What You Should Know About Serving Legal Documents

Legal documents

We live in a society that is ruled by laws. Everyone has to respect them and is responsible for their actions. When someone or a company wants their rights to be protected in a given case, they may have to serve legal documents to provide important information to the other party. This is when we use the phrase "serving legal documents." Here is what you need to know on the subject.

What Are the Legal Documents that can be served?

Legal documents are documents that affect legal rights or obligations as defined by the law. There are many documents that fit this description which includes complaints, summons, subpoenas, writs, judgments and appeals, but other court documents can also be served. We create and sign legal documents regularly in our lives. They include letters, contracts, agreements and notices. Not all of them need to be served, though. When the latter happens, it usually means that a problem needs to be resolved, either between the two parties or by getting the justice system involved.

Who Can Serve Legal Documents?

In truth, any person over the age of 18 who is not a party to the legal proceeding can serve documents to someone. But this delivery is so important that it is always better to call upon a company that offer a service of process. That is because process servers were trained to serve legal documents, which means that they know precisely the procedure. They also can prove that the delivery was made in front of the court, which is what matters most in this instance. Also, it can be a complex and dangerous job, since people who are served react quite differently from one another, with some becoming extremely aggressive. Therefore, choosing a process server company to serve legal documents is always the best solution.

How can Legal Documents be served?

Contrary to popular beliefs, legal documents don't have to be delivered personally. They can also be served by through mail or publication. However, personal delivery is the preferred method of service. The documents can either be delivered to the party himself or to his authorized representative. If someone chooses to deliver legal documents through the mail, it will have to be through certified or registered mail, which are the only ones recognized by a court of law. The only reason why publication can be used is when the party's address is not known to the other party and could not be found after various research.

What Is Proof of Delivery?

When legal documents are served, the party receiving them is unlikely to sign a receipt confirming reception. Therefore, there needs to be another way to prove that the documents were indeed delivered. To do so, the person who served the documents will have to complete an affidavit of service, which is also called a proof of service. This document explains with some details how, when and where the documents were served. Although it doesn't require the signature at the receiving end, this document must be signed by the person who served the documents in order to be utilized as a proof of delivery.

What Happens in Cases Where Documents are Not Served?

There is a good reason why legal documents have to be served. If they don't reach the person who is meant to be informed of the facts included inside them, it could completely derail the legal claim. In fact, when legal documents are not served properly, it can delay or even prevent the whole legal proceeding. When this happens, the court may order that the documents be served again in an attempt to try to move things along. When no solution is found, the court may go as far as to dismiss the case. Worse, it can even issue sanctions against the party who failed to serve the documents properly, which is something no one ever wants to happen to them, explaining why they normally use process server companies.


As we understand from the content of this article, serving legal documents is an important part of the legal process. Therefore, it requires careful attention to detail. It is important to understand the rules of service and to follow them closely to ensure that the documents are served properly, which is why professionals are the best at handling such situations.

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