What is a process server? This is a common question that we receive here every week. This recurring query made us really understand than most people do not know exactly what a process server truly is and what they actually do.
The goal of this article is to detail the nature of legal process service and explain in simple terms why process servers are important and what job functions they must perform on a day to day basis. This treatise also features a simple Q&A section detailing many other common questions about legal process servers and their respective answers.
What is a Process Server? / Facts
Process servers are professionals who deliver a variety of legal papers to their intended recipients. Legal process can not take place without the intended recipient actually receiving notice of the legal action occurring. This is where process servers come into the equation.
These niche investigators find the intended recipients for legal process and deliver the papers to them in person, by mail or through substitute service, thereby fulfilling the legal obligation of the issuer of the documents towards the recipient.
To put it very simply: A legal document must get to a particular person, business or organization in order for its purpose to be fulfilled. Process servers make sure the document gets to its target and then they fill out an affidavit stating the particulars of the delivery process, including the recipient’s name, address and time/date of service.
Process Server Questions and Answers
Here are some frequently asked questions about process servers:
Q: Are process servers like police?
A: No, process servers are not part of law enforcement agencies.
Q: Can a process server carry a badge?
A: In some areas, yes they can. In other areas, no, they are prohibited from carrying or displaying a shield.
Q: Does legal process actually have to touch me for service to be legitimate?
A: No. This is a myth. If the server knows you are behind a door, for example, but will not open it, posting the papers on the door is perfectly acceptable. You can not run away from a process server in order to avoid service. Simply knowing that they are trying to serve you is satisfactory in most jurisdictions for proper service.
Q: Does a process server have to pay you to accept service?
A: No. In some cases, there is a fee for accepting service, such as in the case of a subpoena. However, not all legal process entails a fee and some fees can be paid by the attorney or organization issuing the document, rather than by the server themselves.
Q: What if I ignore legal process? Can I get in trouble?
A: Yes. It is never wise to ignore any legal document. If you are not sure what to do, contact your lawyer for advice. In some cases, ignoring an ordered process can result in your arrest, or detainment, and in other cases can result in civil action, judgments or a verdict against you through due process of the law.
Final Thoughts on “What is a Process Server?”
Process servers have bad reputations as a vocation, but this is mostly unjust. The majority of process servers are vibrant and crucial parts of the legal system and should be held in respect by all.
Of course, there are some unscrupulous tactics often employed by clever servers who have particularly tough service assignments, but this is part of the job. Sometimes, a server must employ guile, or whatever works, in order to fulfill their assignment. Do not take it personally. The server has no ill intentions towards you. They just need to deliver their documents and move on to their next assignment
The best course of action if you are being targeted for process service is simply to accept the papers and say, Thank you.