Order 5 Rule 1(a) of the Civil Procedure Rules provides that summons must be served on the defendant within 21 days from the date it is issued.
The time may be extended on application to court made within 15 days after the expiration of the 21 days showing the reasons for extension. The procedure for this application is by Notice of Motion.
Order 5 Rule 3(a, b &c) provides that if summons are not served within 21 days and there is no application for extension of time or when the application is dismissed without notice, the suit shall be dismissed without notice.
A defendant who receives summons is required to file a defense either in person through a recognized agent or through an advocate who has been duly instructed to represent that person.
Service shall be by delivering and tendering a duplicate copy thereof signed by the judge or such officer on his behalf.
The requirement that a duplicate copy be delivered or tendered is mandatory and if not complied with, service is bad.
Every summons shall be accompanied by a copy of the plaint, brief summary of evidence, list of witnesses ,list of documents to be relied on at the trial and list of authorities.
Order 5 rule 11 provides that service must be effected on the person upon whom the summonses are directed unless he has an authorized agent.
Summons may be delivered for service to any person for the time being duly authorized by court.
Order 3 enlists these persons to include; persons holding powers of attorney for an individual ie who are expressly authorized in regard to litigation i.e court registrars, clerks, advocate, advocates, advocate clerks on approval by court to effect service.
Where a defendant cannot be found after proper search for that defendant has been done or where the defendant is acting in a manner intended to frustrate the process, order 5 allows for one to apply for and effect service using means other than personal service.
Some of the common forms of substituted service include advertising in newspapers of wide circulation, putting summons in a conspicuous place at court or the house/residence or where the defendant is last known to have resided/carried out business.
Service outside Uganda may be allowed where the subject matter relates to something within the jurisdiction or where the relief is sought against some body outside the jurisdiction or where the breach complained of occurred but affects a matter within the jurisdiction.
Service outside Uganda involves service on the ministry of foreign affairs. This is through an application which must show that the complainant has a good cause of action and that the defendant resides outside Uganda.
That process involves communication between the chief justice and the minister of foreign affairs to whom the summons are forwarded. The minister then forwards them to the counterpart ministry of the foreign country which then assists to effect the service and the evidence is brought back to court.
Service on partnerships is effected by serving one of the known partners or by service at the principal place where the partnership carries out its business or on the person managing that partnership or as the court may direct.
However, it must be shown that the other partners were made aware of the summons by other partner.
Service on government is done through the Attorney General while service on the local government is done on the chief administrative officer.
Service on the municipal council is done on the town clerk while service on a scheduled corporation is done on the secretary of that corporation.
Once summons are served, they are to be complied with by doing what is required by them.
When summons have been served effectively the court is advised by way of affidavit of service.
The process server under oath provides evidence to the court that effective service was done by attaching a copy of the summons which should have evidence that the respondent or the defendant received them.
This can be illustrated in the following cases
Elias Waziri &2 others V Opportunity Bank(u) ltd HCMA No.599/2013
Jessy technical services V Ajay Industrial Corporation HCMA 2013
Frederick James Junju & another V Madhivani Group Ltd. HCMA No.688/2015.