In America, any person can legally sue another person for any reason, right or wrong. Deciding who is right or wrong in the case is the job of the judge and the jury. In order for the judge and the juries to be able to do their jobs, they have to make sure that the two involved parties are present to make their cases. This is where the process server comes in.
The process server is a third party who holds no interest in the case of two separate parties. The server is responsible for presenting the defending party with the court order to appear and defend themselves against the allegations of the complainant / plaintiff. It is important that the process server be an unbiased third party to avoid any conflict of interest when delivering the court documents. If it weren’t for process servers, courts would never effectively be able to administer judicial process because the defending party would never be notified of the order to appear in court. Another possible consequence of not having process servers would be that complainants would seek out the defending parties on their own, which has a much higher potential of leading to violent and / or emotional encounters.
Many states and counties regulate the process servers operating in their jurisdictions, but some jurisdictions seem to regulate more than others. In some states, all a person has to do is fill out an application and pay a small fee, while other jurisdictions require class time and examinations.
The job of the process server is similar to that of a private detective because a certain amount of investigative know how is needed to find the defending party who may be dodging the court orders to appear. Creative tactics are often needed by the process server to confront the defending party, confirm the defending party’s identity, and ensure that the defending party legally receives the paper work. “You’ve been served” has long been the identifying phrase of process servers as they deliver the court documents to the intended recipient.
The process server’s job does carry an inherent amount of risk, and many choose to arm themselves with both lethal and non-lethal forms of self defense weapons. Local jurisdictions may restrict the use of such weapons, but process servers who can legally arm generally do so because they have an uncanny ability to turn a lot of people very mad very quickly. Nobody likes to be told that they’re being taken to court, and being told by a cold hearted stranger delivering papers for money does not do much to calm down the recipient of the documents.
Process servers usually receive payment from the complainant / plaintiff or the attorney representing the complainant / plaintiff. A business conscious process server will make as many lawyer contacts as he or she can, to ensure a long list of associates who are constantly in need of someone to deliver their court related documents. The fact that private persons pay the fees of the process servers ensures that no public money is used for the service, saving the government money while supporting the mission of our nation’s courts.
The Private Process Server Program. Arizona Supreme Court.
Service Of Process. The Free Dictionary by Farlex.