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Hong Kong Civil Procedure News: Reform regarding the law on substituted service – “impracticability” vs “good reason”

March 26, 2021

O’Melveny Hong Kong counsel Alvin Sin and trainee solicitor Jeremiah Lau authored the article ‘Reform regarding the law on substituted service: “impracticability” vs “good reason”’ for the March 2021 edition of Hong Kong Civil Procedure News.

The authors explain that the Rules of the High Court permit plaintiffs to apply to court to deviate from the usual methods of service, from which courts may direct alternative methods of service. While the test for an order for substituted service in Hong Kong is that it is ‘impracticable for any reason’ to effect service under the usual means, the test for alternative service in England and Wales only requires ‘good reason’ to be shown.

Sin and Lau note that by requiring proof of unsuccessful attempts at service before courts can be satisfied that impracticability exists, the current ‘impracticability’ test can exacerbate delay and costs of commencing proceedings. “Since service of originating process is the foundation of all civil litigation, and in light of the procedural difficulties that may be experienced in locating the defendant, it is worth considering whether the Hong Kong ‘impracticability’ test should be replaced with the ‘good reason’ test,” they argue.

Read the full article as it originally appeared in the March 2021 edition of Hong Kong Civil Procedure News here.

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