Understanding the Law

Serving a Personal Claim Against a Company or Organisation

It's usually fairly straightforward to serve a legal claim against an individual after the claim has been filed with the appropriate court (such as the Magistrates court). You simply hand the documents to the person in question, before filing an affidavit of service as a declaration that you have served the claim. You can even empower someone else (a family member, friend, or even a representative of the court) to file the claim on your behalf. It's different when your claim is against a company or organisation, as opposed to an individual. So how can you serve these types of claims?

Not So Simple 

It can be problematic to serve a claim to a company or organisation. It might seem to be simple enough, given the fact that the defendant will have a known physical location (the place of business), which will be accessible during business hours. So while you might assume that you can simply walk inside and hand the claim to whomever you encounter, this is not the case. For example, you might be able to hand the claim to the receptionist, and yet the receptionist might not be authorised to accept such a document on behalf of their employer.

Organisational Structure

While you could attempt to make an appointment with an authorised person to hand over the claim, there's no guarantee that such an appointment will be forthcoming. In any event, given the organisational structure of the company, it can be difficult to know just who has the authority to accept the claim. In the case of large companies, it's not even a given that an appropriate recipient will be onsite, and might be found in a different, possibly interstate location. So what are your options?

Professional Process Serving

If there is any doubt about serving the claim to the company or organisation, you should enquire with the court as to the best means of serving the claim. This will generally involve you privately arranging a process server. This means that a process server will identify just who in the company (which might be more than one person) is duly authorised to accept the claim (even they almost certainly don't want to). The process server will then deliver the necessary claim to an appropriate person at an opportune time, as soon as possible. 

Filing a claim against a company or organisation is somewhat more complex than filing a claim against an individual, which is why you may need professional assistance.