The Fore Street Warehouse Company Ltd v Durrant and Co: 1883

A writ had been served on the lunatic defendant’s business manager. The Court Rules provided: ‘When a lunatic or person of unsound mind not so found by inquisition is a defendant to the action, service on the committee of the lunatic, or on the person with whom the person of unsound mind resides or under whose care he or she is, shall unless the Court or Judge otherwise orders, be deemed good service on such defendant.’
Held: Judgment was set aside because the writ had been served at a time when the defendant was of unsound mind.
Grove J said: ‘I think the principle of this rule is that the service should be on some person qualified to act for the lunatic or most likely to know to whom the fact of service ought to be communicated. The manager of the lunatic’s business might be ignorant of these matters. Where the writ is served in such a manner that it may probably never reach the lunatic, I do not think it can be valid and proper service. The plaintiffs may reasonably be required to go through the formalities which may give the friends of the lunatic a proper opportunity of appearing.’
He also considered the actions of the defendant’s solicitors, saying: ‘As for the objection that the solicitors are not qualified to appear for the lunatic, there is no doubt that they were authorized to act when she was first taken ill, and I think that the retainer would extend to enable them to take such steps as became necessary in consequence of her lunacy.’


Grove J


(1883) 10 QBD 471


Supreme Court of Judicature Act 1873


England and Wales

Cited by:

CitedBlankley v Central Manchester and Manchester Children’s University Hospitals NHS Trust CA 27-Jan-2015
This case concerns a claimant with fluctuating capacity to conduct legal proceedings. At a time when she had capacity, she retained a firm of solicitors under a conditional fee agreement. The issue was whether the CFA terminated automatically by . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Health, Agency, Litigation Practice, Legal Professions

Updated: 08 May 2022; Ref: scu.542245