A lot of people are ill-informed about the role of process servers. At best, they have a rough idea that we deliver papers for court cases; at worst, they have to Google the term to have any idea of what it is.
This is not so surprising. Although a fundamental cog in the legal system, a lot of people won’t have had the need to enlist one, so when you do, it can be eye-opening to realise just how many types of legal documents can be served – including, perhaps, the one that concerns you.
When a process server hands over official court documents that inform the recipient of a date and time to appear in court, these papers are sometimes referred to as ‘process’. These can include:
A writ is an order given in writing by a court.
Subpoenas are a specific type of writ. They are used to inform a person that they are expected to testify.
A complaint is not all that different to its meaning in standard English. Referring to a specific claim (or complaint), it provides details of why the person who has been served is being sued, alongside other important details relating to the case.
Summonses can also be served. They are an order given to appear in court.
Other Documents That Can be Served
It is not only process that can be served, but also a wide variety of other legal documents. These include civil summons; eviction notices; orders of protection; injunctions to prohibit harassment; child support; divorce papers; civil complaints; garnishments; forcible detainer actions; collection letters; and petitions for supplemental proceedings.
As process servers, our role will often extend beyond the simple delivery of the documents listed above. It can include filing papers with a court on your behalf, or else carrying out document retrieval services. What’s more, we will sometimes be called on to locate those who do not want to be found, and where there is a document to be served, we do our very best to meet our assignment. Our number one purpose is to make sure that legal documents end up where they’re supposed to, and whether it’s a divorce petition or a subpoena, we like to get the job done.