We serve a full range of legal, court and financial documents. As a client with a need for process serving, you need to understand what a process server should do for you and ways of seperating the one-man bands who will land you in hot water, from the genuine expert organisations.
What You’ll Learn in This Article
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After 19 years, our process serving operations are now a well-oiled machine. Our customer service and delivery of that service is second to none.
Clients come to us because we manage their expectations and do what a process server should: in the exact manner the client instructs.
Anyone can serve a document on an individual or company. Serving them in a way that the client is happy with and dealing with any difficulties that may arise is a job for an expert.
What Kind of Documents Can Be Served?
Documents served often include:
- papers for the Legal Family sector
- statutory demands, winding up petitions or bankruptcy orders
- injunction papers and freezing orders.
What Is Process Serving Like With Expert Investigations?
To our clients we supply a range of services, which include:
- national process serving
- bulk or individual process serving
- coordinated serves on numerous individuals at a given time at different geographical locations
- international serves
- urgent serves
It is not uncommon for us to have 10 to 20 boxes of documents couriered to our office for service at multiple locations by midnight the same day.
It is not uncommon for us to be serving documents all around the world in accordance with the rules of service in that country or location.
It is not uncommon for us to receive bulk serves such as serving 400 residents in an accommodation complex.
We have over 300 process servers. As a company, we are fully GDPR compliant and have Professional Indemnity insurance. Our clients are guaranteed the highest quality of lawful service of documents in whatever manner they require.
In simplistic terms, a process server should serve your documents in the exact manner you’ve asked them. Many of these process serves will be routine. But on a daily basis we receive serves that are more awkward to carry out.
In what ways can a serve be difficult?
There are many, from:
- the geographical location
- an individual who is avoiding service
- the premises where the documents should be served
- a need for co-ordinated serves in different locations at the same time
- an urgent serve with very tight time constraints
And of course, a serve can include all these elements at once.
But this should not concern you, the client
These are all considerations for the process server. You should expect a smooth and uncomplicated experience. And with the right process server, that is exactly what you will get.
An experienced process server can ease a difficult serve by keeping their client informed. The client might also need advising on the current state of the serve and, if there are difficulties, how the process server intends to resolve them.
In 19 years’ experience, we have heard clients say of other process servers that they never know when a document has been served. They don’t know if the process server has even received the papers. They have to chase the process server for their cetificiate of service documentation.
None of this creates a good customer experience.
We Believe We’re The Right Choice For Your Process Serving Needs
We have a simple approach which has served our clients well. We serve every single day all around the country with routine, bulk, and co-ordinated serves. We can even serve internationally if you require.
- ease the burden for the client
- manage their expectations at all times
- acknowledge receipt of the documents on arrival
- serve immediately
- keep the client updated regarding the current position of the serve, especially upon completion
- complete the documentation immediately and scan to the client with the original following in the post
- a detailed correct document of service
- if extra work is required, send an invoice for the agreed amount with no additional unauthorised add-on expenses
Let’s start by looking at the current state of process servers and investigators in the United Kingdom. This is an unregulated industry where there is no governing body and anybody can become an investigator or process server overnight with no qualifications and not even a criminal records check. You can be a process server even if you have a criminal record.
Of course, it’s not the case that the majority or even an especially large number of investigators in the industry have a criminal record, but research clearly shows that less than 25% have Professional Indemnity Insurance.
The nature of process serving is that it is a subcontracted model that the document will be passed from one process server in one geographical location, to another process server in another and then may be passed to a further individual. In short, whether you’re working in the legal or commercial sector and you’re looking to use a process server then you must face the reality that the likelihood of them having any insurance is minimal, let alone those they are subcontracting the work to.
Why does this matter to you?
Sometimes process serving does go wrong. Documents will be served incorrectly, they will be served not meeting timescales and there are individuals in the industry that will lie, even by supplying a false statement, certificate or affidavit stating they have acted correctly when they have not.
Where does this leave you as an instructing client when a process serve is not affected correctly? It causes claim and legal cost issues. You will be seeking legal redress against a sole trader that will not have your best interests at heart they will be looking at their own self-preservation. And they will not possess Professional Indemnity Insurance.
Advice for Choosing a Process Server
As a client you need to be concerned about what is happening to your documents, how they are being stored, who are they being given to and how those individuals will protect the integrity of the data in those documents. The consequences can be significant to the individual or organisation issuing the original instruction. Our advice is as follows:
- Have approved suppliers and you hold, as a company or legal practice, the GDPR and Professional Indemnity Insurance of that individual company or server
- If the server or company that you choose for the process serving has a nationwide capability then ensure they hold Professional Indemnity Insurance and GDPR compliance for all of those process servers that they will legitimately subcontract your process serve to
- For an urgent serve ask for proof of compliance as any decent process server will be able to send you the document proof in minutes. Let’s face it, it is a document held on an easily accessible file, and a decent and reputable firm will send the document daily to new clients
Why Is GDPR So Important In Process Serving?
If such a small volume of investigators have Professional Indemnity insurance then you can guarantee even less will NOT be GDPR compliant. As a minimum for GDPR compliance a process server will at least have to be cyber essentials registered which will cost £2000 and then there is further cost for compliance.
But GDPR is vital in the service of documents, whether instructed by a commercial or legal client. In brief a client is handing vital, sensitive information concerning personal details and information about another person(s) or business activity. The nature of process serving is that the document will most probably be passed from one individual process server in one geographical location to another, who then in turn may pass that document to another individual for service. From instruction that document may have passed through 3 or 4 individuals.
What’s Wrong With That?
Issues arise and sometimes documents are lost, stolen, served on the wrong individuals or served incorrectly in accordance with the client instructions. How are you as a client ensuring that your documents are being secured in the correct manner and only compliant individuals having access to them. When something does go wrong may be the only time you have considered the implication of GDPR compliance but there may be a financial and maybe more importantly a reputational cost for that noncompliance.
Less Than 20% of Process Servers are Believed to be Compliant
Documents are passed from process server to process server with no regard for compliance and it is essential that your process server has GDPR compliance to cover you, their employees and their sub-contractors. Process serving can be urgent with little notice and no time to verify the compliance of a server. Our advice is:
- Have approved suppliers and you hold , as a company or legal practise the GDPR and Professional Indemnity Insurance of that individual company or server
- For an urgent serve ask for proof of compliance as any decent process server will be able to send you the document proof in minutes. Let’s face it, it is a document held on an easily accessible file, as a decent and reputable firm will be sending the document daily to new clients
Here is a selection of some of our most recent serves:
Urgent Serves at Co-Ordinated Times / Locations
On a daily basis our Solicitor client’s will require the urgent service of documents when they leave court having been granted the orders or permission to serve. This happens numerous times a day.
Recently our client left court with documents to be served by 17:00 hours that same day at four different geographical locations across the country. The phone call was received to our office at 13:00 hours and the documents were to be served at an address in London, Peterborough, Norwich and Ipswich. There was also a requirement for them to all be served at exactly the same time so as not to alert the recipients by serving at different times during the afternoon.
Our team organised the collection of the documents and service on each of the individuals at the addresses for a coordinated time of 16:00 hours. The serve was completed as the client requested within the time frame and at a coordinated time for service.
Our aim is always to ease the burden for the client and to deliver a highly customer focused service for them, taking away the concern and the worry about not complying with a tight court deadline.
Serving to Violent or Aggressive Individuals
On occasions there will be requirements whereby we have to serve individuals that may well be violent or aggressive to us as process servers. We always liaise with our clients in order to establish as much detail as possible in relation to how the serve could be affected and the nature of the individual who is being served.
Where required we will liaise with the local Police Service and make a request for the Police to attend with our serving officer in order to ensure the safety of our staff at the same time as ensuring that we deliver the required service for our clients by effectively serving the relevant documents.
Being a team of former Police Officers, we understand the logistics and constraints in the Police Service that gives us and added insight into how best to liaise with them to deliver swift service of documents or apply.
Serving on a Critical Timescale
Certain documents for service have critical timescales especially when dealing with a freezing order. A recent case involved the client liaising with us prior to the order being served. This is always our preferred approach, as this ensures we are fully appraised of what we will be required when, where and how.
This allows us to ensure a smooth service of the documents. In this case we were aware that we had 10 boxes for delivery at each of three addresses at three different geographical locations across the country. The boxes are substantial in size and we required vans in order to transport the boxes. We were able to hire vans and have our staff on standby ready for the arrival, from the client of the documents via courier to our office. There was a requirement for the documents to be served at the locations all at the same time. Following a briefing our three team members set off for their particular locations.
On arrival at the one location preliminary enquiries revealed that the individual to be served did not reside there and enquiries established the new address for the recipient. Our officer liaised with his colleagues and the serve was postponed until he was present at the newly identified address.
This address was a block of flats with secure gated access control. Our officer was lawfully able to obtain entry into the block of flats and liaised with his colleagues who were at the other two locations and the documents were served within the court time deadline and specifications.
The whole purpose of all process serving that we conduct for our clients is to ease the burden for them and for them to have the confidence to know that we can react and adapt to situations that unfold whilst we are conducting their serve.