Sending formal documents - Giving an Address for Service of Documents on You

Specifying an address for delivery of documents

If you are involved in court or tribunal proceedings - whether you were responsible for commencing the proceedings or whether your opponent was - you have to give (to the court/tribunal and to your opponent) an address at which formal documents may be delivered to you. This is sometimes called your "address for service".

Generally speaking you always have to give a physical address. Normally you can, if you wish, also give an email address. If you give both a physical address and an email address your opponent and the court/tribunal can chose, whenever they send a document to you, whether to send by post (or hand deliver) or whether to send by email.
You have to include the post code in the physical address you give for service. In some courts and tribunals you can give any postal address within the United Kingdom at which you can be contacted, including a c/o address, but for most courts - including courts subject to the Civil Procedure Rules (County Court, High Court including the Property and Business Courts, and Court of Appeal) the address you give has to be your home address or, if you are self-employed, it can be the address where you carry on business. This means that when you go on holiday you will need to arrange for someone to check your post every business day and scan in and email to you - wherever you are - any documents received about the case.

Changing your address for delivery of documents

You usually give your address for service of documents on the first document you deliver in the proceedings (such as on a Claim Form or Acknowledgement of Service form). Thereafter you can change it at any time by informing the court/tribunal and your opponent in writing. Save a copy of any notification to the other side of a change of service address in case there is a query in future. It is convenient to store this in an email folder called Service - even if the notification of the change is a letter sent by post (as it will have to be if the other side does not accept service by email) you can scan it in before posting and email it to yourself and then store it an email folder called Service for easy reference. 

Use the same address for communications

If your opponent is simply sending you a communication (not formally serving a document on you) they could, unless the court/tribunal rules say otherwise, send that communication by any effective means - in theory they do not have to use the address for service which you have given but could use some other address you have if they know it - but I would recommend that you do not encourage them to do that but rather that you always use the address you have given for service of documents for all communications - i.e. head all letters with your address for service of documents so that that is the address they reply to, and, when sending emails, send them from the same email address which you have given as your email address for service of documents. Doing this will avoid a lot of potential problems. 

If you suggest to someone that they can use some different postal or email address to contact you - even if you suggest that indirectly by just putting that address on your communications - in certain circumstances it might be argued that you are notifying a change in your address for delivery of documents. To avoid any possibility of problems just use the postal and email addresses, which you have given for delivery of formal documents, for all communications and don't mention any different address for correspondence. 

Do not give my name and address for communications    

You should also take care that you do not put "copy to John Antell" on any letter, and do not cc (rather than bcc) me on any email you send, because that is also likely to cause confusion. If you had engaged solicitors, your opponent would be writing to them - and your address for delivery of documents would have been your solicitors' address. If you cc me your opponent may think they can write to me perhaps thinking that I am a solicitor, which can cause great confusion. Even if they sent a communication to you with a copy to me, that can also cause confusion. All correspondence needs to go to you only, so that you can decide whether it is a routine matter (e.g. a request for a better copy of a document already supplied) or something you wish me to advise about - such as a formal request for further particulars of an allegation - and draft a response for you to send. If I receive a copy of something sent to you before you have decided how to deal with it, there can be misunderstandings with you perhaps assuming that I am considering something when in fact I am waiting for you. So do not give my name or cc me on communications to the other side.       


This information page is designed to be used only by clients of John Antell who have entered into an agreement for the provision of legal services. The information in it is necessarily of a general nature and is intended to be used only in conjunction with specific advice to the individual client about the individual case. This information page should not be used by, or relied on, by anyone else. 

This page was lasted updated in August 2019          Disclaimer