•  •  Dark Mode

Your Interests & Preferences

I am a...

law firm lawyer
in-house company lawyer
litigation lawyer
law student
aspiring student

Website Look & Feel

 •  •  Dark Mode
Blog Layout

Save preferences

Fox Mandal claims invalid service in £100,000 negligence suit by Singhania, threatens costs & battle on London jurisdiction

London not calling
London not calling
Fox Mandal, through its London lawyers in the high court’s £100,000 default judgment against it, has asked the claimant to discontinue action in the UK or face paying Fox’s costs, arguing that the claimaint’s lawyers Singhania & Co did not validly serve the claim form on Fox and that the English courts have no jurisdiction.

The London high court had entered a default judgment against Fox of over £100,000 in allegedly negligent advice in a Mumbai patent application handled by Fox for the claimant Lawrence Karat and his business.

Penningtons Solicitors, which is acting for Fox, sent a letter to Singhania dated 31 July, asking Karat to “voluntarily agree to the default judgment being set aside”.

Penningtons claimed that Singhania had purported to serve Fox by “first class post or other such service which provides delivery on the next business day” at Fox’s place of business in London.

However, Penningtons argued that because Fox was a partnership, under the Civil Procedure Rules (CPR) that govern civil litigation in England and Wales, claim forms need to be served personally on a partner or manager of the partnership (CPR 6.5(3)(c)). [See full CPR rules on service]

Penningtons claimed in its letter that the default judgment was therefore “wrongly entered” and “irregular” because of invalid service, citing judgments in Credit Agricole Indosuez v Unicof Limited (2003), and Shiblaq v Sadikoglu (2004) that default judgments must be set aside if there is no proof of valid service.

Because a partnership could only be served under the CPR 6.5(3)(c), Karat would need to seek the London court’s leave to serve Fox in India because Penningtons said it was not instructed to accept service on behalf of Fox in the UK.

The letter added that Fox also intended to dispute the English high court’s jurisdiction, because the case was about an Indian patent registration carried out in India for Karat’s company registered in Hong Kong.

The case’s only connection to London, claimed Penningtons, had been a meeting there between Karat and Fox managing partner Som Mandal and former partner Ajit Mishra, who established Fox’s London office.

Penningtons asked for a response from Singhania within seven days about whether Karat would discontinue the action in England, and noted that Fox would seek to recover costs against Karat, and “if appropriate” Singhania in trying to get the order set aside.

Mandal declined to comment, referring Legally India to Penningtons litigation head and India group co-head Rustam Dubash, who said by email that he was unable to comment because of the ongoing proceedings.

Singhania did not respond to an email seeking comment and was not reachable by phone in its London office.

Photo by Moyan Brenn

Click to show 11 comments
at your own risk
By reading the comments you agree that they are the (often anonymous) personal views and opinions of readers, which may be biased and unreliable, and for which Legally India therefore has no liability. If you believe a comment is inappropriate, please click 'Report to LI' below the comment and we will review it as soon as practicable.