Legal Counsel and support is also a fundamental right in almost all of the democratic countries of the world. Out of all the rights facilitated to the people, one of them is the right to be informed. This is where the process servers come in. The process servers are a part of one of the most influential and ethical procedures on this Earth, and that is Justice.
With time, the manner of serving the defendants or any other party to a lawsuit has changed. Process serving as a job is easier said than done, the representatives face various challenges in executing their jobs in a manner as devised by the constitution.
Challenges Process Servers face
These are the 10 challenges faced by the Process Servers:
Complex Laws and Regulations
In several States, the due process now involves a process server to record the serving process, require them to have GPS service, fill in several affidavits, and give a proof of their service. All these regulations further complicate their duties and discourage them to follow the due process. Also, these laws are different for different States, the rules in New York are a bit different than Texas and the same is different for Washington.
There is a kind of fear engraved in the people that being served will lead to unwanted consequences. Due to this, people deny getting served and, even turn to assault the server at first chance they get. Sometimes people are not in a state to take on more problems and lash out on the first person who brings in more problems.
In some cases, the assaults are life-threatening and that is why some states have made an assault on the process servers a felony.
Just as the laws and regulations around the process serving change, the manner to execute this whole exercise is also evolving. And the process servers who fail to acknowledge this evolution are left behind and have to leave the job for the lack of its understanding. Although the new changes are implemented gradually in all the states, it can be overwhelming for some.
Difficulties with the Sheriff’s Office
There have been instances in the States of Georgia and North Carolina, where the Sheriff’s office does not want to include the process servers into this whole exercise. In a few states, all the legal documents but a subpoena has to pass through the Sheriff’s office. And this creates problems for the process servers who are often at their mercy to perform their duties.
Physical handover of the notice
The States where it is not legal to forward a server notice via email, the process servers have to go and handover the subject party physically. And this alone becomes a challenge for the representatives due to a lot of reasons. Physical handover means they will first have to find the person, no matter where they are staying currently. Or this also gives the served party a motive to assault the process server and never accept the notice.
Inability to find the party to the lawsuit
Sometimes locating a person is akin to finding a needle in the haystack. A process server may have to travel hundreds of miles just to serve a notice. This causes various other problems, like if the person or party is residing in another State then they have to know the rules and regulations of that state associated with this exercise. This also involves them doing extensive amounts of research.
This is also a common challenge that process servers face where the people refuse to accept the notice. There are however procedures like drop-service or substitute service. But all the procedures are not consistent countrywide. There are minor to major differences in the due process of every state.
If a person denies the notice or does not reveal his/her identity. In the end, it becomes a big problem for the process server to choose the right course of action as per the State. New York Process Servers have several options for dealing with persons who deny being served, including nail and mail, and/or posting in a newspaper. Check your local laws for more information.
No Fee unless notice is served
Some states have brought in a clause whereby, the process servers will not be paid their deserved fee if the notice is not served no matter the conditions. Seeing to the fact that some people deliberately deny being served, or also assault the process server brings in several other issues in their working.
In the end, a process server is working in this field to earn a livelihood that too after knowing that there is a risk of being assaulted or threatened. So that is the point of being a process server if you are not being paid.
Contractors or Employees
Law firms often hire their own Process Servers. This is because they may require some people to be present in the court for questioning with subject to a case these firms are handling for their clients. And in this scenario, they can also hire contractors. But the problem arises when the firms believe that the process servers are eating up their resources as they don’t have any other task to do.
And if they hire a contractor, there is a risk of losing prejudice in the market because of the ways adopted by the contracted process server to forward the notice. Hence, the process servers are struggling to find a balanced ground.
Feedback by the lawyers and law firms
Process serving is a results-oriented profession and if a law firm has hired a process server and did not the required results, this may provoke them to provide negative feedback even though the circumstances made it impossible for a process server to do his job. There is a big uncertainty that poses a risk to their jobs and professional integrity.
Hence, it is evident that the job of a process server is not so straightforward. There are several issues and problems faced by them in the execution of their profession. They are assaulted, have to deal with denial, are riddled with finding the right person, and whatnot. There is a consensus in the process server community that all the States in the USA should follow single legislation and provide more avenues for a process server’s protection.