Bankruptcy Petitions – Personal Service
20 July 2011

The Act of Sederunt (Sheriff Court Rules) (Miscellaneous Amendments) (No. 2) 2011 has made significant changes to the rules on service of petitions for sequestration. In particular the default method of service on a living individual will be by personal service by a Sheriff Officer. This could clearly involve a number of calls by officers of court to effect service personally with a consequent increase in costs to creditors. The situation is made more complex by the fact there is only an 8 day window to effect service of a bankruptcy petition.

Provision is made in the regulations for creditors to ask the court to allow alternative methods of service. That application can be made by crave in the petition or after the granting of the warrant by way of motion. Our recommendation to clients would be to include a crave in their petitions to allow service in terms of Rule 5.4 (1)(b), service in the hands of a resident at the defender’s dwellinghouse. We can see that the courts may have had an issue where bankruptcy petitions were deposited through the letterbox of the defender’s home but service in the hands of a resident should be sufficient to ensure that the petition is brought to the attention of the defender. The success of such a crave will of course depend on the attitudes of individual sheriffs. It may be in some courts that such applications may need to be made by motion if there is a requirement to set new dates.

The new regulations do provide specific methods of service in respect of deceased debtors, trusts, partnerships and limited liability parnerships.