Cabot Financial (UK) Limited against Ryan Bell

A recent decision by the Inner House of the Court of Session has clarified the requirements of formal service by post in Simple Procedure claims.

Cabot Financial (UK) Limited raised proceedings in Falkirk Sheriff Court in March 2022. A question arose as to whether a Royal Mail Track and Trace receipt was required to effect postal service in a Simple Procedure action. Cabot submitted that evidence of delivery was not an essential component of service and that rule 18.2 of the Simple Procedure Rules did not require a Track and Trace confirmation for proof of service. The Sheriff disagreed and held that such confirmation was necessary. The matter then subsequently progressed to the Sheriff Appeal Court and ultimately to the Inner House of the Court of Session.

Decision

The question before the Court was two-fold. Firstly, whether, despite no confirmation of delivery from Track and Trace, the appellants had validly served the Claim on the respondent. And secondly, whether the presumption that recorded delivery constituted valid service (as cited in section 3 of the Citation Amendment (Scotland) Act 1882 and section 26 of the Interpretation and Legislative Reform (Scotland) Act 2010) was not in contravention of rule 18.2 of the Simple Procedure Rules. The Court made reference to Rule 18.2(4) of the Simple Procedure Rules which requires a party to provide “any evidence” of serving a document. The Court ultimately allowed the appeal holding that the appellants had produced the evidence of delivery that was available to them in Form 6C and the Post Office receipt, dated and stamped. The Court also cited with approval the judgment of Sheriff Martin-Brown in Cabot Financial UK v Finnegan 2021 SLT (Sh Ct) 237 who held that a Form 6C and proof of recorded delivery were sufficient to evidence formal service “without the need for a delivery receipt.”

Advice

This case provides much needed judicial clarity on the rules of postal service. Whilst unwanted complexities have been introduced into the process, this is a welcome attempt by the Court to ensure that Simple Procedure remains “simple.” It is now clear that in Simple Procedure matters, proof of delivery is not required to evidence that formal service has been effected unless of course the party has knowledge that service has failed.

 

Blog insight provided by Jeff Jacob a Trainee in our Litigation and Insolvency team.

 

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