A Bankruptcy petition was personally served by a process server at Heathrow

[Morby v (1) Gate Gourmet Luxembourg IV SARL and others] by handing it to Morby.  The process server reported that the Morby’s friend read the contents to him and he refused to accept the petition as it was incorrectly addressed and the friend then put it in a bin. The Petition was later emailed across.  Service was challenged for lack of jurisdiction and lack of effective service.

There is ample case law to confirm that all that is required is for the document to be handed to the person who served it, or if he will not accept it, that he be told what the document contains and then the document can be left with or near him.

In this case, on his own evidence, it seems clear Morby had flown into Heathrow to accept service of the Petition and on the facts it is not surprising that the Judge found that personal service had been effected on Morby even though he did not accept service of the document.

The Judge concluded that Morby had not been deprived of the opportunity to deal with the Bankruptcy petition, misled into ignoring it or unable to deal with the subsequent proceedings.

As long as the debtor is informed of the nature of the document and that the document is left with or near them then this should be sufficient to be deemed effective service.

NOTE: A claim form, following the issue of Court Proceedings, need only be served at the debtor’s last known address [s 6.9 of CPR].

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