If you have already had reason to investigate our process agent service here at London Registrars, you may already know the basics of what a process agent does.

UK process agents are also sometimes referred to as service agents or agents for service of process. Their responsibility is to accept service of notices, proceedings or documents on behalf of their (usually) overseas clients. A process agent service can therefore be invaluable in situations where the serving of a notice cannot happen abroad, or it would be difficult to accomplish this.

In what exact situations may a process agent service be needed?

One typical example of a process agency arrangement would be where an entity based in another country enters into a loan agreement with a bank in the UK, or with the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD).

Another scenario may entail an overseas client entering into a large hire or purchase agreement with a UK supplier, where the foreign entity will be subject for a number of years to terms based on UK law and jurisdiction.

Contracts and loan agreements like this may have a clause written into them whereby the overseas entity must enter into a process agency agreement for the entirety of the loan or hire period. This would mean that in the event of the foreign entity breaching its agreed terms or falling behind with loan repayments, service of any court claim papers would be made on the process agent.

This would ensure that a correct procedure is followed for the serving of papers to start court or arbitration proceedings, in line with the Civil Procedure Rules. It would then be the process agent’s responsibility to forward the papers to their client who appointed them (‘the Appointor’).

A process agent service can deliver both time and cost benefits

When a process agent is in place for a foreign entity involved in an agreement like the above, the counterparty (often the Seller or the Lendor) knows that service of the court papers on the UK process agent constitutes proper service and allows the court proceedings to run their course, without the uncertainty, extra costs and hassle that would be involved if the court papers had to be served on the foreign entity abroad.

It is worth noting that the appointment of a process agent is strangely triangular in that the appointment primarily serves the counterparty (the Lendor or the Seller, etc) and not the Appointor (the Borrower or Purchaser) who is obliged by contract to appoint the process agent and enter into the process agency agreement (and generally bears the cost of this).

Nor are process agents of relevance only to companies

It would be easy to presume from all of the above that only companies engaged in commercial transactions would ever need to seek a process agent service.

In recent years, foreign-based individuals or couples who wish to obtain a mortgage or loan for a UK property purchase have also frequently been asked to secure a process agent’s services.

In conclusion, process agents routinely play a crucial role for both organisations and individuals that are based overseas, but looking to enter a contract or agreement with a bank, lendor or supplier in the UK, and frequently the bank, lendor or supplier asks for confirmation direct from the process agent that the process agent has indeed taken on the appointment.

If you have been told – whether as an individual or organisation – that you need to appoint a process agent, our team at London Registrars can provide assistance and guidance from your first point of contact with us, right through to the executed agreement. If you wish to contact us, please email [email protected] or call 07415 107 436.

February 2021