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The History of Process Service

  • October 08, 2018
  • by ServeNow Staff
  • Articles

Process service has long been a standard in the judicial system to ensure that due process is upheld. But do you know just how old process service really is? Rules of civil procedure go back further than you may think.

Magna Carta

Magna Carta, or “The Great Charter,” is the first document outlining individual rights and establishes that everyone is subject to laws, even ruling parties such as a king. Most notably, the right to a fair trial (due process) is first mentioned on its parchment. Process servers are necessary for a fair trial. First and foremost, those involved in a legal proceeding must be aware of their involvement for there to be a trial to be lawful.

Created in 1215 due to England’s King John’s unfair taxation and the siege of London, The Magna Carta has now influenced other human rights documents and the United States Constitution. If a brief history of the Magna Carta interests you, watch the British Library’s brief video:

Magna Carta’s foundation led the way for process servers, who provide an integral step in providing a fair trial. If an individual is not notified of their involvement in a legal proceeding then they cannot defend themselves, nullifying their right to due process.

The US Constitution

The United States Constitution continues Magna Carta’s legacy with clauses supporting the rights of its citizens. The 5th and 14th Amendments mention the right to due process. The 14th Amendment says:

All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

The 6th Amendment clearly outlines the specific need of legal notice provided by process servers:

In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right...to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation...

Through these laws, the conclusion can be drawn that process service is essential to protecting our rights.

Present Day

Process service continues today as an integral part of our legal system. Process servers are not a bearer of bad news, rather, they are ensuring your right to due process, upholding your rights as a United States citizen worthy of a just trial.

There are thousands of process servers across the US who work either full or part-time, serving papers in big cities and remote towns. Their diligence ensures that each citizen is properly notified of their involvement in legal cases so that our rights guaranteed in the Constitution do not go by the wayside.

Moving Forward

The right to due process has been around since 1215, and its importance only grows. Although process service will not go away as long as we defend the US Constitution, it will inevitably evolve. What will process service look like in the future?

Technology is changing the legal landscape with automation, electronic notice, and more. Only time will tell how process serving will adjust in the coming years, but those who embrace changes and look for better ways to serve will retain their status as professionals in the legal industry.

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