The role that process agents play in cross-border financial transactions can sometimes be misunderstood. So, in a nutshell, what is a process agency, or process agent, and what else does your organisation need to know about them?

What are process agent services?

The short answer to the question of what a process agency is, is that it is a local agent or agency in the UK where the client (based overseas) doesn’t have a presence, but is nonetheless entering into a legal agreement that would render it subject to UK jurisdiction.

The idea is that the process agent acts as an appointed representative of the client, to accept service on behalf of the foreign client, with court or arbitration papers able to be served upon them, as might be required from time to time in relation to international finance transactions.

Process agent services therefore typically include the process agent accepting service of notices, proceedings, or documents on their overseas client’s behalf. Process agents come into play in situations where – perhaps due to contractual obligations – the given documents, notices, or proceedings cannot be served abroad.

Why do you need a process agent?

You might look to process agents when you are involved in an international transaction concluded under UK jurisdiction, in which one or more of the participating parties lacks a physical presence or address within the UK.

For example, if you are an organisation from outside the UK that wishes to raise a loan from a UK institution, you will be expected to appoint an English process agent, so that court proceedings can be delivered to this agent in the hopefully unlikely event of your organisation defaulting on the loan.

Is a process agent required under English law?

English law doesn’t in itself demand that your organisation appoints a UK process agent for a given international transaction; however, the other party (this often being the lender) is likely to have made the appointment by you of a UK process agent a condition of your agreement.

Serving the papers on the designated UK process agent assures the court that the legal action can proceed and reassures the counter-party that they will be able to more easily enforce the terms of the legal agreement instead of having to go through the otherwise complicated and longwinded process of trying to validly serve papers abroad.

Who can act as a process agent? 

Both individuals and organisations can be appointed as process agents, with the responsibility of receiving, accepting, and acknowledging service of process on another party’s behalf. This includes ongoing acceptance of service and court papers in the event of more protracted disputes between the parties to a given agreement.

Here at London Registrars, we enjoy a strong reputation as comprehensive and competitively priced process agents. We can act with speed and efficiency, even perhaps setting up and concluding your agreement on the same day we receive your instructions and remittance.

To learn more about what process agents can do in support of the trouble-free operation of your own organisation, please don’t wait any longer to call or email us today. We can provide further insights into the process agent’s role, so that you can be sure of only choosing the right such agency for you. And keep an eye out on the London Registrars blog for our second-part piece on the key things people need to know about process agencies.

September 2022