Hello, and welcome to the Lafayette Process Servers LLC podcast. I’m your host Andrew sitting in for Scott, and today, I’m going to be talking about what the role of a process server is in court. The main job of a process server is to locate a party involved in a legal dispute and to serve them with papers. With respect to the court, they will also often perform duties such as filing court cases, researching various cases as a part of larger investigations, obtaining certified copies of legal documents, and even testifying about a return of service or an affidavit they had filed in relation to a legal dispute.
Let us first talk about filing documents by comparing how it is different from serving documents, because it is common for people to misinterpret one as the other. Giving your legal paperwork to the opposite party in a legal dispute is referred to as service. The goal is to make the other party aware that the legal proceedings have commenced. This gives them the opportunity to defend or contest the accusations. This is an important step since the courts will not rule on your case if your papers have not been served to the other side, as it would be unjust for the court to issue a judgement without first providing the opposing side with an opportunity to react. Process servers serve the other party involved in the legal dispute within the timeframes established by state legislation or by court rule.
Filing is delivering your legal documents to the court, which will subsequently deliver them to the judge. This enables the court to grasp your point of view. Unless filed under seal, papers submitted to the court are public documents. All legal documents filed with a court have to be thoroughly and accurately completed. A process server can file your legal documents for you, either in person or electronically, via e-filing.
ECF or electronic court filing involves submitting your legal documents, motions, procedural declarations, and briefs in PDF format to the courts. Most courts mandate that your paperwork be signed, scanned, and filed in searchable format. When papers are sent to the courts, they are only filed if they follow the state or legislation’s set of requirements. Therefore, when filing your paperwork, always ensure that they are complete and that you have signed on all of the required signature lines. If you fail to accomplish this, your papers may be rejected by the court.
Process servers can also help you with document retrieval and courthouse records research, and this applies to both attorneys and private parties involved in a legal dispute. This service is often used by either side of a legal dispute to research and retrieve documents previously filed with the court that might help them build their case in court and can also include precedents or legal decisions provided by judges while presiding over similar cases in the past.
Since this is typically a time-consuming process that requires a lot of effort and diligence, both attorneys and private parties alike employ the services of process serves. This can also greatly help people looking to purchase a property by providing them with all the documents required for them to make an informed decision. The records required are usually available in the jurisdiction where the decision was issued. Certified records are preferred if a copy is needed, since they assure the client that the copy is accurate, genuine and was obtained by adhering to the required legal processes.
Since there is no set if rules or regulations on how these records should be maintained, the process of acquiring them can vary greatly depending on the jurisdiction. The level of security and clearance needed to access these documents might also vary, depending on the type of document required and whether a photocopy is required as well. Typically, accessing any legal records from the courts requires certification by the public official under whose authority this document has been filed. Records that can be obtained from a court by a process server include, but are not limited to, marriage records, bankruptcy filings, court motions, criminal records, judgements, police reports and proof of service affidavits.
The next service that a process server performs in a court is the filing of an affidavit of service. The Affidavit of Service, which sometimes referred to as proof of service, is a sworn testimony signed by the process server. It facilitates the transmission of case-related documents to one or more parties in a judicial proceeding. It attests to the delivery of a notice, summons, writ, or process. It must also provide a summary of the time, manner, and mode of delivery. It gives a thorough explanation of how legal process was served on a specific party in a legal case. The affidavit contains details on the time, date, mode of service, and identity of the individual served.
After serving legal papers, the process server must prepare evidence of service to be submitted with the local court to demonstrate that appropriate service of process was completed. The legal procedure may be contested and dismissed for improper serving of process if the proof of service is not submitted with the county. If a server is unable to serve the party involved, he or she must nonetheless provide a signed statement saying that he or she made a good faith effort to serve the designated party and provide specific details about such efforts. This document must be prepared diligently with all relevant rules and regulations in mind, so it can be used as evidence during a court hearing, should the need ever arise.
Furthermore, a process server might also be called to testify in court if the party’s legal team wants the process server to defend their affidavits of service. Thus, if the correct serving of process is challenged in court, the affidavit of non-service can be used to demonstrate that an attempt was made in good faith to contact the party. This is particularly vital in cases where the party might have tried to avoid or evade being served. For instance, their defense attorneys might argue that the process server used unjust means to serve the party or served papers to the wrong address or even that they served papers to the wrong person. The process server would then have to provide a detailed account of how they made contact with the party in question and provide a thorough documentation of service. The testimony itself would often be based on materials that are submitted to the court as evidence, and these documents need to comply with all the regulations and requirements of the particular court or legislation to be deemed admissible in court. They would also often have to recount all the attempts they made to serve the party in question, regardless of whether or not they were successful. This is done to provide the court with a complete picture of the situation, so any judgements made based on the testimony of the process server is just and fair to both parties.
If a server makes false or fraudulent representations about service, he or she may face criminal charges, such as forgery of court papers. This would greatly tarnish the reputation of the process server and considerably delay the legal proceedings. Furthermore, the aggrieved person may file a legal claim against the server. As a result, it is critical that parties involved in legal disputes hire an honest and trustworthy process server. Remember, if you are ever in need of experienced process servers, then Lafayette is your answer! Contact us at 1-866-237-2853 or send us an email inquiry at [email protected]. And that wraps up our episode for today. Thank you for listening and we’ll see you next time!
The foregoing podcast has simply been presented for informational purposes only. He or those at Lafayette Process Servers LLC are not attorneys. Laws and regulations vary among states and specific jurisdictions. If you seek further information about this topic or any other legal issues, please contact an attorney or lawyer in your local area.