22/6/18 What does ‘Service of Process’ Mean?

Service of court papers (also referred to as service of process or service) is the delivery of court papers to a party, witness or other person who has a stake in the case. When a person has been provided with formal notice of the filing of a lawsuit (that is, that he has been sued), of a court hearing or trial, or ordering him to attend a hearing, trial or deposition, he is said to have been served.

In most cases, the first papers that must be served are the summons and complaint. These documents give the defendant notice that the lawsuit has been filed and what the plaintiff is seeking. The court cannot proceed unless the plaintiff properly serves the defendant with these papers.

In our next E-Legal Lesson, we’ll describe the five major types of service.