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16 March 2021
The civil litigation procedure in Guernsey is governed by the Royal Court Civil Rules (RCCRs) 2007.
All commercial disputes with a value over £10,000 are heard in the Royal Court; disputes with a lower value, known as 'petty debts', are dealt with in the Magistrate's Court.
To start proceedings in Guernsey, the RCCRs require that a cause be tabled before the Royal Court. The cause needs to contain a statement of the material facts on which the plaintiff intends to rely and a statement of the relief sought. This document is similar to the particulars of claim for litigation in England and Wales.
Before a cause can be tabled, the plaintiff must issue a summons. This document must state the day and time when the plaintiff intends to table the cause before the court. These hearings take place on a Friday morning at 9:30am. The summons must contain a copy of the cause and be served on the defendant by Her Majesty's Sergeant no less than two clear days before the tabling of the cause.
The plaintiff must appear in court at the stipulated time to table the cause. The defendant is required to appear either in person or by their advocate to indicate if:
If the defendant fails to appear before the court at the stipulated time and the cause has been properly served, judgment will be awarded together with interest and costs.
Alternatively, if the defendant chooses to defend the claim, it is required to table defences within 28 days (although this can be extended to a maximum of three months with the consent of both parties). If defences are not tabled within this period, a judgment in default of defences may be entered against the defendant.
The RCCRs provide that the court's permission is required to serve the cause on a defendant outside the jurisdiction of the Royal Court.
The plaintiff must apply to court for leave to serve outside the jurisdiction with affidavit evidence that demonstrates:
Once the plaintiff has obtained an act of court granting the requested permission, it must arrange for service on the defendant in accordance with the terms set out in the court order. The court order will state how long the defendant has to respond before the plaintiff may continue to pursue its case.
For further information on this topic please contact Sandie Lyne, Heidi Sandy or Tobi Oluborode at Ogier by telephone (+44 1481 721 672) or email (firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org). The Ogier website can be accessed at www.ogier.com.
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