The history of the process server industry dates back to 1215 with the creation of the Magna Carta (Great Charter) in response to the unfair taxation of King John. The document outlined the individual rights of the people and that everyone is subject to the laws, including the king. For the first time, the document also mentioned the importance of a fair trial, which made it necessary to have process servers.
The practice was later brought to the United States and is a part of the 5th and 14th Amendments of the United States Constitution. The need for a legal notice provided by the process servers is also outlined in the 6th Amendment of the Constitution.
Today, the process server industry ensures people receive the right to due process by upholding their right to have a just trial in the United States. They ensure that all citizens are duly notified of legal cases involving them so that they can prepare their defense.
Even though the process server industry is a part of the modern legal system, it is a small profession with no separate Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) category. Despite this, the industry still goes through changes. The ongoing pandemic also contributed to this change to prevent the spread of the virus. Here are some developments within the process server industry.
Electronic Process Server
Technology is already becoming a major part of many industries across the country. And the process server industry is also adopting technology by serving documents electronically. The original method of serving documents was not practical and efficient, especially during the pandemic when the authorities advised people to stay at home. Sending documents through electronic means facilitates a reliable and faster method of serving documents.
The use of technology allows process servers to use applications that streamline the delivery of documents. The apps also make it easier for process servers to confirm a defendant’s location and record the delivery of the legal documents. These latest developments in technology also allow companies to efficiently provide document retrieval, skip tracing, court filing, and foreclosure server services for their clients.
Independent Process Servers
Even as process server companies are hesitant in hiring independent process servers, they have to consider laws regarding the classification of these contractors. Since the laws differ from state to state, all eyes focused on a new law in California.
Under Assembly Bill 5 (AB 5), process services companies should classify independent contractors as regular employees if they perform the same jobs as the main business. So, if they serve processes for the company, they are considered employees, which means they fall under the category with regulations that protect their wages, working hours, and working conditions.
Due to this, process server companies will have to look at their organization and look for ways to resolve the situation, especially if they work out of California. Additionally, they may need to work on providing insurance and other benefits for their process servers.
Safety and Security
When process servers used to handle documents physically before the pandemic, they had to deal with defendants in a different state of mind. There were instances when the defendants would get angry and let their emotions get the better of them before taking it out on the process server. This is particularly true in areas where violence is an issue.
To deal with this, ServeNow launched the Promoting Assault Awareness and Protective Regulations for Servers (PAAPRS) campaign to collect evidence that can be used to create laws to safeguard process servers. It aimed to show lawmakers the violence that process servers were subjected to while working, resulting in injuries and even death. The campaign resulted in the creation of laws that punished people who interfered with the process service.
Even as law enforcers cooperate with process servers, there are instances when they will delay the process. For instance, legal documents filed through the court systems of some states pass through the sheriff’s office. If the officers stop local process servers from accessing their network, they will delay the process service.
Officers can deliver the process since they have the means and network to track down any subject. But the process takes time that the officers can use in their main job of protecting the community. Due to this, it is essential for law enforcers to allow process servers to do their jobs and help them locate the subjects of the court documents.
The process server industry may be obscure to many Americans, but it plays a major role in ensuring their legal rights are upheld as enshrined in the US Constitution.