• PART 4 PART 4 — SERVICE OF DOCUMENTS

    • 15. Methods of service

      (1) This Part applies to the service of documents except where any rule, practice direction or other ADGM enactment or a Court order requires that a document, including a claim form, must be served by any other method.
      (1a) Part 37 applies to service of a claim in the Small Claims Division and Part 38 applies to service of a claim in the Employment Division.
      Methods of service – claim form
      (2) It is the responsibility of the claimant to serve the claim form on all other parties to the proceedings.
      (3) Subject to paragraphs (4) to (8) below, a claim form may be served –
      (a) by personal service on an individual in accordance with Rule 16;
      (b) on a company, partnership or any other entity in accordance with Rule 16A;
      (c) by email or other means of electronic communication in accordance with Rule 16B;
      (d) by serving it at a place specified in Rule 17;
      (e) by any other method authorised by the Court under Rule 19;
      (f) in the case of a counterclaim, through the eCourts Platform where the person to be served has access (including through a legal representative) to the eCourts Platform; or
      (g) by any other method agreed to by the parties.
      Methods of service – outside the jurisdiction
      (4) A claim form may be served outside the jurisdiction in accordance with Rules 24 and 25.
      (5) Permission to serve a claim form outside the jurisdiction is not required, but it is the responsibility of the claimant to ensure that he complies with the rules regarding service of the place where he is seeking to effect service.
      (6) Where a claim form is to be served outside the jurisdiction, it may be served by any method permitted by an applicable treaty or convention or the law of the place in which it is to be served.
      (7) Where a claim form is to be served outside the jurisdiction, it shall be permissible for the claimant to effect service through a legal representative or a third party using a method of service prescribed under this Part, provided that the method of service is permitted in the place where he is seeking to effect service.
      (8) Nothing in these Rules or any practice direction or Court order shall authorise or require any person to do anything in the place where the claim form is to be served which is against the law of that place.
      Methods of service - other documents
      (9) Subject to Rule 15(1),
      (a) where a person to be served has access to the eCourts Platform (including through a legal representative), all documents shall be served on that person through the eCourts Platform; and
      (b) where a person to be served does not have access to the eCourts Platform (including through a legal representative), a document other than a claim form may be served on that person under this Part as if the document were a claim form.
      Amended on June 20, 2018
      Amended on November 2, 2020
      Amended on February 15, 2021

    • 16. 16. Personal service on an individual

      (1) A claim form is served personally on an individual by leaving it –
      (a) at his place of residence;
      (b) at his workplace; or
      (c) in any other location, provided the individual physically receives the document.
      Personal service on individual - place of residence
      (2) In relation to Rule 16(1)(a) −
      (a) if the individual to be served refuses to receive the document and the person serving the document:
      (i) informs the individual of the nature of the document; and
      (ii) leaves the document in the individual’s presence,
      the document is deemed to have been served on the individual at the time of the refusal;
      (b) if the individual to be served is not able to be located at his place of residence at the time of service, the server may leave the document with a person at that place provided that the person who receives the document:
      (i) is, or appears to be, over the age of 18;
      (ii) is told of the nature of the document by the server; and
      (iii) agrees to pass the document onto the individual to be served;
      (c) if:
      (i) a person refuses to receive the document under Rule 16(2)(b); or
      (ii) the server has attended the individual’s place of residence on at least two separate occasions and can find no one at the individual’s residence to whom the document validly can be left, then on the second or any subsequent occasion,
      the server may affix the document clearly on the door or gate of the residence.
      (3) For the purpose of Rules 16(2)(b) and (c), the claim form shall only be deemed to have been served on the individual when the claimant sends an email, mobile text message (SMS), or WhatsApp (or like messaging) to the individual informing them of the arrangements that have been made to serve the document, unless such contact details are not available to the claimant in which case this paragraph shall not apply.
      Personal service on individual – workplace
      (4) In relation to Rule 16(1)(b) −
      (a) if the individual to be served refuses to receive the document and the person serving the document:
      (i) informs the individual of the nature of the document; and
      (ii) leaves the document in the individual’s presence,
      the document is deemed to have been served on the individual at the time of the refusal;
      (b) if the individual to be served is not able to be located at his workplace at the time of service, the server may leave the document with a member of management or a co-worker provided that the member of management or co-worker who receives the document:
      (i) is, or appears to be, over the age of 18;
      (ii) is told of the nature of the document by the server; and
      (iii) agrees to pass the document onto the individual to be served;
      (c) if:
      (i) a member of management or a co-worker refuses to receive the document under Rule 16(4)(b); or
      (ii) the server has attended the individual’s workplace on at least two separate occasions and can find no one at the individual’s workplace with whom the document validly can be left, then on the second or any subsequent occasion,
      the server may affix the document clearly on the door or gate of the individual’s workplace.
      (5) For the purpose of Rules 16(4)(b) and (c), the claim form shall only be deemed to have been served on the individual when the claimant sends an email, mobile text message (SMS), or WhatsApp (or like messaging) to the individual informing them of the arrangements that have been made to serve the document, unless such contact details are not available to the claimant in which case this paragraph shall not apply.
      Personal service on individual – general provision
      (6) Where a claimant has reason to believe that an address of the individual to be served is an address at which that individual no longer resides or works, the claimant must take reasonable steps to ascertain the address of the individual’s current residence or workplace and to effect service there.
      Amended on November 30, 2020

      • 16A. Service on a company, partnership or any other entity

        (1) A claim form is served on a company by:
        (a) leaving it at, or sending it by post to, the company’s registered office or any place of business of the company which has a real connection with the claim; or
        (b) any other method permitted under this Part.
        (2) A claim form is served on a partnership by:
        (a) leaving it at, or sending it by post to, the partnership’s registered office or any place of business of the partnership which has a real connection with the claim; or
        (b) any other method permitted under this Part.
        (3) A claim form is served on any other entity by:
        (a) leaving it at, or sending it by post to, the entity’s registered office or any place of business of the entity which has a real connection with the claim; or
        (b) any other method permitted under this Part.

      • 16B. Service by email or other means of electronic communication

        (1) A claim form may be served electronically.
        (2) In this Rule, “notice” has the meaning ascribed to it in the relevant practice direction.
        (3) A claim form is served electronically on a person −
        (a) by email, provided that it must be shown that the email account to which the document is sent belongs to the person to be served;
        (b) by mobile text message (SMS), WhatsApp (or like messaging), provided that it must be shown that the mobile number to which the document, or notice of the document, is sent belongs to the person to be served; or
        (c) by email, mobile text message, (SMS), WhatsApp (or like messaging) to a lawyer nominated by the person to be served as authorised to accept service.
        (4) In relation to Rule 16B(3), a record or copy of the email, mobile text message (SMS), WhatsApp (or like messaging), including any confirmation of delivery or confirmation of receipt (as the case may be), must be included with the certificate of service filed pursuant to Rule 21.
        Amended on November 30, 2020

    • 17. Where to serve the claim form

      (1) The claim form must be served within the jurisdiction except where paragraphs (4) or (11) and (12) apply, or as provided by Rule 23.
      (2) In this Rule, "address" includes e-mail and other electronic addresses and "business address" is construed accordingly.

      Lawyer within the jurisdiction

      (3) Subject to Rule 16, where the defendant has given in writing the business address within ADGM of a lawyer as an address at which the defendant may be served with the claim form, or a lawyer acting for the defendant has notified the claimant in writing that the lawyer is instructed by the defendant to accept service of the claim form on behalf of the defendant at a business address within ADGM, the claim form must be served at the business address of that lawyer.

      Lawyer in the Emirate

      (4) Subject to Rules 16 and 26 and except where any other rule or relevant practice direction makes different provision, where the defendant has given in writing the business address in the Emirate of a lawyer as an address at which the defendant may be served with the claim form; or a lawyer acting for the defendant has notified the claimant in writing that the lawyer is instructed by the defendant to accept service of the claim form on behalf of the defendant at a business address within the Emirate, the claim form must be served at the business address of that lawyer.

      Where before service the defendant gives an address at which he may be served

      (5) Subject to Rules 16 and 26 and to paragraphs (3) and (4) of this Rule, and except where any other rule or relevant practice direction makes different provision, the defendant may be served with the claim form at an address at which the defendant resides or carries on business within ADGM or in the Emirate and which the defendant has given for the purpose of being served with the proceedings.

      Where the defendant does not give an address at which he may be served

      (6) Paragraphs (7) to (9) apply where Rule 16 and paragraphs (3) and (4) of this Rule do not apply and the claimant does not wish to effect personal service under Rule 16.
      (7) Subject to paragraphs (8) and (9), the claim form must be served on the defendant at the place shown in the following table.
      # Nature of defendant to be served Place of service
      1. Individual Usual or last known residence.
      2. Individual being sued in the name of a business Usual or last known residence of the individual; or

      Principal or last known place of business.
      3. Individual being sued in the business name of a partnership Usual or last known residence of the individual; or

      Principal or last known place of business of the partnership.
      4. Limited Liability Partnership Principal office of the partnership; or

      Any place of business of the partnership within ADGM which has a real connection with the claim.
      5. Corporation (other than a company) in ADGM Principal office of the corporation; or

      Any place within ADGM where the corporation carries on its activities and which has a real connection with the claim.
      6. Company registered in ADGM Principal office of the company; or

      Any place of business of the company within ADGM which has a real connection with the claim.
      7. Any other company or corporation Any place within ADGM where the company or corporation carries on its activities; or

      Any place of business of the company or the corporation within ADGM.
      (8) Where a claimant has reason to believe that the address of the defendant referred to in entries 1, 2 or 3 in the table at paragraph (7) is an address at which the defendant no longer resides or carries on business, the claimant must take reasonable steps to ascertain the address of the defendant's current residence or place of business.
      (9) Where paragraph (8) applies, the claimant may serve on the defendant's usual or last known address in accordance with the table in paragraph (7) where the claimant cannot reasonably ascertain the defendant's current residence or place of business

      Proceedings against ADGM

      (10) In proceedings against ADGM, service must be effected on the Chairman of the Board or a lawyer employed by or acting for ADGM.

      Service of the claim form by contractually agreed method

      (11) Where a contract contains a term providing that, in the event of a claim being started in relation to the contract, the claim form may be served by a method or at a place specified in the contract (including on an agent or principal) and a claim solely in respect of that contract is started, the claim form may, subject to paragraph (12), be served on the defendant by the method or at the place or on the person specified in the contract.
      (12) Where in accordance with the contract the claim form is to be served out of the jurisdiction or the Emirate, it may be served if written notice of service out of the jurisdiction or the Emirate has been given by the claimant to the Court under Rule 24; and without permission.
      Amended on June 1, 2017

    • 18. Deemed time of service

      (1) A claim form served in accordance with this Part is deemed to be served as follows –
      (a) by personal service, if served personally before 4 pm, on that day; or in any other case, on the next day after that day;
      (b) by delivering it to or leaving it at a permitted address, if it is delivered to or left at the permitted address before 4 pm, on that day; or in any other case, on the next day after that day;
      (c) by email, if the email is sent before 4 pm, on that day; or in any other case, on the next day after that day; or
      (d) by mobile text message (SMS), WhatsApp (or like messaging) on the first day after the SMS, WhatsApp (or like messaging) was sent.
      Amended on November 30, 2020

    • 19. Service of documents by an alternative method or at an alternative place

      (1) Where it appears to the Court that there is a good reason to authorise service of the claim form by a method or at a place not otherwise permitted by this Part or by a relevant practice direction, the Court may make an order permitting service by an alternative method or at an alternative place.
      (2) On an application under this Rule, the Court may order that steps already taken to bring the claim form to the defendant's attention by an alternative method or at an alternative place is good service.
      (3) An application under this Rule must be supported by evidence, and may be made without notice to the other party.
      (4) Paragraphs (1) to (3) of this Rule apply to any document in the proceedings as they apply to a claim form, and references to the defendant in those paragraphs are modified accordingly.

    • 20. Power of the Court to dispense with service

      (1) The Court may dispense with service of a claim form and any other document which is to be served in the proceedings in exceptional circumstances.
      (2) An application for an order under paragraph (1) of this Rule may be made at any time.

    • 21. Certificate of service

      (1) The claimant must file a certificate of service within 21 days of service of the claim form, unless all other parties to the proceedings have filed acknowledgments of service within that time, and may not obtain judgment in default under Rule 39 unless a certificate of service has been filed.
      (2) The certificate of service must give details of the person served, the method of service used, the date on which the claim form was served, and it must contain sufficient detail to demonstrate that service was effected in accordance with the rule relied upon.
      Amended on November 30, 2020

    • 22. Address for service to be given after proceedings are started

      (1) A party to proceedings must give an address at which that party may be served with documents relating to those proceedings. The address must include a current email address and mobile telephone number unless the Court orders otherwise.
      (2) Except where any other rule or relevant practice direction makes different provision, a party’s address for service must be –
      (a) an address of a lawyer acting for the party to be served;
      (b) an address of a lawyer nominated to accept service of documents; or
      (c) where there is no lawyer acting for the party or no lawyer nominated to accept service of documents, an address of the party.
      (3) Subject to Rules 15(1) and 15(3)(f), service of all documents, except a claim form, will be effected on all parties who have appeared in the case by the Court’s acceptance of the document and its appearance on the Court file via the ADGM eCourts Platform. Once the document appears on the Court file, all other parties to the proceedings will be notified by email or text message at the address provided for those parties under Rule 22(2). No other means of service is required of the parties, except as may be ordered otherwise by the Court.
      Amended on June 1, 2017
      Amended on November 2, 2020

    • 23. Service of the Claim Form and other Documents out of the Jurisdiction and the Emirate

      (1) The claimant may, in accordance with the relevant practice direction, serve the claim form on a defendant out of the jurisdiction and the Emirate where each claim made against the defendant to be served and included in the claim form is a claim which the Court has power to determine under —
      (a) the Regulations;
      (b) any ADGM enactment other than the Regulations; or
      (c) the ADGM Founding Law,

      notwithstanding that the person against whom the claim is made is not resident or domiciled within the jurisdiction or the facts giving rise to the claim did not occur within the jurisdiction.
      Amended on February 25, 2019

    • 24. Service of the claim form and other documents out of the Jurisdiction

      (1) The claimant may, in accordance with this Part, serve the claim form on a person out of the jurisdiction where each claim made against the person to be served and included in the claim form is a claim which the Court has power to determine under –
      (a) the Regulations;
      (b) any ADGM enactment other than the Regulations; or
      (c) the ADGM Founding Law,
      notwithstanding that the person against whom the claim is made is not resident or domiciled within the jurisdiction or the facts giving rise to the claim did not occur within the jurisdiction.
      (2) A person served outside the jurisdiction who wishes to dispute the Court’s jurisdiction to try the claim, or who wishes to argue that the Court should not exercise its jurisdiction, must do so in accordance with Rule 38. This paragraph does not apply to a claim filed in the Small Claims Division to which Part 37 applies or to a claim filed in the Employment Division to which Part 38 applies.
      Amended on June 1, 2017
      Amended on November 2, 2020
      Amended on February 15, 2021

    • 25. Notice of statement of grounds

      (1) This Rule does not apply to a claim form filed in the Small Claims Division to which Part 37 applies or to a claim form filed in the Employment Division to which Part 38 applies.
      (2) Where the claimant intends to serve a claim form on a person under Rule 24
      (a) the claimant must file with the claim form a notice containing a statement of the grounds on which the claimant is entitled to serve the claim form out of the jurisdiction and must serve a copy of that notice with the claim form; and
      (b) the claim form may only be served once the claimant files the notice referred to in Rule 25(2)(a).
      (3) The notice referred to in Rule 25(2)(a) need only be filed in respect of the claim form, and the claimant may serve any other documents in the proceedings out of the jurisdiction without such a notice.
      Amended on June 1, 2017
      Amended on November 2, 2020
      Amended on February 15, 2021

    • 26. Service of Documents from Foreign Courts or Tribunals

      (1) This Rule applies to the service in ADGM of any document in connection with civil or commercial proceedings in a foreign court or tribunal.
      (2) In this Rule —
      (a) "foreign court or tribunal" means a court or tribunal outside ADGM;
      (b) "GCC Convention" means the 1996 Gulf Cooperation Council Convention for the Execution of Judgments, Delegations and Judicial Notifications; and
      (c) "Riyadh Convention" means the 1983 Riyadh Arab Agreement for Judicial Cooperation.
      (3) The Registrar will serve a document to which this Rule applies upon receipt of a written request for service —
      (a) where the foreign court or tribunal is in a GCC Convention country, from the competent judicial authority or employee of that country;
      (b) where the foreign court or tribunal is in a Riyadh Convention country, from the judicial body or officer concerned of that country;
      (c) where the foreign court or tribunal is in any other country, from a consular or other authority of that country; or
      (d) from the Chairman of the Board, with a recommendation that service should be effected.
      (4) Unless the foreign court or tribunal certifies that the person to be served understands the language of the document to be served, the Registrar must be provided before service with two copies of a translation of it into English.
      (5) Where service of a document has been effected by a process server, the process server must send to the Registrar a copy of the document, together with proof of service or a statement why the document could not be served and, if the Registrar directs, specify the costs incurred in serving or attempting to serve the document.
      (6) The Registrar will send to the person who requested service a copy of the document together with a certificate, sealed with the seal of the ADGM Courts for use out of the jurisdiction, stating when and how the document was served or the reason why it has not been served and, where appropriate, an amount certified to be the costs of serving or attempting to serve the document.