The term “process service” refers to the process of providing legal action notice to a party. Court process may need to be served on a defendant, witness, respondent or lawyer, in order to enable them to respond to the courts proceeding. Process Serving In Australia is carried out by a process server, who delivers a set of court documents to the individual being served.
In some cases, it is necessary to serve legal documents personally and attempt to obtain a signature from the individual. On many other occasions service can be effected by handing to or leaving in front of the individual to be served, or a fellow resident aged over 16 years. Some documents only require service via regular or registered post.
Whilst it may appear quite simple, this procedure can be difficult. It is best handled by an experienced and Licensed Private Investigator. A process server can encounter an evasive or aggressive individual. Often a period of surveillance or skip trace is required to effect service.
An individual CANNOT simply “refuse” to be served. If an evasive individual refuses to take a document from the hands of a Process Server, there are procedures that can be followed in order to still serve this individual. These can include the following:-
1 – leaving the documents on the ground in front of the individual and advising them they have been served.
2 – applying to the courts for a substituted service order. This may enable proper service to be effected via post or hand delivery to the front door or letterbox of their address.
3 – hand delivery to another person at the residence aged over 16 years.
4 – hand delivery to an individual at the persons place of employment who appears in charge of the workplace,
There are certain situations more recently where service of documents may be effected via email. Recently, some judges have ordered personal service to be effected by forwarding the documents by whatsapp or facebook messenger. These are rare occurrences and can only be by court order. Magistrates and Judges strongly prefer personal hand delivery of a paper copy of court documents.
If service is not effected properly, the individual can contest service and apply for any orders and costs made as a result to be overturned and paid by the plaintiff or applicant.
There is this warning however; most Process Servers will be very carefully documenting and recording service of process. This is simply for evidence sake should a serve be contested. Therefore, if contesting a service of documents, only do so if you are certain proper service has not taken place. Process Servers will attend court to give oral evidence, using their contemporaneous notes and recordings to identify you. In doing so, they will prove proper service has taken place.
It’s been reported that sometimes an individual will simply use a friend or family member to serve court documents. This is wrought with problems and dangers. Are they aware of and will they follow proper procedure? Are you putting the life and well-being of someone you know in a potentially volatile situation? Are they aware of all the reporting and affidavit requirements?
We highly recommend using the services of a professional Licensed Private Investigator to effect process service, for many reasons. Your process server will be aware of all procedures, dangers and affidavits required to effect and prove proper service. They will be experienced when dealing with an evasive or aggressive defendant or respondent.
Down Under Investigations operate Australia-wide, with a network of agents to ensure your matter is handled professionally, quickly and at a very reasonable rate. Please contact us for more information.