Who Is A Process Server and When Do You Need to Hire One?

What does a process server do?

The two ways in which legal documents are served include personal and ordinary service. Personal service in when court documents are served by a person, while ordinary service is when court documents are served by mail, fax or email. The person who serves legal documents to individuals or businesses is called a process server. The process server is not only responsible for serving court documents to defendants involved in court or legal cases but is also responsible for document recovery and court papers filing.

The legal documents they serve to defendants or individuals scheduled for court proceedings include summons, subpoenas, restraining orders, and divorce papers. While it might seem like a simple task at first glance, it is far from being easy. Process servers must be able to stay calm and impervious under any circumstance while also being persistent and patient. Knowledge about legal procedures and rules for each province is also a major part of their jobs.  

After having served the legal documents, process servers then have to submit evidence to prove that they have indeed delivered the legal papers. This evidence is called an affidavit of service. This affidavit is proof of service that has to be notarized and produced to the court representatives, investigative firms, lawyers, or to the person who contracted the service of the process server.

Why are they important?

Even the smallest mistake in the legal procedure can lead to an entire case being thrown out. Hence, process servers are necessary because they play a key role in ensuring that the due process of law is upheld and that all legal papers are served in an appropriate and highly effective manner. Unless these legal documents are served properly, it will be impossible for the court to rule on a case if the defendant were not legally made aware of it.

In addition to maintaining records to ensure that legal proceedings can occur, process servers support legal and court activities by:

1. Locating Individuals to be Served

It is the responsibility of the process server to locate the individuals involved in court cases.

  • What does this task entail?
  • It is not just about accessing public records databases to identify the defendants’ current whereabouts and contact information. Since most individuals might try to skip town to avoid process servers, the latter have to be resourceful. They will need to find innovative ways of tracking down the defendants’ new locations and also know how to approach them even if these individuals are actively trying to evade them.

2. Hand-Delivering Legal Documents

The most important task of a process server is to hand-deliver legal papers, such as summons, subpoenas, and restraining orders to individuals involved in court cases.  

  • What does this task entail?
  • The process server cannot deliver any document without first getting the verbal confirmation that the recipient is indeed the individual named in the legal document. Once the document has been remitted, the process server must then collect the individual’s signature. This will serve as proof that the document was well delivered.

3. Maintaining Delivery Records

Maintaining delivery records is a crucial part of their job as even an open and shut case can get thrown out on a technicality, such as the mishandling of information.

  • What does this task entail?
  • Process servers need to prepare reports on their deliveries, maintain accurate delivery records for all documents they handle and update their records frequently and properly. These documents may include records of signatures, which may be used by lawyers or judges.

What are the advantages of hiring a process server?

Of all the cases a law firm handles, many of them are likely not to be in its immediate area. In these cases, hiring a process server might be the best choice for both the law firm and its clients. Below is a list of reasons explaining why law firms should consider using local process servers:

1. Lower Costs

A nationwide process server will generally charge a margin for managing the serve and more for a routine service. If you hire locally for out-of-town cases, on the other hand, you will be able to save your firm and your clients hundreds of dollars.

2. Increased Efficiency

Since the papers won’t transit from one office to another, the law firm is guaranteed a faster service. Additionally, you can count on a local process server to quickly find the people in their region, even if they are trying to run away from their court summons.

3. They know the law requirements of each province

With their legal background, process servers will be familiar with the various federal law requirements in each respective province and can, hence, ensure that a court order violation does not occur.

If you don’t want to be burdened with locating the defendant and serving the documents, consider hiring a process server. As they can take on the responsibility of serving the legal documents, you will be able to concentrate on what matters most for your firm.