Process serving is a legal function critical to the judicial system, ensuring that individuals are adequately notified about legal proceedings involving them. This process helps to uphold the right to due process, making sure that everyone has the opportunity to be heard in court. While the role of process servers is clear-cut, the potential use of surveillance to achieve their objectives is a subject of debate. This article explores why process servers may consciously choose not to engage in surveillance activities.

Effectiveness and Efficiency

    Surveillance is time-consuming and not always the most effective method for serving papers. Process servers must operate within practical boundaries to serve documents in a timely and cost-effective manner. Spending hours or days on surveillance may not best use their resources. Instead, they often rely on strategic planning, such as understanding the best times to serve an individual at home or workplace based on available information.

    Alternative Strategies

      Many process servers develop alternative strategies that do not require surveillance. For instance, they might use “skip tracing” to locate individuals using various databases and other information sources. Once a location is identified, they can attempt service without ongoing surveillance.

      The Potential for Escalation

        Surveillance may lead to confrontations or escalations that can put the process server or the public at risk. If they become aware of being watched, the subject of surveillance might react unpredictably. Process servers aim to minimize conflict and ensure a peaceful process, and avoiding surveillance can be conducive to this goal.

        Client Mandates and Preferences

          Some clients may explicitly instruct process servers not to engage in surveillance due to the potential legal complications it could bring or because of the client’s ethical stance. Law firms and attorneys, mindful of their professional reputation and responsibility, may prefer that process servers employ less invasive tactics.

          In Conclusion:

          While surveillance might seem a logical step in ensuring a subject is found and served, process servers must balance their goal of effective service with a range of other considerations. The decision not to engage in surveillance is often a reflection of an adherence to legal requirements, ethical codes, and prioritization of professionalism and safety.