Friday 28 April 2017
A process server is a professional whose principal role is in the service of legal “process.” In this context, “process” refers to a wide range of documentation associated with legal proceedings. There are various functions of a process server, which we will investigate later in this article. Initially, however, we will provide a basic definition of a process server and his or her role within the legal system.
A process server is an individual who provides a service without which the litigation system in the United Kingdom would be unable to operate. In all but the most unusual of cases, it is necessary in legal proceedings for both parties to be made aware of matters such as the issuing of the proceedings themselves, the making of an application for a court order, including the date and time that the court will consider the application and the making of a court order that affects any person against whom it was made. Because the requirement of service is such an important element of most legal proceedings, it is also the responsibility of the process server to prove that the person who is served with the requisite documents is the person identified in the court proceedings and to prepare and file documentary evidence of this. Depending on the type of proceedings and the nature of the documents that have been served this evidence may take the form of either a simple statement of service or, alternatively, be sworn or attested to in what is known as an “affidavit of service.”
If you are involved in any legal proceedings, you may at some stage require the services of a process server. The most likely circumstances in which that need may arise are:
If you are taking divorce proceedings and your spouse either cannot be traced or is refusing to acknowledge receipt of the proceedings, you may need to instruct a process server. The process server will trace the respondent in the case and, if possible, effect service of the papers and then file the necessary evidence of service to enable the court to proceed with the divorce.
If you have a violent spouse or partner and wish to obtain the protection of the court through injunction proceedings, you may seek urgent protection through obtaining a court order without notice to the respondent. However, the protection given by this type of order (including a power to arrest the respondent if the order is breached) will only commence when the order is served. In this type of case a process server will be required both to urgently serve the order and prove service.
In any other proceedings where there is a need to serve a defendant or respondent with what may be a variety of court papers, including writs, summonses, petitions, applications, statements, injunctions and orders, a process server’s ability to trace, serve and prove service upon the person involved will be necessary.
Process serving is frequently part of the operations of firms of private investigators, not least because their functions are complimentary, and their skills are essential to the proper operation of the UK court system. For more information on our services contact us today.