With holidays and weekends gracing us week by week, these brief and momentary breaks from the working week need to be taken into account when discussing legal document service.
Irrespective of whether the Notice is served by a Surveyor, a Solicitor or an Owner, the Notice’s statutory timings will be always need to be considered when waiting for response.
The leading case which helps clarify and illustrate this principal is Freetown v Assethold Ltd.
While this related to the service of a Party Wall Award, the principals apply to any Notice served under the jurisdiction of the Party Wall etc Act 1996.
Freetown v Assethold Ltd clarifies that a Notice is legally deemed as received “in the ordinary course of post”.
In my opinion, the interpretation is simple and straightforward. The Royal Mail confirms on their website that they deliver post between the days of Monday and Saturday. However, the Royal Mail also clarifies that their service will be affected by the following public holidays:
- New Year’s Day
- Good Friday
- Easter Monday
- Early May Bank Holiday
- Spring Bank Holiday
- Summer Bank Holiday
- Christmas Day
- Boxing Day
Therefore, both Sundays and also the above public holidays will need to be taken into account when diarising action in the event of non response to the Notice.
These days will need to be added to the statutory Notice period set out by the Act to ensure that the recipient has a fair and reasonable time to consider their response.
With any legal procedure, there is always going to be differences in opinions. However hopefully this won’t be one of them anymore.
When you think about it, it is a fairly simple principal to adopt. If the Notice cannot be delivered 7 days a week, why should the recipient be expected to receive the Notice 7 days a week!