Service of process is a legal term that refers to the procedure by which a party to a lawsuit gives appropriate notice of initial legal action to another party (such as a defendant or respondent), court, or administrative body in an effort to exercise jurisdiction over that person in order to enable that person to respond to the proceeding before the court, body, or other tribunal.
This procedure is crucial in ensuring all parties are duly informed and can exercise their rights to answer the legal action or to argue their point of view.
Notice is furnished by delivering a set of court documents (like a summons, complaint, or subpoena) to the person to be served. This service is typically done by a process server who is often a sheriff, constable, or other person authorized by law to serve legal documents. However, any adult who is not a party to the litigation may serve the papers.
Rules vary depending on jurisdiction, but generally, if a party is not properly served with process according to the applicable rules, then the court cannot exercise jurisdiction over the party and the proceedings may be dismissed.
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