If you are thinking about setting up a company in the UK, one of the main things to consider is how your company will work legally, given that parties to your transactions may be based in numerous countries throughout the world. Cross-border transactions involving your UK company will most likely be governed by UK law, and an Agent for Service may be required or used by another company where one of the parties to the transaction does not have a physical presence in the UK. Having a basic understanding of the role of an Agent for Service, sometimes known as a process agent, will help you save time and money when dealing with cross-border transactions.
What is an Agent for Service?
In order to begin court proceedings in the UK, court papers must be served on the person who is party to the dispute. However, where the party on which you wish to serve papers does not have a physical presence in the UK, the process for serving these papers on the individual can be difficult. The papers would need to be served abroad, which can be a lengthy and often futile process. However, it is common practice for parties to a contract to insist on an Agent for Service clause, requiring parties to appoint an Agent in the UK to accept service on behalf of the individual or company with no presence in the UK. The clause will state that service of the papers on this agent will constitute proper service for the purpose of court proceedings.
Do I need an Agent for Service?
Having an Agent for Service may be a non-negotiable term for many businesses you transact with, and is a vital element of cross-border transactions. Loans, credit facilities, leasing and other types of funding may require your business to have an Agent for Service. An agent may also act in a wider capacity for the company, processing more general business documents.