Extension of Time for Service of Claim Form by Agreement: A Helpful Provision for Parties in Litigation
In litigation, it is crucial for parties to comply with the rules and procedures governing the filing and service of legal documents. This includes the service of a claim form, which sets out the details of a claim and initiates legal proceedings. In some cases, however, it may not be possible to serve a claim form within the time limit prescribed by the court rules. Fortunately, there is a provision in the Civil Procedure Rules that allows parties to agree to extend the time for service of a claim form, subject to certain conditions.
The provision in question is found in Practice Direction 6A, paragraph 4.1, which states:
“Where all the parties to the proceedings agree in writing, the period for serving the claim form may be extended by up to 28 days. The agreement must be in writing and signed by all the parties.”
This provision is a helpful tool for parties in litigation, as it allows them to agree to a short extension of time for service of the claim form. This can be particularly useful in situations where there are logistical or practical difficulties in effecting service within the prescribed time limit. For example, if the defendant is based overseas or if the parties are negotiating a settlement, an extension of time may be necessary to give the parties more time to work out the details of the claim.
However, it is important to note that the provision for extension of time by agreement has some conditions attached. Firstly, all parties to the proceedings must agree to the extension in writing. This means that the agreement must be signed by all parties, including the claimant, defendant, and any other parties who may be involved in the proceedings. It is also important to ensure that the agreement is made before the expiry of the original time limit, as the court will not allow an extension after the time limit has expired.
Additionally, it is important to note that the provision for extension of time by agreement only allows for an extension of up to 28 days. If parties require a longer extension, they will need to make an application to the court for permission to extend the time for service. This can be done by filing an application notice and providing reasons why an extension beyond the 28-day period is necessary.
In conclusion, the provision for extension of time for service of a claim form by agreement is a helpful provision for parties in litigation. It provides a flexible and practical approach to dealing with situations where service within the prescribed time limit is not possible. However, parties must ensure that they comply with the conditions of the provision and seek permission from the court if a longer extension is required. By following these rules, parties can ensure that their legal proceedings are conducted in a fair and efficient manner.