A Process Server is an individual who serves (delivers) legal documents and provides evidence that the documents were served in accordance with statutory requirements and/or the requirements imposed by the Court in which a case is being heard. A good knowledge of the law and legal processes is necessary in order to ensure that documents are appropriately served.
The evidence produced after service is usually referred to as a Statement of Service and will include all relevant details, including but not limited to the date and time of service, the location of service and the confirmation of subject identity.
With legal documents that require personal service, once the individual has been handed the documents, and been made aware service is taking place, service is complete regardless of what the individual does with the documents. On occasions where subjects refuse to take the documents or attempt to return them, this will usually be deemed as ‘good service’ as long as the relevant information is accurately detailed in the Statement of Service.
Not all legal documents require personal service some can be served by inserting them through the letterbox at a confirmed address for the subject of service. In these cases the Process Server will first establish that the subject is known at the address by either speaking to the current resident (if that person is not the subject) or making enquiries with neighbours. Once it has been confirmed that the subject will receive the legal documents they are left at the address. The Process Server can provide a Statement of Service outlining details of the serve including the proof of residence obtained (if necessary).
Legal documents can be served on a company as well as an individual. When a company is to be served the Process Server will follow the relevant legal guidelines which in relation to most documents require that service takes place at the Company’s registered office. A Process Server will attend the registered office and serve the documents, taking the details of the individual who accepted service or will leave the document in a prevalent place if no director or officer of the company is available. Details will then be provided, if required, in a Statement of Service.
Process Servers can be called as witnesses in court cases to confirm details of the service and to confirm that the documents were served on the correct individual (often the defendant of a case).
A vital part of justice is the right for a party to know of legal proceedings involving them; as such Process Servers play a fundamental role ensuring the correct information is provided to the relevant parties within required timeframes.