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Supreme Court Seal
South Carolina
Judicial Branch

(a)Service: When Required. Unless otherwise ordered by the court because of numerous defendants or other reasons, all (1) written orders; (2) pleadings subsequent to the original summons and complaint, which includes answers, counterclaims, cross claims, replies and amended complaints; (3) written motions, other than ones which may be heard ex parte; (4) written notices; (5) discovery requests and responses; (6) appearances; (7) demands; (8) offers of judgment; (9) designations of record or case; (10) grounds or exceptions on appeal; and (11) other similar papers shall be served upon each of the parties of record. No service need be made on parties in default for failure to appear, except that pleadings asserting new or additional claims for relief against them shall be served upon them in the manner provided for serving of summons in Rule 4, and notice of any trial or hearing on unliquidated damages shall also be given to parties in default.


This Rule 5(a) is substantially the same as Federal Rule, and restates Code §§ 15-9-910 and 15-9-970 with no change in practice.

Note to 2005 Amendment:

This amendment to subsection (a) makes explicit that all major documents and papers, including, but not limited to, pleadings and amended pleadings, discovery requests and responses, motions and similar papers are to be served on every party of record. The amendment also adds the word “grounds” in subsection (a)(10).

(b)(1) Same: How Made. Whenever under these rules service is required or permitted to be made upon a party represented by an attorney the service shall be made upon the attorney unless service upon the party himself is ordered by the court. Service upon the attorney or upon a party shall be made by delivering a copy to him or by mailing it to him at his last known address or, if no address is known, by leaving it with the clerk of court. Delivery of a copy within this rule means: handing it to the attorney or to the party; or leaving it at his office with his clerk or other person in charge thereof; or, if there be no one in charge, leaving it in a conspicuous place therein; or, if the office is closed or the person to be served has no office, leaving a copy at his dwelling place or usual place of abode with some person of suitable age and discretion then residing therein. Service by mail is complete upon mailing of all pleadings and papers subsequent to service of the original summons and complaint.

(b)(2) Service on Sunday. Civil process may be served on Sundays, provided that no person may be served going to or from or attending a regularly or specially scheduled church or religious service on Sunday.


This Rule 5(b)(1) is the same as Federal Rule 5(b) and substantially restates Code §§ 15-9-920, 15-9-930, 15-9-980 and 15-9-990; with no resulting change in State practice. Rule 5(b)(2) is the same as Code § 15-9-1010, except permitting subpoenas to be served on Sunday.

Note to 2001 Amendment:

Rule 5(b)(2) is rewritten to reflect the enactment of S.C. Code Ann. § 15-9-17, 2000 S.C. Acts No. 360, which allows for the service of process on Sundays with the stated exceptions.

(b)(3) Service of Proposed Orders and Other Papers. Any party providing a proposed order, proposed findings of fact or conclusions of law, or proposed judgment or other paper to the court for its consideration in any pending matter shall serve the same on all counsel of record at the same time and by the same means.

Note to 1994 Amendment:

Rule 5(b)(3) clarifies the intent of Rule 5(a) and requires that proposed orders, findings of fact and conclusions of law and other materials provided to the court are to be served on all counsel of record. The material is to be provided to all other counsel at the same time and by the same means as they are provided to the court. Thus opposing counsel will have the opportunity to review and comment on the proposed order before it is signed. The rule does not require the court to delay entering any proposed order.

(c) Same: Numerous Defendants. In any action in which there are unusually large numbers of defendants, the court, upon motion or of its own initiative, may order that service of the pleadings of the defendants and replies thereto need not be made as between the defendants and that any cross-claim, counterclaim, or matter constituting an avoidance or affirmative defense contained therein shall be deemed to be denied or avoided by all other parties and that the filing of any such pleadings and service thereof upon the plaintiff constitutes due notice of it to the parties. A copy of every such order shall be served upon the parties in such manner and form as the court directs.


This Rule 5(c) is the same as the Federal Rule. It has no parallel in State practice, but is a needed addition.

(d) Filing. All papers required to be served upon a party except as provided in Rule 26(g)(1), shall be filed with the court within five (5) days after service thereof. The summons and complaint shall be filed before service. Proof of service shall be filed within ten (10) days after service of the summons and complaint. Upon failure to serve the summons and complaint, the action may be dismissed by the court on the court's own initiative or upon application of any party. Upon failure of a party to file other pleadings, motions, or papers, the court may permit filing or proceed as though the same had not been served.


This Rule 5(d) encompasses present Circuit Rule 68 and former Rule 75, as well as Code § 15-9-1000. It is a more concise statement, and provides more specific sanctions in the court's discretion.

Note to 1993 Amendment:

Rule 5(d) was amended to add language permitting the court to dismiss an action on its own initiative if it has been filed but not served upon the defendant. The prior rule required a motion by a party.

(e) Filing With the Court Defined. The filing of pleadings and other papers with the court as required by these rules shall be made by filing them with the clerk of the court, except that the judge may permit the papers to be filed with him, in which event he shall note thereon the filing date and forthwith transmit them to the office of the clerk. Upon any trial or hearing, the clerk shall furnish the original record in the action to the judge, who shall return same to the clerk immediately upon completion of such trial or hearing. Copies of the record may be furnished instead of the original by permission of the judge. Upon change of venue the original record shall be transferred to the clerk of court to which the action is transferred.


This Rule 5(e) is the same as the Federal Rule. It restates and clarifies present Circuit Rules 32 and 67.

Last amended by order dated April 27, 2005