Our team here at London Registrars has long provided all manner of organisations that are based outside of the UK, but that are nonetheless dealing with UK-based suppliers or tenders, with the benefit of a complete process agency service.
But exactly what purposes are fulfilled by process agents, especially in England and Wales? Below, we have set out many of the essentials.
What is a process agent?
The simple way to define a process agent, is that they are a representative upon whom it is possible to serve court papers.
Process agents by no means only exist and operate in the UK. Indeed, in the United States, they are generally a legal requirement at state level, although on that side of the Atlantic, a process agent is often referred to as a registered agent, a resident agent, or a statutory agent.
Truck drivers, freight forwarders, and brokers are also known to use process agents in the US. Again, however, there are differences in terminology, with process agents that provide nationwide coverage for motor carriers tending to be called “blanket companies”.
So, what is the situation with process agents in the UK?
In the UK, the English Civil Procedure Rules make clear the importance of following the appropriate processes for serving papers in order to start proceedings.
However, difficulties can arise when one of the parties in a dispute does not have a UK address, with it potentially being a complicated and longwinded matter to attempt to serve papers. In such circumstances, it might be a challenging matter to ensure proof of service.
It is for these reasons that the Civil Procedure Rules allow for the appointment of a process agent. This entails a contractual agreement that for the purposes of Rule 6.1.1 of the Rules, service at the process agent’s address will constitute proper service.
In order for Rule 6.1.1’s requirements to be met, an appropriate contractual clause must be included in the agreement, setting out information about the appointment.
A similar process can be followed for appointing a process agent for the purposes of arbitration proceedings.
An easily overlooked role, but an utterly crucial one for many organisations
All in all, process agents play a vital role for a wide range of organisations that might need to deal with banks, suppliers, or tenders in the UK.
These professionals are able to accept service of notices, proceedings or documents on behalf of a client from outside the UK, if serving these abroad is not a feasible option.
Process agents can act in a broad capacity for the companies that appoint them – for example, by acting as a process agent for court actions, receiving documents in relation to arbitration proceedings, and receiving notices under contracts where there is a need for an independent party.
One classic example of a situation in which a process agent might be appointed, is when an organisation from outside the UK is looking to gain access to a loan from a City institution. In such circumstances, the lending bank will often expect a UK-based process agent to be appointed, so that in the event of the borrower failing to keep up with repayments on the loan, the process agent can be served formal notices in relation to this.
Are you on the lookout for the most reputable process agents for your organisation?
If you are an entity from outside of the UK that is presently comparing process agents, you may be pleased to learn about London Registrars’ formidable reputation in this regard.
To learn more about how we can be the reliable England-based company that acts as your organisation’s comprehensive and cost-effective process agent, please don’t hesitate to fill in and submit our online contact form, or to call us on 020 7608 0011.