|European Union regulation|
|Title||Regulation on the service in the Member States of judicial and extrajudicial documents in civil or commercial matters (service of documents), and repealing Council Regulation (EC) No 1348/2000|
|Applicability||All EU countries except Denmark|
|Made by||European Parliament and of the Council|
|Made under||Article 61(c) and Article 67(5) of the TEC|
|Journal reference||OJ L 324, 10 December 2007, p. 79–120|
|Date made||13 November 2007|
|Came into force||13 November 2008|
|European Union regulation|
|Title||Council Regulation on jurisdiction and the recognition and enforcement of judgments in civil and commercial matters|
|Applicability||All EU countries except Denmark|
|Made under||Article 61(c) and Article 67(1) TEC|
|Journal reference||OJ L 160, 30 June 2000, pp. 37–52|
|Date made||29 May 2000|
|Came into force||31 March 2001|
|Replaced by||Council Regulation (EC) No. 1393/2007|
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The Service Regulation, officially the Council Regulation (EC) No. 1393/2007 on the service in the Member States of judicial and extrajudicial documents in civil or commercial matters, is a European Union regulation in the field of judicial cooperation. It allows service of judicial documents from one member state to another without recourse to consular and diplomatic channels.
Service of process in civil cases prior to the regulation was done by either under the Hague Service Convention or by means of a letter rogatory (also called a letter of request), a formal request from a court in one country to serve process to another in which the defendant is domiciled. This formal document usually required transmission from the originating Court to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) in the state of origin, who then forwarded it, possibly through various embassies, to the MFA in the destination state. The foreign MFA would then pass the documents to the judicial authorities in that state, who would then go about the service procedures. Proof of service would then be returned via the same long winded channels.
This regulation enables a somewhat simplified route by establishing transmitting and receiving agencies in each of the member states. Some member states have a de-centralised system with many transmitting and receiving agencies, whereas others have a single centralised agency. The transmitting agency in one member state sends the judicial documents to the receiving agency who is then responsible for service. A Letter Rogatory is not necessary, as a standardised request form included in the annex to the regulation must be used. This aids the process by being widely recognised by the relevant authorities. In addition to service through the recipient member state's receiving agency or agencies, Article 14 of the regulation permits service on defendants directly by mail. Article 15 of the regulation allows for "direct service" through competent judicial officials in the member state, although some member states have opted out of that article.
The member states of the European Union originally conclude a convention amongst themselves on the serice of documents, which was signed on 26 May 1997 but never entered into force as it was ratified only by Spain. The substance of this convention was replaced by Regulation 1348/2000. The regulation applied to all the member states of the European Union with the exception of Denmark, however by virtue of a bilateral agreement the provisions of the regulation were extended to Denmark. The 2000 regulation was subsequetly replaced by the 2007 regulation. Denmark informed the Commission of its acceptance of the recast Decision.
Receiving agencies by Member State
- Austria — decentralised — all Bezirksgerichts (district courts)
- Belgium — decentralised — all huissiers de justice (bailiffs)
- Cyprus — centralised — Ministry of Justice and Public Order
- Czech Republic — decentralised — all Městský soud (district courts)
- Denmark — not subject to the regulation
- Estonia — centralised — Justiitsministeerium (Ministry of Justice)
- Finland — decentralised — all Käräjäoikeus / Tingsrätt (district courts)
- France — centralised — Chambre Nationale des Huissiers de Justice (National Association of Bailiffs)
- Germany — decentralised — all Amtsgerichts
- Greece — centralised — Ministry of Justice
- Hungary — centralised — Ministry of Justice
- Republic of Ireland — decentralised — all Circuit Courts
- Italy — centralised — the Ufficio Unico degli Ufficiali Giudiziari in Rome (Central Office of Bailiffs)
- Latvia — centralised — Latvijas Republikas Tieslietu ministrija (Ministry of Justice)
- Lithuania — centralised — Lietuvos antstolių rūmai (Chamber of Judicial Officers of Lithuania)
- Luxembourg — decentralised — all huissiers de justice
- Malta — centralised — Attorney General's office
- Netherlands — decentralised — all gerechtsdeurwaarders (bailiffs)
- Poland — decentralised — all sąd rejonowy (district courts)
- Portugal — decentralised — all tribunal da comarca (district courts)
- Slovakia — Ministerstvo spravodlivosti Slovenskej republik (Ministry of Justice)
- Slovenia — decentralised — all Okrožno sodišče (district courts)
- Spain — decentralised — all juzgados de primera instancia (courts of first instance)
- Sweden — centralised — Ministry of Justice
- United Kingdom
- England and Wales — centralised — the Senior Master
- Northern Ireland — centralised — the Master of the High Court
- Scotland — decentralised — Messengers-at-arms and Solicitors
On 9 February 2006, the European Court of Justice handed down a ruling in the case of Plumex v Young Sports NV referred to it by the Hof van Cassatie in Belgium. Plumex (a Portuguese company) had been served with Belgian court proceedings under the regulation in two methods, once through the receiving agencies in Portugal, and once by post. Plumex appealed a judgment obtained by the plaintiffs to the Hof van Beroep claiming that procedural time limits should only run from the date of service under Articles 4 to 11, and not the date of service by post which had occurred earlier.
The Hof van Beroep then dismissed Plumex's appeal, and the company subsequently appealed the decision in the Hof van Cassatie. The higher Court referred the decision as a matter of community law to the ECJ.
The ECJ's judgment was essentially that no hierarchy of methods of service existed between the different methods of service allowed under the regulation, and that the time limit must logically run from the first date of service regardless of which method has been employed.
- "REGULATION (EC) No 1393/2007 OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL of 13 November 2007 on the service in the Member States of judicial and extrajudicial documents in civil or commercial matters (service of documents), and repealing Council Regulation (EC) No 1348/2000". L (324). Official Journal of the European Union. 2007-12-10: 79. Retrieved 2019-01-05.
- "Convention drawn up on the basis of Article K.3 of the Treaty on European Union on the service of Member States of the European Union of Judicial and Extrajudicial documents in Civil and Commercial matters". Council of the European Union. Retrieved 2015-06-27.
- "Treaty data, Convention, drawn up on the basis of Article K.3 of the Treaty on European Union, on the service in the Member States of the European Union of judicial and extrajudicial documents in civil or commercial matters". Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Netherlands). Retrieved 13 April 2013.
- "Council regulation (EC) No 1348/2000 of 29 May 2000 on the service in the Member States of judicial and extrajudicial documents in civil or commercial matters". L (160). Official Journal of the European Union. 2000-06-30. Retrieved 2018-05-27.
- "Agreement between the European Community and the Kingdom of Denmark on the service of judicial and extrajudicial documents in civil or commercial matters". Council of the European Union. Retrieved 2018-05-31.
- "The European Community and Denmark further judicial cooperation in civil and commercial matters as two agreements enter into force". Retrieved 2007-11-09.
- "Agreement between the European Community and the Kingdom of Denmark on the service of judicial and extrajudicial documents in civil or commercial matters". Official Journal of the European Union. 2008-12-10. Retrieved 2018-06-01.