Frequently asked questions
If you have questions regarding Process Serving, check out some of these frequently asked questions. Still unsure, please feel free to reach out to us. We are always happy to assist!
What is Process Serving?
While sometimes this is also referred to as service of process, process serving is simply the term used when a party of a court case or lawsuit delivers notice to a defendant or respondent advising them that there is a legal action against them. The process, while being performed by another party, allows that individual to exercise jurisdiction over the defendant or other party and requires the other party to respond in court to the action against them.
Who is a Process Server?
A Process Server is an individual, firm, court official or legal officer who is qualified to serve court documents upon individuals or entities drawn in a legal court case. They carry out the task of serving court papers within the legal jurisdictions of the person being served and provide documentation that the service has been performed. This documentation is often referred to as an Affidavit of Services. They also file the court papers with the court house.
How Much does it Cost to hire a Process Server?
Depending on the service being performed, there may be different rates. Rush services are normally more than regular service because of the expedited nature. And Same Day Service are more because they will be completed even more quickly. Travel outside of certain defined areas, postage, courier charges, etc. may result in additional charges. If there is investigation work required in locating the individual, this will also usually come at an additional cost. Some services are very straightforward and others are somewhat more difficult.
How does a Process Server find someone?
Quite often Process Servers are also Private Investigators, legally licensed to investigate persons. The Process Server will need to be able to think outside the box, when trying to locate an evasive person or party. They often use skip tracing data bases to help locate an individual. This includes public data, government data, and skip tracing data bases. They will need to know the full identity of the individual, including name, date of birth, last known address, employment, etc. They may also need to know the Social Insurance Number, license plate number, and past addresses. And even relatives. The more information that a Process Server has available, the more likely the service will be done quickly and effectively.
What is a Process Server Notice?
The Process Server Notice is the actual legal document issued by the court. It can be a summons, writ, complaint, or similar document. It serves the purpose of outlining the legal action against them and how they are to respond.
How many attempts can a Process Server make to deliver a notice?
In Alberta, a Process Server can attempt to serve legal documents on a defendant or respondent 3 times within 10 days. This can be performed at any location or any day of the week.
What happens if a Process Server cannot locate a person?
After all attempts to serve the documents have been attempted and are still unsuccessful, a substituted or alternative service may be approved by the courts. This means that you may pursue any means to contact the individual whether that be by mail, email, social media, or newspaper. The court will advise what additional means will be allowed. If someone is purposefully avoiding being served, you can also take legal action against them for that. Regardless of whether or not a service is successful, the court case will continue.
What can a Process Server do within the law?
There are laws pertaining to the service of process depending on where the service is performed. But the Process Server is empowered to perform this task in person to the party named on the legal documents. That can be face to face or in some circumstances sub-serving the documents to individuals in the same household or business. Anyone receiving a sub-service must be of 18 years of age. If an individual refuses to take the documents, they can be left beside them or within their reach.
Can a person avoid being served?
Yes, a person can avoid being served. But that does not make the legal action stop. Just because a Process Server has exhausted the number of attempts does not mean that the court case will be held up. In fact, the court simply moves onto the next stage. The court requires that the defendant or respondent must have been attempted to be served. It does not stop or dismiss a case if the attempts have been unsuccessful. The best thing for anyone who has a case against them is to accept the service so that they can be aware of what is required of them. Their involvement does not simply go away.
Can you tell a Process Server to leave your property?
You can ask anyone to leave your property by law. That includes a Process Server. But if they are there to serve court documents, it is in your best interest to comply with the service. Remember, the Process Server is simply performing a task that is required by the courts. They are not involved in the case nor do they have details or opinions about the case. Failure to allow them to serve you can damage your case when it is taken to court.
Can you refuse to accept legal documents being served to you?
Technically, no. If you refuse to take the documents physically from the Process Server, the documents can be put down beside you or at your feet. They can be “served” on you without actually being placed directly into your possession. If you are being served documents, the best option for you is to simply comply. It serves you no good to be resistant or defiant.
Can your Lawyer perform the Process Serving?
Your lawyer may be able to do so, legally but this is probably not the best option for you or them. As your lawyer may be representing you in the legal case, this could disqualify him before the courts. As he would need to act as “witness” to the Process Serving. This could be seen as a conflict.