What does a process server do?

The process server is a small but fundamental cog in the often complex mechanism of due legal process.

Responsible for delivering court summonses, subpoenas and other legal documents to respondents or witnesses in legal cases, it is the process server’s responsibility to make sure court orders are safely delivered and the wishes of the court fully understood.

In addition to delivering the documents, the process server also makes a statement of service which can be entered as evidence to show the respondent is aware of their obligations under law.

The ideal process server should be tenacious and dogged enough to make sure documents find the right recipient. It’s also important that they are empathic and a naturally good communicator, able to diffuse tense situations and explain legal terms without causing undue confusion or alarm.

It is crucial that such documents are served by a professional individual who remains entirely independent from the legal proceedings. Failure to serve legal documents in strict accordance with legislation could have dire consequences, even causing the complete collapse of an otherwise robust legal case.

For most process servers, there’s no such thing as a typical day’s work. However, day-to-day duties could include:

  • Taking detailed instructions from solicitors and liaising with them throughout
  • Locating a respondent or witness and confirming their identity
  • Handing papers to a respondent or witness
  • Ensuring a witness fully understands their obligations
  • Collating detailed reports of service
  • Giving evidence in court if necessary