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Process Serving - Frequently Asked Questions

What is a process server?

A process server is a person who serves (delivers) court documents upon an opposing party (e.g., a defendant or an individual involved in a court case).

What are some of the common documents that are required to be served?

There is a large list of documents that require “service” under the Provincial, Supreme, Appeal and Federal Court Rules. The following is a list of the most common:

  • Notice of Civil Claim
  • Notice of Claim
  • Applications
  • Motion to change
  • Summons to witness
  • Notice of motion
  • Notice of Examination
  • Statement of Claim
  • Statement of Defence and Counterclaim 
  • Family court documents
  • Any other document you require assistance with

Does a process server need to follow any specific rules of service?

A process server must serve documents in strict accordance with rules of court and legislation in the area of service. This may mean handing the documents to the defendant personally or sub-serving to someone in the same household/business. Once the documents are delivered, the process server must provide court notarized proof that the papers were served (e.g. Affidavit of Service or Proof of Service) to the requesting party.

Why hire a process server?

There are a number of reasons why hiring a Process Server is a good idea. 

  1. There are numerous procedural regulations and laws that need to be considered when attempting to serve process.  A trained Process Server knows what can and cannot be done and will ensure proper documentation and records are kept.
  2. It is sometimes difficult to predict how someone will react when being served.  Recipients can become irritated and aggressive, especially if they are approached by someone directly related to the case.  A Process Server is trained to know how to defuse these stressful situations before it escalates to an altercation.
  3. There are many misconceptions about what constitutes 'being served'. The law in this area is quite convoluted and it is never good to be unexpectedly informed by a judge or court clerk that they steps taken to 'serve' someone did not meet the legal requirements of 'serving'. 
  4. A trained Process Server will know what the proper steps are to ensure this does not happen to you.
  5. Some documents have restrictions on who may serve these documents.  In these cases, the documents must be served by someone other than the party required to serve the documents.

Where can process be served?

Process is typically served at the recipient's home or place of business. However, if the intended recipient is being evasive, process may be served at alternative locations. Process can be successfully served in all sorts of public locations as long as no laws are violated.

What methods are used when process serving?

The best means of serving process is hand delivery of the papers. This is generally accomplished by the process server's visiting the recipient's home or workplace.

If the process server is unable to hand deliver the paperwork to the intended recipient, some jurisdictions permit process to instead be served to a legal adult who lives with the recipient. In this case, the papers must also be mailed to the intended recipient the same day, or the following day. Generally, substituted service is only permissible if the process server can demonstrate that the recipient was unavailable for service. He or she must also be able to show a reasonable expectation that the substituted service would be satisfactory.

How long does it take to serve a court document?

Each individual case is unique and the time needed to serve court documents is difficult to predict. Dye & Durham guarantees same day attempt of all files received before 2 p.m. Our service rates include 3 attempts, which further includes a weekday, evening and weekend attempt where necessary. We aim to have files turned around within 5 to 7 business days. 

In a case where a recipient is attempting to evade service, all necessary information is collected and if a motion for substituted service is necessary, we can provide a supporting affidavit of attempted service to establish the lengths that have been taken in an attempt to serve a party. This will assist you in obtaining a court order authorizing an alternative method of service.

What is an affidavit of service?

An affidavit of service is a legal document completed by your process server outlining where, when, and on whom the court documents were served. The affidavit of service must be sworn before and signed by either a lawyer, notary public, justice of the peace, or commissioner of oaths. The affidavit of service is the proof of proper service that is required by the courts.

What happens if a document cannot be served?

If after three attempts of service, our Process Servers are not able to effect service on an individual, we can provide an affidavit of attempted service which can be used to either validate the need for a locate or skip tracing, or it can be used when filing a motion with the court to allow an alternate method of service. The court will decide what alternative service options are acceptable on a case by case basis.

What is the National Association of Professional Process Servers ("NAPPS") and is Dye & Durham NAPPS accredited?

NAPPS is a Worldwide Organization of process servers that adhere to high ethical standards and are a collection of the most outstanding individuals in the profession. Yes, Dye & Durham has been a proud member since 1992.

How much does it cost to get papers served?

On average, the cost of a routine local service can range anywhere from $65.00 to $100.00. Prices vary largely depending on the number of additional attempts, location of service, whether the service is deemed to be rush or if it is outside of the lower mainland. Please contact us for a quote.

Can Dye & Durham’s process serving department handle my court filings as well?

Yes, we can! Dye & Durham offers a suite of legal support service including court filing. While there is an additional cost to having your documents filed by our experienced agents, our clients feel the convenience of a one stop solution is well worth it.

Does Dye & Durham offer skip tracing?

Yes, we do! Please see here for more information.

Have questions? Contact us to discuss your needs with Dye & Durham. 1-800-661-1811