She wrote upon it: Return to sender, address unknown. No such number, no such zone.” So sang Elvis Presley. But it’s not so easy for recipients of legal proceedings to get off so lightly after a falling out. For companies, directors and anyone else served with legal proceedings at their last known address, there is a procedure available whereby the court can permit service by an alternative method or at an alternative place if the documents are returned to sender unanswered.
If you’re a director of an English company resident abroad and you give an address outside the jurisdiction, then usually permission to serve a claim form on you outside the jurisdiction must be obtained from the court before you can be served with legal proceedings. However, if you’re a company director (or secretary), did you know you can be served with legal proceedings in England and Wales without the court’s permission, even if you no longer live here, if you’ve not kept your registered address details up to date.
So, in the recent case* covered on our Talking Business blog, even though an individual had moved to the UAE in 2011, because he had not updated his registered address details at Companies House he was validly served at his old address in England (under Section 1140(1) CA2006).
Going forward, company directors and secretaries need to check that registered addresses are up to date. For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
*Key Homes Bradford Ltd and ors -v- Patel