The rules on serving Claim Forms out of Jurisdiction in English Courts have recently changed upon consultations and proposals introduced by the Lord Chancellor’s Advisory Committee. The Civil Procedure (Amendment) Rules 2021 (SI 117/2021) implemented those changes which came into effect on 6 April 2021. There is now a new wording provided under CPR 6.33 (2B) which reads as follows:

  • 2B) The claimant may serve the claim form on a defendant outside the United Kingdom where, for each claim made against the defendant to be served and included in the claim form
    • (a) the court has power to determine that claim under the 2005 Hague Convention and the defendant is a party to an exclusive choice of court agreement conferring jurisdiction on that court within the meaning of Article 3 of the 2005 Hague Convention; or
    • (b)   a contract contains a term to the effect that the court shall have jurisdiction to determine that claim.

As a result of these changes, a Claim Form can be served on the Defendant out of the UK upon issue, without the requirement to make any application to the English Court, provided that the contract and/or agreement between the parties to the proceedings has a clause stating that the English Courts have jurisdiction to determine any disputes arising from the said agreement.

This is a benefit to Claimants given it saves time and costs  when proceedings are served on the Defendant. Although, the Defendant is still able to challenge the validity of the Jurisdiction clause within the agreement.

Further, provided that there is a valid jurisdiction clause covering the claim within the agreement, the changes mean that there is no requirement for a Claimant to make applications for permission to serve out on Defendants in jurisdictions outside of the European countries covered by the previous EU linked regimes, such as the Former Soviet Union, the Caribbean and European offshore jurisdictions, Middle East etc.

These changes are definitely a positive and an economically viable development for parties opting for the English Courts as the forum for any disputes to be resolved.