Serving Legal Documents Correctly: Saving Your Time and Money


Serving Legal Documents Correctly: Saving Your Time and Money

Service of legal documents is tied to jurisdiction and is a crucial part of ensuring fairness and justice in legal proceedings. The purpose of the service is to inform the opposing party about the legal action being taken against them so that they have a chance to respond. This article focuses on the methods and rules for serving documents on a company under the Uniform Civil Procedure Rules (UCPR) and the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth).

1. Personal Service on a Corporation (UCRP rule 10.22)

According to the UCPR (Uniformed Civil Procedure Rules) rule 10.22, personal service of a document on a corporation is effected either by personally serving the document on a principal officer of the corporation, or by serving the document in any other lawful manner. This means that serving documents on a business doesn’t always have to be done in person.

2. Other Manners of Service 

Serving Unregistered and Registered Business (UCRP rule 10.0 and rule 10.10)

The UCPR specifies that when serving an unregistered (rule 10.9) or registered (rule 10.10) business, service may be effected by leaving it with a person who appears to be involved in the business where the business is carried out, or sending it by post to where the business is carried out.

Alternative Service Options (UCPR rule 10.6)

Parties may agree on alternative service options, such as electronic service (email) or service through a lawyer.

Service Under the Corporations Act (Section 109X)

It is important to note that the Corporations Act is only applicable to the companies registered under it. Section 109X(1)(a) of the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth) outlines three ways to serve a document on a company:

  1. Leave it at, or post it to, the company’s registered office.
  2. Personally deliver a copy of the document to a director of the company.
  3. Leave or post it to the registered liquidator or administrator if the company is insolvent.

3. Effective Service by Post

When serving documents by post, section 29(1) of the Acts Interpretation Act 1901 (Cth) clarifies that the service by post is considered effective at the time when the letter would ordinarily be delivered by post, unless proven otherwise. Additionally, section 160 of the Evidence Act 1995 (Cth) establishes a presumption that an article sent by post is received on the seventh (7th) working day after posting unless proven otherwise. This presumption was successfully rebutted in Myao Travel Pty Limited [2020] NSWSC 1219. In this case, the plaintiff provided evidence that the document had been sent via Express Post and delivered on 24 March 2020, before the presumed 7-working-day period. This evidence successfully rebutted the statutory presumption.

In conclusion, understanding the various methods and rules for serving legal documents on a company is essential for ensuring efficient and effective legal proceedings. By adhering to the provisions set forth in the UCPR and the Corporations Act, parties can save time and money while maintaining the integrity of the legal process.



This article does not give legal advice. It is intended to provide general information in summary form on legal topics, current at the time of first publication, for general information purposes only. The contents do not constitute legal advice, are not intended to be a substitute for legal advice and should not be relied upon as such. Formal legal advice should be sought in particular matters.