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Process Serving

The law of process serving is part of a wider body of law called Civil Procedure. Although a process server does not need to be qualified in any way, it is vital that they understand what is required of them because if they mis-step in any way a mistrial can be declared.

The chapter on process serving is under construction!

Introduction

Process serving is the delivery of court documents - usually directly in person - to a party named in the documents as the intended recipient. The process server must follow certain rules as to how this is done, and must fulfil the specific requirements set out by the court and the issuing lawyer(s).

Nature and Expectations of the Role

The advice in this website should never be taken as complete. Reading the relevant rules in legislation is necessary to ensure that service is effected correctly. Although certification and licensing is unnecessary for the role of process server, the rules governing the manner of service are complex in some ways. Any person whose perception of this occupation is in any way influenced by video entertainment depictions is advised strongly to re-think. On basic principle, the service of documents is a serious function and if any rule of civil procedure is breached, it provides your client’s counter-party with grounds to argue a breach of procedure, and hence to have a mistrial declared. In short, by doing your job incorrectly, you provide ammunition to your client’s opponent. Each court has its own legislation and slightly different rules, so care is needed every time. This author would suggest that a certificate course is needed as a entry-level requirement. 

 

Before commencing with the service of documents, it is advised that the process server should familiarise themselves with the legislation currently in force to govern the manner in which they are to perform their role, as applicable to the specific court involved. If the process server is not fully familiar with the requirements of that specific court’s rules, then they would find it helpful to formulate a written plan of action based on those rules and the specific requirements they have been given by their client and/or by the court's explicit directions.

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