Process servers play a critical role in the legal system by ensuring that due process is served and that individuals are notified of legal actions that affect them. But, despite their neutral but essential role, process servers often face a unique set of challenges that require resourcefulness, resilience, and a deep understanding of legal procedures. Below, we explore some of the top challenges faced by process servers and provide practical solutions to overcome them.
NOTE: This is only Part 1, stay tuned for another post that details additional process service challenges and solutions.
Common Challenges Faced by Process Servers and How to Overcome Them
- Complex Addresses and Locations
- Challenge: A very common problem for process servers is having trouble finding people with incomplete or inaccurate addresses. Often, inaccurate location information is unintentional but people may do this intentionally to evade service and delay legal proceedings.
- Solution: Professionals use online databases, social media, and skip-tracing techniques to gather updated information. They can also collaborate with clients or legal representatives to get the most accurate information.
- Evasive Recipients
- Challenge: We’ve all seen someone in movies and TV shows trying to avoid being served and that’s because people often try to evade a process server in real life. Evasive individuals may avoid service, making it frustrating and time-consuming, but there are options.
- Solution: Be creative and discreet, using stakeouts, alternative entrances, or trusted individuals. When all else fails, a process server may be able to use an alternative method of service to ensure legal proceedings can progress.
- Hostile Reactions
- Challenge: Serving legal documents may elicit strong emotions which can lead to uncomfortable and even hostile reactions from recipients. Unfortunately, verbal abuse, threats, and attempts to intimidate process servers are not uncommon.
- Solution: Process servers must maintain professionalism and prioritize safety. This involves various strategies including de-escalation, documentation, information, and involving law enforcement if necessary.