Dictionary of Law

service of process :: legal definition

Service of process - n. the delivery of copies of legal documents such as summons, complaint, subpena, order to show cause (order to appear and argue against a proposed order), writs, notice to quit the premises and certain other documents, usually by personal delivery to the defendant or other person to whom the documents are directed. So-called "substituted service" can be accomplished by leaving the documents with an adult resident of a home, with an employee with management duties at a business office or with a designated "agent for acceptance of service" (often with name and address filed with the state's Secretary of State), or, in some cases, by posting in a prominent place followed by mailing copies by certified mail to the opposing party. In certain cases of absent or unknown defendants, the court will allow service by publication in a newspaper. Once all parties have filed a complaint, answer or any pleading in a lawsuit, further documents usually can be served by mail or even FAX.

See also: personal service service service by FAX service by mail service by publication substituted service and Related Law Terms ↓

Related Law Terms

abduction :: n. the criminal taking away of a person by persuas ... g of children. See also: kidnapping
acceptance of service :: n. agreement by a defendant (or his/her attorney) ... o accept service. See also: service
account stated :: n. a statement between a creditor or the person to ... ending on the state. See also: debt
acknowledgment :: n. the section at the end of a document where a no ... me leases and various other papers.
actionable :: adj. when enough facts or circumstances exist to m ... ction lawsuit malicious prosecution
ad litem :: adj. legal Latin meaning "for the purposes of the ... of age. See also: guardian ad litem
adjuster :: n. an employee (usually a non-lawyer) of an insura ... e company in approving settlements.
administrator :: n. the person appointed by the court to handle the ... e also: administer executor probate
admission to bail :: n. an order of a court in a criminal case allowing ... lient. See also: bail bail bondsman
admit :: v. 1) to state something is true in answering a co ... tted." See also: admission evidence
affirmative defense :: n. part of an answer to a charge or complaint in w ... lp the defendant. See also: defense
agent for acceptance of service :: n. states require that a corporation name an actua ... corporations. See also: corporation
alimony :: n. support paid by one ex-spouse to the other as o ... ild support divorce spousal support
answer :: n. in law, a written pleading filed by a defendant ... emurrer general denial verification
appeal :: 1) v. to ask a higher court to reverse the decisio ... ng, as in "he has filed an appeal."
arbitrator :: n. one who conducts an arbitration, and serves as ... he other two. See also: arbitration
articles of incorporation :: n. the basic charter of a corporation which spells ... year's taxes. See also: corporation
attorney's work product :: n. written materials, charts, notes of conversatio ... ivileged communication work product
bailiff :: n. 1) a court official, usually a deputy sheriff, ... isdictional territory of a bailiff.
bank :: n. 1) an officially chartered institution empowere ... erred to as "in bank" or "en banc."
bankruptcy :: n. a federal system of statutes and courts which p ... y proceedings trustee in bankruptcy
Bill of Rights :: n. the first ten amendments to the federal Constit ... ved to the states or to the people.
brief :: 1) n. a written legal argument, usually in a forma ... another person. See also: precedent
caption :: n. the first section of any written legal pleading ... to the exact format of the caption.
case of first impression :: n. a case in which a question of interpretation of ... rts may be examined as a guideline.
certificate of title :: n. generally, the title document for a motor vehic ... a "pink slip." See also: pink slip
character witness :: n. a person who testifies in a trial on behalf of ... ases and civil cases such as fraud.
chattel mortgage :: n. an outmoded written document which made a chatt ... ed by the property. See also: UCC-1
child custody :: n. a court's determination of which parent, relati ... pport custody divorce joint custody
citation :: n. 1) a notice to appear in court due to the proba ... se is not in point." See also: cite
civil :: adj. 1) that part of the law that encompasses busi ... also: civil liberties civil rights
claim against a governmental agency :: n. any time one believes he/she has a right to pay ... orter than other types of lawsuits.
claim against an estate :: n. upon the death of a person and beginning of pro ... ade to the heirs. See also: probate
class action :: n. a lawsuit filed by one or more people on behalf ... ees usually require court approval.
comity :: n. when one court defers to the jurisdiction of an ... of cases to which comity may apply.
comparative negligence :: n. a rule of law applied in accident cases to dete ... utory negligence damages negligence
complaint :: n. the first document filed with the court (actual ... g prayer service of process summons
confession and avoidance :: n. when a defendant admits the allegations in a co ... tries to avoid their legal impact.
conflict of interest :: n. a situation in which a person has a duty to mor ... a position adverse to the customer.
constructive notice :: n. a fiction that a person got notice even though ... personally. See also: constructive
consumer protection laws :: n. almost all states and the federal government ha ... rranty product liability securities
contingent fee :: n. a fee to a lawyer which will be due and payable ... epend on the outcome are unethical.
copyright :: 1) n. the exclusive right of the author or creator ... plagiarism public domain trademark
corporation :: n. an organization formed with state governmental ... ation public corporation securities
count :: n. each separate statement in a complaint which st ... also: cause of action common counts
counterclaim :: n. a retaliatory claim by a defendant against a pl ... d. See also: answer cross-complaint
court :: n. 1) the judge, as in "The court rules in favor o ... cost and wait of full court trials.
court costs :: n. fees for expenses that the courts pass on to at ... ee also: cost bill prevailing party
creditor's claim :: n. a claim required to be filed in writing, in a p ... e also: claim in bankruptcy probate
cross-complaint :: n. after a complaint has been filed against a defe ... g prayer service of process summons
d.b.a. :: n. short for "doing business as," when a person or ... that is registered with the state.
declaration of mailing :: n. a form stating that a particular document has b ... other party. See also: declaration
default :: 1) n. failure to respond to a summons and complain ... default judgment notice of default
default judgment :: n. if a defendant in a lawsuit fails to respond to ... See also: complaint default summons
demurrer :: n. (dee-muhr-ur) a written response to a complaint ... demurrer. See also: motion pleading
descent :: n. the rules of inheritance established by law in ... on inheritance intestate succession
disinherit :: v. to intentionally take actions to guarantee that ... rorem clause pretermitted heir will
divorce :: 1) n. the termination of a marriage by legal actio ... y separate property spousal support
domicile :: n. the place where a person has his/her permanent ... where its headquarters is located.
double jeopardy :: n. placing someone on trial a second time for an o ... that occurred thirty years earlier.
eminent domain :: n. the power of a governmental entity (federal, st ... ngs. See also: condemn condemnation
equal opportunity :: 1) n. a right supposedly guaranteed by both federa ... be so. See also: affirmative action
equal protection of the law :: n. the right of all persons to have the same acces ... laws." See also: due process of law
equity :: n. 1) a venerable group of rights and procedures t ... ry enjoin equitable injunction writ
excusable neglect :: n. a legitimate excuse for the failure of a party ... See also: default default judgment
extradition :: n. the surrender by one state or country of a pers ... ty. See also: fugitive from justice
fair comment :: n. a statement of opinion (no matter how ludicrous ... amation libel public figure slander
fictitious defendants :: n. when a party suing (plaintiff) is not sure if h ... are not permitted in federal cases.
file :: 1) v. to deposit with the clerk of the court a wri ... rrespondence and notes on the case.
final settlement :: n. an agreement reached by the parties to a lawsui ... rneys present. See also: settlement
first degree murder :: n. although it varies from state to state, it is g ... aughter murder second degree murder
forum non conveniens :: (for-uhm nahn cahn-vee-nee-ehns) n. Latin for a fo ... most convenient location for trial.
franchise :: 1) n. a right granted by the government to a perso ... on property, income or profits tax.
fraud :: n. the intentional use of deceit, a trick or some ... audulent conveyance intrinsic fraud
gag order :: n. a judge's order prohibiting the attorneys and t ... st day in office, January 22, 1993.
general denial :: n. a statement in an answer to a lawsuit or claim ... anguage. See also: answer complaint
grace period :: n. a time stated in a contract in which a late pay ... the contract, i.e. your insurance.
gravamen :: n. Latin for "to weigh down," the basic gist of ev ... o: cause of action charge complaint
guardian :: n. a person who has been appointed by a judge to t ... torship. See also: conservator ward
head of household :: n. 1) in federal income tax law, the person filing ... n or daughter. 3) "head of family."
hearsay rule :: n. the basic rule that testimony or documents whic ... interest dying declaration hearsay
in personam :: adj. (in purr-soh-nam) from Latin for "directed to ... here. See also: in rem jurisdiction
incorporate :: v. 1) to obtain an official charter or articles of ... te by reference incorporation stock
independent contractor :: n. a person or business which performs services fo ... ue independence. See also: employee
information :: n. an accusation or criminal charge brought by the ... Jury indictment preliminary hearing
information and belief :: n. a phrase often used in legal pleadings (complai ... nswer complaint declaration perjury
insanity :: n. mental illness of such a severe nature that a p ... M'Naughten rule temporary insanity
invasion of privacy :: n. the intrusion into the personal life of another ... randeis. See also: right to privacy
invitee :: n. a person who comes onto another's property, pre ... ail employees. See also: negligence
joint and several :: adj. referring to a debt or a judgment for neglige ... ution contributory negligence joint
judgment creditor :: n. the winning plaintiff in a lawsuit to whom the ... 's rights judgment prevailing party
jump bail :: v. to fail to appear for a court appearance after ... also: bail bail bond bail bondsman
jurat :: (jur-at) n. Latin for "been sworn," the portion of ... wledgment declaration notary public
jurisdiction :: n. the authority given by law to a court to try ca ... Superior Court Supreme Court venue
jury :: n. one of the remarkable innovations of the Englis ... hallenge sequester venire voir dire
larceny :: n. the crime of taking the goods of another person ... : grand larceny petty larceny theft
law book :: n. any of numerous volumes dealing with law, inclu ... : common law law Shepardize statute
legal aid society :: n. an organization formed to assist persons who ha ... bar association. See also: pro bono
liability :: n. one of the most significant words in the field ... bility joint tortfeasors negligence
libel :: 1) n. to publish in print (including pictures), wr ... libel per se public figure slander
living will :: n. also called "a durable power of attorney," it i ... upport. See also: power of attorney
malicious prosecution :: n. filing a lawsuit with the intention of creating ... vor of the victim. See also: malice
malpractice :: n. An act or continuing conduct of a professional ... eed. See also: errors and omissions
mandamus :: (man-dame-us) n. Latin for "we order," a writ (mor ... mandamus. See also: writ of mandate
mandate :: n. 1) any mandatory order or requirement under sta ... See also: mandamus writ of mandate
martial law :: n. a system of complete control by a country's mil ... n and women. See also: military law
Miranda warning :: n. the requirement, also called the Miranda rule, ... me such a suspect? See also: rights
municipal court :: n. a lower court which usually tries criminal misd ... nd/or small claims. See also: court
murder :: n. the killing of a human being by a sane person, ... premeditation second degree murder
negligence :: n. failure to exercise the care toward others whic ... gence per se res ipsa loquitur tort
no fault insurance :: n: a type of automobile insurance required of car ... ling lawsuits. See also: negligence
non-profit corporation :: n. an organization incorporated under state laws a ... harity corporation cy pres doctrine
not guilty :: n. 1) plea of a person who claims not to have comm ... t guilty by reason of insanity plea
notary public :: n. a person authorized by the state in which the p ... he state which appoints the notary.
notice :: n. 1) information, usually in writing in all legal ... Thirty-day notice three-day notice
notice to quit :: n. the notice given by a landlord (owner) to a ten ... h-to-month notice unlawful detainer
nunc pro tunc :: (nuhnk proh tuhnk) adj. Latin for "now for then," ... r actuality of a bigamous marriage.
off calendar :: adj. refers to an order of the court to take a law ... of either party. See also: calendar
order :: 1) n. every direction or mandate of a judge or a c ... defendant. See also: judge judgment
own recognizance :: (O.R.) n. the basis for a judge allowing a person ... n recognizance. See also: bail O.R.
pardon :: 1) v. to use the executive power of a Governor or ... also: amnesty commutation reprieve
partnership :: n. a business enterprise entered into for profit w ... partnership partner silent partner
party :: n. 1) one of the participants in a lawsuit or othe ... y real party in interest respondent
peace bond :: n. a bond required as part of a court order to gua ... ee also: injunction stay away order
personal service :: n. delivering a summons, complaint, notice to quit ... process substituted service summons
personal services :: n. in contract law, the talents of a person which ... his/her unique ability and product.
petition :: 1) n. a formal written request to a court for an o ... dent. See also: divorce motion writ
plaintiff :: n. the party who initiates a lawsuit by filing a c ... lso: complaint defendant petitioner
pleading :: n. 1) every legal document filed in a lawsuit, pet ... nswer complaint demurrer plea plead
power of attorney :: n. a written document signed by a person giving an ... y, as in a real estate transaction.
premises :: n. 1) in real estate, land and the improvements on ... t). See also: real estate structure
probate :: 1) n. the process of proving a will is valid and t ... e also: administrator executor will
procedure :: n. the methods and mechanics of the legal process. ... cases are tried and judgments made.
process :: n. in law, the legal means by which a person is re ... service of process subpena summons
promissory note :: n. a written promise by a person (variously called ... lso: interest obligee obligor usury
proof :: n. confirmation of a fact by evidence. In a trial, ... doubt preponderance of the evidence
property :: n. anything that is owned by a person or entity. P ... rty real property separate property
prosecute :: v. 1) in criminal law, to charge a person with a c ... rney General prosecution prosecutor
public defender :: n. an elected or appointed public official (usuall ... to convicted indigents for appeals.
public easement :: n. the right of the general public to use certain ... lso: easement prescriptive easement
public record :: n. any information, minutes, files, accounts or ot ... l judgment are both public records.
public utility :: n. any organization which provides services to the ... nder state laws. See also: monopoly
rape :: 1) n. the crime of sexual intercourse (with actual ... See also: date rape statutory rape
real party in interest :: n. the person or entity who will benefit from a la ... st is the beneficiary of the trust.
reformation :: n. the correction or change of an existing documen ... neral partner sues for reformation.
regulations :: n. rules and administrative codes issued by govern ... es usually have similar procedures.
remedy :: n. the means to achieve justice in any matter in w ... gment provisional remedy settlement
remittitur :: n. 1) a judge's order reducing a judgment awarded ... party on appeal). See also: remand
reversal :: n. the decision of a court of appeal ruling that t ... e of damages is ordered to dismiss.
rules of court :: n. a set of procedural regulations adopted by cour ... s counsel. See also: procedure rule
self-defense :: n. the use of reasonable force to protect oneself ... ndalism. See also: assault homicide
sentence :: 1) n. the punishment given to a person convicted o ... ence restitution suspended sentence
service :: n. 1) paid work by another person, either by contr ... ersonal services service of process
service by mail :: n. mailing legal pleadings to opposing attorneys o ... attorney by mail. See also: service
service by publication :: n. serving a summons or other legal document in a ... perty. See also: service of process
show cause order :: n. an order of the court, also called an order to ... hild. See also: order to show cause
slander :: n. oral defamation, in which someone tells one or ... . See also: defamation fair comment
speaking demurrer :: n. an attempt to introduce evidence during a heari ... the operation." See also: demurrer
special appearance :: n. the representation by an attorney of a person i ... anged. See also: general appearance
special circumstances :: n. in criminal cases, particularly homicides, acti ... urant. See also: capital punishment
specific performance :: n. the right of a party to a contract to demand th ... artwork. See also: contract prayer
speedy trial :: n. in criminal prosecutions, the right of a defend ... hurt by the waiver. See also: trial
standing :: n. the right to file a lawsuit or file a petition ... so: actual controversy jurisdiction
state action :: n. in federal Civil Rights Acts, dating back to 18 ... for damages. See also: civil rights
state of domicile :: n. the state in which a person has his/her permane ... orated. See also: domicile resident
statute of limitations :: n. a law which sets the maximum period which one c ... ies. See also: demurrer laches toll
strike :: 1) v. to remove a statement from the record of the ... ing the business, factory or store.
subpena duces tecum :: : (suh-pea-nah dooh-chess-take-uhm or dooh-kess-ta ... ng a court order. See also: witness
substituted service :: n. accomplishing service (delivery) of legal docum ... ee also: service service of process
substitution of attorney :: n. a document in which the party to a lawsuit stat ... t any time. See also: substitute in
summons :: n. a document issued by the court at the time a la ... use service service of process writ
supra :: (sooh-prah) Latin for "above," in legal briefs and ... d as Guinn v. United States, supra.
tender :: 1) v. to present to another person an unconditiona ... he tender. See also: delivery offer
Thirty-day notice :: n. a notice by a landlord to a tenant on a month-t ... e also: landlord and tenant service
three-day notice :: n. a notice to pay delinquent rent or quit (leave ... nd tenant service unlawful detainer
title :: n. 1) ownership of real property or personal prope ... ink slip real property title search
toll :: v. 1) to delay, suspend or hold off the effect of ... bridge or take passage on a ferry.
transcript :: n. the written record of all proceedings, includin ... unless transcription is requested.
unclean hands :: n. a legal doctrine which is a defense to a compla ... ough. See also: affirmative defense
venue :: n. 1) the proper or most convenient location for t ... ion. See also: forum non conveniens
verification :: n. the declaration under oath or upon penalty of p ... ed. See also: answer complaint oath
vexatious litigation :: n. filing a lawsuit with the knowledge that it has ... lous malicious prosecution sanction
warrant :: 1) n. an order (writ) of a court which directs a l ... e search and seizure search warrant
will :: n. a written document which leaves the estate of t ... will and testament probate testator
witness :: 1) n. a person who testifies under oath in a trial ... lso: deposition evidence trial will

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Other Law Terms - S

said :: adj. a reference back to a thing that was previous ... automobile in a negligent manner."
sale :: n. transfer of something (and title to it) in retu ... contract forced sale sheriff's sale
salvage :: 1) v. to save goods. 2) n. payment to a person or ... which saves cargo from a shipwreck.
sanction :: n. 1) a financial penalty imposed by a judge on a ... ction." See also: contempt of court
satisfaction :: n. receiving payment or performance of what is due ... n contract satisfaction of judgment
satisfaction of judgment :: n. a document signed by a judgment creditor (the p ... ord. See also: abstract of judgment
satisfaction of mortgage :: n. a document signed by a lender acknowledging tha ... id off the debt. See also: mortgage
save harmless :: v. 1) also called hold harmless, to indemnify (pro ... . See also: hold harmless indemnify
savings and loan :: n. a banking and lending institution, chartered ei ... vings into the home finance market.
scienter :: n. Latin for "having knowledge." In criminal law, ... ents were lies and thus fraudulent.
scintilla :: n. Latin for "spark." Scintilla is commonly used i ... ark) upon which to base a judgment.
scope of employment :: n. actions of an employee which further the busine ... ter and servant respondeat superior
scrivener :: n. a person who writes a document for another, usu ... r practicing law without a license.
seal :: n. a device which creates an impression upon paper ... e "sealed," but that is rare today.
sealed verdict :: n. the decision of a jury when there is a delay in ... reconvenes. See also: jury verdict
sealing of records :: n. trial records and decisions which a judge order ... eep the terms from public scrutiny.
search :: v. 1) to examine another's premises (including a v ... e search and seizure search warrant
search and seizure :: n. examination of a person's premises (residence, ... robable cause search search warrant
search warrant :: n. a written order by a judge which permits a law ... ble cause search search and seizure
second degree murder :: n. a non-premeditated killing, resulting from an a ... t degree murder manslaughter murder