Addresses for Filing and Serving Documents - CPR

The address at which to serve Documents on your Opponent

Your opponent has to notify you and the court office of a (physical) address at which formal documents may be delivered to them (CPR 6.23). They can only specify one physical address for service of documents at any one time but they can change that address at any time by notifying you and the court office in writing. Your opponent must give a physical address for service. They can also give an email address for service and/or a FAX number for service as well but they do not have to.

It is important to understand that the fact that your opponent (or your opponent’s solicitor if they have engaged a solicitor to conduct the litigation on their behalf) has used a particular email address when corresponding with you does not automatically mean they are notifying you that that email address is their address for service of documents. It is only if they have, at some time, actually said in writing that that email address may be used “for service of documents” or “for service” (which means the same thing) that it can be. Otherwise the email address is merely a correspondence address and, whilst it is convenient for everyone if copies of documents are sent to that email address in PDF form, sending to the email address does not, in itself, count as valid service of the document.

If you are in any doubt as to what physical address your opponent has given for service of documents, and whether your opponent has also given an email address and/or FAX number for service of documents, you can send me the court document, or correspondence, in which your opponent has provided addresses, and ask me to advise you. Store my reply in an email folder called Service for future reference. Any subsequent notification from your opponent changing their address for service should also be stored in the Service folder so that you can easily check, when the time comes for you to serve a document on your opponent, the address to use and whether service by email or FAX is valid or not. 

Note: Even if service of documents by email is not valid, it is good practice to always send a copy of the document by email as well as serving a copy by a formally valid means. This is because if by some accident you are late serving the document by a valid means of service, the fact that you sent the document by email before the deadline, even though not formally valid service, means that a court may (all other things being equal) be more likely to excuse the late formal service.  

Which Court Office to send Documents to 

It is, or course, important to file documents at the correct court office. A claim in the High Court can be transferred from one District Registry to another or to or from the Royal Courts of Justice (which includes the Rolls Building) in London.

A County Court claim will start in one County Court hearing centre but might be transferred to another hearing centre. Claims which are purely for money (i.e. claims which do not include a claim for a declaration, injunction, possession of land, or return of property) normally have to be started in the County Court Money Claims Centre but will usually be transferred later to another County Court hearing centre.

When a case is transferred to a different Court, or transferred within a Court from one district registry or hearing centre, to another, you will receive a Notice of Transfer of Proceedings, telling you the name and address of the court office it has been transferred to. It is important to keep track of which court office the case is currently with, and to file any documents which need to be filed at the correct court office, so you should store a copy of the Notice of Transfer of Proceedings in the Service folder so that you can easily check, when the time comes for you to file a document at the court office, the correct address to use.


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This page was lasted updated in January 2017          Disclaimer