Who is a process agent?
A process agent, also known as a service agent, agent for service of process, registered agent, registered agent for service of process or resident agent, is a business which accepts service of notices, proceedings or documents on behalf of its overseas clients in situations where, usually because of contractual obligations, it is not possible for them to be served abroad.
When is the service of a process agent required?
The role of a process agent is vital for many overseas businesses dealing with suppliers or tenders in the UK. A typical situation requiring the appointment of a process agent is where an overseas entity raises a loan from a UK financial institution. The lending bank will require the appointment of a UK based process agent to receive formal notices should the borrower default on the loan.
A process agent can also act in a broader capacity for the appointing company, including acting as a process agent for receiving documents in connection with arbitration proceedings and receiving notices under contracts where an independent party is needed.
What criteria should be taken into consideration when appointing a process agent?
Often agreements which require a process agent are long-term arrangements. The appointors should assess the competency and reliability of available process agencies in terms of their market presence, level of risk involved (i.e. probability of the provider staying in business), experience in providing the service as well as their efficiency in responding to customer enquiries and evidence of delivering a high quality service, such as ISO accreditations.
By doing so, the appointor can ensure that it complies with all its contractual obligations, and that its interests are being represented in the UK to a high standard.