When going through a legal process, there will usually come a time when you are required to give a legal document to someone. You might be making an Application for Divorce and need to serve the Application on your spouse, or your tenant might have fallen behind in their rent and you need to serve a Notice of Breach.
Whatever the case, you will need to deliver Court documents in such a way that the Court can be satisfied the person has received them. This process of giving legal documents is known as Service.
Generally, documents must be served personally unless there is something in relevant legislation which does not require this to happen.
What is Personal Service?
The purpose of serving documents on a person is to prove to the Court you are appearing in that the other party in your matter is notified of the process taking place and has been provided with the proper documentation for the matter.
Personal service can successfully occur in the following circumstances:
- By handing the document to the person and letting them know that they are being served - if the person does not accept the document, you can leave it on the ground in front of them.
- By delivering the document to the residence of the person - if they are not home, then someone who appears to be 16 years or older can accept service on their behalf.
- By delivering the document to the place that the person works - if they are not home, then someone who appears to be 16 years or older can accept service on their behalf.
While it is possible to serve documents on someone yourself, it is recommended that for accurate service of documents you engage the service of a Process Server. A Process Server serves documents on people on your behalf. Rose Lawyers can assist you in serving someone with documents and ensure it is done properly to avoid delays in the court process.
Other types of Service
Service of Documents can be a complicated issue. Requirements can vary from Court to Court depending on the matter at hand as well as the identity of the person you're serving.
- In some circumstances, you can serve a document by post. This takes place when you send a document by registered mail to the person's address; or if you are serving a company, to the company’s registered address.
- You may also be able to serve a document to someone's lawyer provided that person has instructed their Lawyer to accept service.
- There are special requirements for service if the person is a minor or has a disability and would be entitled to a Litigation Guardian.
- Don't know the person's address or unsure of their location? You can apply to the Court for Substituted Service where you may be able to serve people via Facebook, email, or perhaps by serving a relative.
Unless you are familiar with the various rules and regulations, it is recommended that you engage the services of a Lawyer to properly effect Service for you.
Type of Documents that require Serving
When you are starting a Legal Proceeding such as Divorce, or looking to arrange a Court order for Care of your Children, you will need to Serve documents on another party. There are a range of different matters which require Service, including:
- Family Law Documents including Applications for Divorce, Parenting Order Applications, Financial Statements, Affidavits
- Application for Contravention or Contempt
- Subpoena for Production or for someone to give evidence
There are many other types of documents that require Service, and depending on the type of document you may be required to Serve this document by hand, by post, or email—or by Service from a Lawyer.
Common issues when trying to Serve a Document
The Court requires that Proof of Service is submitted to the Court when documents have been Served. This is shown with an Affidavit of Service. But in some cases it can be difficult to serve a document on someone.
- You may be trying to Serve Documents on your ex-partner but they are actively avoiding being part of this process.
- You may not know where to Serve Documents on someone but need to get your Service done to proceed in Court.
- If the Document you are serving requires personal service you will need to adhere to the process outlined above - but this can be complicated if you have never done it before.
Anything that delays the Court process can be stressful, but Rose Lawyers can work with you to make sure that your entire case proceeds as smoothly as possible. As your Lawyers we keep you informed about what needs to be done at every step - including what you need to do for successful document Service.
Affidavit of Service after documents served
After you have served documents on someone the Court needs information to confirm how this was done. This is given through an Affidavit of Service, detailing how and when the document was served—this should include:
- The name, address, and occupation of the person who served the document
- The date and place the complaint was served
- The method of service
- The signature of the person who served the complaint
- The signature of an authorised person who received (witnessed) the affidavit.
Contact Rose Lawyers for stress-free document Service
Let Rose Lawyers assist you with your Court matter with the understanding that document Service is just one part of a larger process. Contact us today on 03 9878 5222 to find out more about document Service and what you need to do to ensure your Legal matter proceeds in a timely manner.