DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA PROCESS SERVER LAWS AND REQUIREMENTS

By: Undisputed Legal/Process Service Department

The District of Columbia does not have any educational or registration requirements for District of Columbia process service. The Superior Court Rule of Civil Procedure (4)(c)(2) provides as follows: 

District of Columbia Process Service may be affected by any person who is not a party and at least 18 years of age. At the plaintiff’s request, however, the Court may direct that service be effected by a United States marshal, deputy United States marshal, or other person or officer specially appointed by the Court for that purpose. Such direction shall be made only (a) when service is to be effected on behalf of the United States or an officer or agency thereof, or (b) when the Court issues an order stating that service by a United States marshal or deputy the United States marshal or a person specially appointed for that purpose is required so that District of Columbia Process Service is properly effected in that particular action. 

Appended Applicable Provisions: 

  • District of Columbia Superior Court Rule of Civil Procedure 4(c)(2)
  • District of Columbia Superior Court Rule of Civil Procedure 4.1

SUPERIOR COURT RULES OF CIVIL PROCEDURE
II. COMMENCEMENT OF ACTION; SERVICE OF PROCESS, PLEADINGS, MOTIONS, 

AND ORDERS
D.C. SCR-Civil Rule 4 (2008) 

Rule 4. Summons.

(c) District of Columbia Process Service with the complaint; by whom made. 

(1) A summons shall be served together with a copy of the complaint and initial order. The plaintiff is responsible for service of a subpoena, protest, and initial order within the time allowed under subdivision (m) and shall furnish the person effecting service with the necessary copies of the summons, criticism, and initial order. 

(2) District of Columbia Process Service may be affected by any person who is not a party and at least 18 years of age. At the plaintiff’s request, however, the Court may direct that service be effected by a United States marshal, deputy United States marshal, or other person or officer specially appointed by the Court for that purpose. Such direction shall be made only (a) when service is to be effected on behalf of the United States or an officer or agency thereof, or (b) when the Court issues an order stating that service by a United States marshal or deputy the United States marshal or a person specially appointed for that purpose is required so that service is properly effected in that particular action. 

(3) As to any defendant described in subdivisions (e), (f), (h), or (j), service also may be effected by mailing a copy of the summons, complaint, and initial order to the person to be served by registered or certified mail, return receipt requested. 

(4) As to any defendant described in subdivisions (e), (f), or (h), service may be effected by mailing a copy of the summons, complaint, and initial order by first-class mail, postage prepaid, to the person to be served, together with two manuscripts of a Notice and Acknowledgment conforming substantially to Form 1-A and a return envelope, postage prepaid, addressed to the sender. Unless good cause is shown for not doing so, the Court shall order the payment by the party served of the costs incurred in securing an alternative method of service authorized by this Rule if the person served does not complete and return, within 20 days after mailing, the Notice and Acknowledgment of receipt of the summons. 

District of Columbia Superior Court Rule of Civil Procedure 4.1 

SUPERIOR COURT RULES OF CIVIL PROCEDURE
II. COMMENCEMENT OF ACTION; SERVICE OF PROCESS, PLEADINGS, MOTIONS, 

AND ORDERS
D.C. SCR-Civil Rule 4.1 (2008) 

Rule 4.1. Service of another process. 

(a) Generally. Process other than a summons as provided in Rule 4 or a subpoena as provided in Rule 45 may be served by a United States marshal, a deputy United States marshal, or unless otherwise provided by statute, by a person who is not a party and not less than 18 years of age, who shall make proof of service as provided in Rule 4(l). The process may be served anywhere within the District of Columbia and, when authorized by applicable statute, beyond the District of Columbia’s territorial limits. 

(b) Civil contempt proceedings. Orders in civil contempt proceedings shall be served in the District of Columbia or elsewhere within the United States if not more than 100 miles from the District of Columbia. 

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