One of the most awkward serves we are instructed with are for clients who have not used our services before, and come to us frustrated with the service they are getting from their usual firm. In most cases, another firm of process servers have served a Statutory Demand by letterbox, and are now unable to serve the Petition as they cannot get in touch with the debtor. Clients come to us frustrated that the paperwork has not been served, wanting us to do it instead.
When ASH serve any paperwork, we ensure that our enquiries are thorough – if we confirm residency using a neighbour, we make reference as to which neighbour it was who confirmed. Then, when future paperwork comes out for the same debtor, and enquiries at the service address are proving unsuccessful, we know exactly which neighbour to go to.
Unfortunately a lot of other firms do not do the same, and their report merely states ‘residency confirmed with neighbours’. They serve the Statutory Demand based on this flimsy confirmation, and lo and behold, when the bankruptcy petition comes out, no-one can confirm residency.
Last week we were instructed to serve a Bankruptcy Petition, whereby a previous firm of process servers had served the Statutory Demand, by letterbox, with the proof of service merely stating residency confirmed ‘with neighbours’. Our process servers have attended the address and made enquiries which suggest the debtor does not, and never has, lived at the address. This places our client in a very awkward situation – if our enquiries suggest he has never been there, then the authenticity of service of the Demand is brought into question, and as we have no idea who the other process serving firm confirmed residency with (if indeed they actually did), there is no way to double check the information they obtained.
The moral of the story – always ensure your process server is keeping accurate and concise records. It is not enough to simply say ‘Yes, I confirmed residency’ – they should be keeping proper records if you want to avoid potential issues in the future!