Service of Process

Definition - What does Service of Process mean?

Service of process refers to the formal practice in which a person has documents from the court personally delivered to them.

Many different documents can be served during process services, e.g., writs, summonses and subpoenas. Specifically, they can include summons to appear in court, restraining orders, general court orders or other documents that are of an important legal nature.

People who are served usually include those who are being sued, those who have a warrant out for their arrest or those who are required to testify in court.

Justipedia explains Service of Process

When a person is formally sued, the way in which they become aware of their legal dispute is through being served with process. Other than filing the lawsuit, providing service to the opposing party is the first thing that must be done in order to begin a lawsuit.

Often, the documents will be delivered by a process server, who is a representative of the police department and works on behalf of the court to ensure that the documents actually reach their targets. In many instances, the plaintiff of the suit can also serve the defendant. However, sometimes people try to avoid being served if they know it’s coming. So, process servers are hired to track down the people and make sure that they are served.

When process is served, it gives the recipient clear instructions as to what they must do and the time frame in which they have to do it. Once a person has been served, they are legally obligated to obey the court orders outlined in the documents that they receive.

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