Service of Process

Life Pharma Africa Ltd v Matovu & Anor (MISCELLANEOUS APPLICATION NO 328 OF 2016) [2017] UGCOMMC 13 (20 January 2017);


Headnote and Holding: 

The application was based on the fact that the applicant had been prevented by sufficient cause from filing a defence in a civil suit which according to the court had a meritorious defence that had a high chance of success.

The main issue was whether the default judgment issued by the lower court pursuant to failure to file a written statement of defence should be set aside.

The court reiterated that the burden is on the process server to indicate whether a principal officer or director or secretary of the corporation has been served or to indicate whether he or she was unable to establish who was being served. The serving officer, in this case, was simply quiet about who was served notwithstanding that there is a stamp of the applicant on the signature of the person served. Moreover, the provisions as to service support are a fundamental rule of justice which is that of fair trial. Fair trial includes due notice of the summons on the defendant or persons sought to be summoned to appear in court. 

The court held that due to the fundamental requirements of service of process on the secretary, director or other principal officer of the company, the default decree and judgment was set aside. The court held that civil procedure rules makes it necessary to identify the person served in the corporation sufficiently to fulfill the requirements for service on a corporation.


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