What Does Service of Process Mean?

Service of process is a legal concept. It grants one individual the authority to force another individual to comply with the orders and instructions of a proceeding in a court.

The process can be for discovery purposes, such as interrogatories or requests for production, where parties must be aware of what documents the opposing party has produced in response to an authority’s demands.

Service of process will grant the recipient notice of the proceeding, but the individual may contest it if he does not accept to be bound by court orders.

Why is Service of Process crucial?

Service of the process gives a party the ability to defend themselves in court. Due to contesting the service, parties will often require proof of service, such as copies of court documents.

Who can serve the Service of Process

Only parties to the dispute (defendant and plaintiff) can serve the process on another party. You cannot attend to someone else (such as a non-party witness) who may be involved in the dispute unless you are an agent or attorney for one of them.

How to Request Service of Process for Any Legal Action

– Locate and mark the defendant’s address.

– Complete, sign, and deliver the Order of Service to a private Process Server or Sheriff (depending on county).

– The server will contact the defendant to provide proof of service and serve attested copies of all ordered legal documents (i.e., summons, complaint).

Whether the matter is to be resolved by settlement or an evidentiary hearing, service of process is imperative to ensure that the defendant knows about the lawsuit.

The process server will issue a copy of the legal document (i.e., summons, complaint) to the defendant. They may also provide proof of service.

If the person who serves the documents (unless it is self-proving) provides proof of service, there’s no need for attested copies.

Attested copies are notarized copies.

How to Deliver Service of Process

There are two ways to serve the process. Either by delivering it to the person directly or by leaving it at his house with a competent family member.

Other persons may affect the service. An example, by leaving the document at the person’s residence where there is no direct delivery.

There should be an official “notice” requesting the trustworthy family member to inform the plaintiff within 15 days.

Service on individuals (except minors) must be made at least one day before the commencement of the hearing; otherwise, the court may order re-service.

Final Words

Process servers have been present at the birth of many lawsuits. Many cases here from centuries ago were carried into court by a local official or constable.

In the United States, process servers have a close link to the criminal justice system. The marshals who served writs were replaced by professional bailiffs in some states, while other states retained their process server system.

In the federal government, all processes begin with a writ issued by a Clerk of Court or Deputy Clerk and end at the addressee’s doorway via hand delivery from the U.S.