What is an Acknowledgment of Service and when is it used?
An Acknowledgment of Service is a Court document. When Court proceedings are served on a Defendant the Defendant can respond to the proceedings in several ways. Where the Defendant intends to defend the proceedings but requires additional time to serve a Defence he should file with the Court an Acknowledgment of Service.
The Defendant should have received a Response Pack when the proceedings were served upon him. An Acknowledgment of Service should have been included in the Response Pack.
There are a number of versions of the Acknowledgment of Service form but the one most commonly used is known as form N9. A copy of form N9 can be obtained from the Court or found on the Court Service’s website.
How do I complete form N9?
At the top right hand side of the form the name of the Court should be stated. This will normally be the Court in which the proceedings were commenced as stated on the Claim Form.
The Claim Number should also be stated. The Claim Number can be found at the top right hand side of the Claim Form.
The names of the parties should also be stated together with their reference details, where appropriate.
If the Defendant’s full name was not stated on the Claim Form or was stated incorrectly, the Defendant should state his full name at the top left hand side of the form followed by the words “described as” and the incorrect name.
Address to which documents should be sent
The rules relating to addresses for service depend upon whether the Defendant is legally represented or not.
Where the Defendant is not legally represented
The Defendant is required to provide an address for service of documents.
If the Defendant is an individual the address for service should be the address at which the Defendant resides. If the Defendant is a company or corporation the address for service should be the address at which the Defendant carries on business.
The address must include a full postcode, unless the Court otherwise orders, and must be within the UK. If the Defendant does not reside or carry on business in the UK and is not legally represented, the Defendant must give another address for service within the UK.
Where the Defendant is legally represented
If the Defendant is legally represented and the legal representative is the one signing the form the address for service should be the legal representative’s business address. That address can be either within the UK or within another EEA state.
The address must include a full postcode, unless the Court otherwise orders.
Other contact information
Other contact information such as fax numbers and email addresses may be included and will generally be included where the Defendant is legally represented.
Responding to the Claim
The Defendant should indicate, by ticking the appropriate box, whether he intends to defend all of the claim, part of the claim or whether he intends to contest the Court’s jurisdiction.
A Defendant may contest the jurisdiction of the Court if he believes that the proceedings should have been commenced in a different country or in a different Court.
Date of birth
If the Defendant is an individual he is invited to state his date of birth.
Signing the Acknowledgment of Service
The Acknowledgment of Service must generally be signed by either the Defendant or his legal representative, if he has one.
Companies and other corporations
If the Defendant is a company or other corporation and is not legally represented, the Acknowledgment of Service should be signed by a person holding a “senior position” in the company or corporation.
If the Defendant is a registered company or corporation the Acknowledgment of Service should be signed by a director, the treasurer, the secretary, chief executive, manager or other officer of the company or corporation.
If the Defendant is not a registered company the Acknowledgment of Service should be signed by a director, the treasurer, the secretary, chief executive, manager, mayor, chairman, president, town clerk or similar officer of the corporation.
Where the Acknowledgment of Service is signed by a person holding a senior position, his position must be stated.
Where the Defendant is a partnership and is not legally represented the Acknowledgment of Service may be signed by any of the partners, or by any person authorised by any partner to sign it.
Children and Protected Parties
If the Defendant is a child or a “protected party” (a party who lacks capacity to conduct the proceedings) the Acknowledgment of Service must be signed by their “litigation friend” (a person appointed by the Court to conduct the proceedings on his behalf) or his legal representative, unless the Court otherwise orders.