This article will provide guidance on How To Serve legal papers in Hawaii. Firstly, it must be known that unless a district or circuit court judge authorizes delivery outside of business hours, summonses must restrict personal delivery between 10:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m. on locations not accessible to the public. Click Here for Frequently Asked Questions About Process Servers!

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There is no limit as to where a sheriff’s deputy, a person nominated by the court for that purpose, or a person who is not a party who is at least eighteen years old may search the state of Hawai’i.


The clerk should immediately issue a summons and give it to the plaintiff or the plaintiff’s attorney, who will cause the summons and a copy of the complaint to be served in accordance with Hawai’i Process Service upon the filing of the complaint. A second or supplemental summons may be issued against any defendants if requested by the plaintiff required by Hawaii Process Service. Click here for information on How Rush Process Service Can Expedite Your Case.

The summons should be signed and sealed by the court clerk and include the court’s name, the parties’ names, and the date on which the order was issued.  If the plaintiff has an attorney, it is necessary to include the name and location of that attorney. Otherwise, provide the plaintiff’s address to fulfill the requirements of Hawai’i Process Service. In the event of the defendant’s failure to comply with Hawai’i Process Service guidelines, a judgment by default will be issued against the defendant for the relief sought in the complaint, and the defendant will be notified. Click here for information on How Service of Process Ensures A Solid Foundation.


If the summons is not obeyed, an entry of default and a default judgment may be entered against the person called.  A summons, notice, or order issued in place of a summons must be as similar as possible to the summons or notice required by the legislation or other forms of Hawaii Rules of Civil Procedure.

The sheriff, the head of police, or any other person specially chosen by court for that purpose, or any other person who is not a party and is not less than eighteen years old, will serve all Hawaii Process Service wherever in the State. However, Rule 45 permits the service of a subpoena. Click here for information on How Process Servers Protect Your Rights: Myths Debunked


Individuals may be served either personally by handing them a copy of the summons and complaint or, if they cannot be located, by leaving the Hawaii Process Service with a responsible adult resident at their usual residence.  In the alternative, by delivering a copy to an agent designated by appointment or by law to receive service, Hawai’i Process Service can be properly enacted. 

A summons and complaint may be served on an infant, a domestic or foreign corporation or partnership, or any other entity through the use of an agent designated by appointment or by law to receive Hawai’i Process Service, as well as the defendant if the agent is one designated by the state to receive service and the Hawai’i Process Service statute so requires.

No matter where in the state, Hawaii Process Service is required, it must be carried out in accordance with the terms and conditions set out in the legislation or order. Territorial boundaries that can be effectively served will also provide a major reference point for the jurisdiction of the court over the person being served. In the event that a legislation or court ruling permits it, any Hawaii Process Service may be served anywhere in the state and even outside its borders.

The person who serves the Hawaii Process Service must provide evidence of service to the court as soon as possible and no later than the deadline for the recipient to reply to the Hawaii Process Service. Affidavits of service must be signed by the person delivering the Hawai’i Process Service documents, whether that person is a court-appointed agent or an authorized process server.

The court has the power to change any Hawai’i Process Service or evidence of service at any time and under any conditions it deems appropriate unless it is obvious that considerable harm will be caused to the substantial rights of the person against whom the Hawaii Process Service was issued.

The actual cost of serving Hawaii Process Service, regardless of whether it is done by public or private service providers, should be identified accurately. The court may award this additional cost to a prevailing plaintiff in addition to any costs allowed by statute or rule, provided that the amount shall not exceed the permitted statutory amount for Hawaii Process Service by sheriffs or officers.

Any person authorized to serve Hawaii Process Service where a defendant is located or specially appointed by the court to serve the Hawai’i Process Service may do personal service to the defendant outside of the State. If the person follows these requirements for personal service, the Hawaii Process Service will be evidenced either by return of the serving officer or affidavit and shall have the same legal force and validity as if served within the State.’

The plaintiff or the plaintiff’s attorney may serve the defendant personally, or by certified, registered, or express mail, postage prepaid, with a return receipt requested, or by sending the summons to the defendant by certified, registered, or express mail, postage prepaid, with a return receipt requested. An affidavit stating that the summons and complaint were served or delivered by certified, registered, or express mail, as required, must be submitted with the affidavit by either the plaintiff or the plaintiff’s attorney, together with the defendant’s signed return receipt. Upon delivery of the requisite documents to the defendant outside of the state, physically or by mail as specified, the Hawai’i Process Service will be completed and considered complete.

In cases where the defendant cannot be located to serve or mail the summons, the court may order that Hawai’i Process Service be made through the publication of summons in at least one newspaper published in the State and having a general circulation in the circuit in which the action has been instituted, in such manner and for such time as the court may order.


 The clerk will issue a summons as soon as the complaint is filed. An authorized process server must receive the complaint and summons for service on behalf of the plaintiff. Additional or separate summons may be issued against any defendants at the request of the plaintiff.

There is a Hawaii Process Service provision prohibiting personal delivery of the summons between midnight and six in the morning on non-public premises unless a district or circuit court judge specifically permits it in writing on the summons. Furthermore, there is a warning included in the summons to the person summoned that failure to comply with Hawaii Process Service could lead to default and default judgment being entered.

To serve a summons and complaint on anyone other than an infant or an incompetent person, the summons and complaint may be delivered to the person in person or -if the person cannot be located- Hawai’i Process Service copies may be left at the person’s residence or usual place of abode with a person of appropriate age and discretion then residing there, or a representative authorized may serve the summons and complaint.

The summons and complaint must be served on an officer, general manager, or other agent designated by appointment or by law to receive Hawaii Process Service, or, if the agent is one designated by statute, by mailing a copy of the summons and complaint to the unincorporated association or partnership that is being sued under the common name.

The attorney general or an assistant attorney general or a deputy attorney general who has been appointed by that attorney general must be served with a copy of the summons and the complaint.


A copy of the summons and the complaint must be sent to an official or agency of the state and served on that person or entity.  When Hawaii Process Service is required to be enacted upon a  county, as authorized by legislation or the county charter, or by giving to the corporation counsel or county attorney or any of their deputies, a copy of the summons and the complaint may be delivered.

If an official or agency of a county is served and a complaint and summons are delivered to them, then this is considered valid Hawaii Process Service, and the summons and complaint are delivered. An order from the court must be served on an individual who is not a resident of the state in the way and manner required by the legislation or court order. This includes summons, notification, and other forms of service. If legislation or court order specifies that a summons, notice, or order in lieu of summons must be served by publishing, then the publication must take place in the manner and under the Hawaii Process Service conditions specified by the statute or order. 

The geographic area where effective service may be provided. In the event that a legislation or court ruling permits it, any Hawai’i Process Service may be served anywhere in Hawaii and even outside its borders.

 It is the responsibility of the person delivering the Hawai’i Process Service to provide the court with evidence of service quickly and in any case within the period during which the person served must react. Affidavits of service must be made by anybody designated by the court to serve papers.

All papers related to discovery that must be served on a party unless the court orders otherwise, all written motions other than those that may be heard ex parte, and all written notices, appearances, demands, briefs or memoranda of law, offers of judgment and bills of costs that are required to be served by Hawaii Process Service terms. A party represented by an attorney is required or allowed to be served under these rules if Hawaii Process Service is necessary or permitted to be made on the attorney unless the court orders Hawaii Process Service on that party.

There may be circumstances where the court can order that service of defendants’ pleadings and replies thereto not be made as between the defendants and that any cross-claim, counterclaim, or matter constituting an avoidance or affirmative defense contained therein will be deemed to be denied or avoided by all other parties and that the filing of any suit. A copy of every order issued by the court must be delivered to the parties in accordance with the court’s Hawaii Process Service instructions.

 Pleadings and other documents must be submitted to the court’s clerk unless the judge permits Hawai’i Process Service to be filed directly, in which case the judge must mark the date of filing and immediately forward them to the clerk’s office as required by Hawai’i Process Service rules.

Suppose any Hawaii Process Service papers are offered in evidence or presented as an exhibit in support of a motion or at trial. In that case, they must be filed with the court in order to avoid their being lost in the shuffle. This includes depositions and interrogatories. A discovery order may also be issued by the court at any moment, either ex parte or sua sponte.


Subpoenas must be issued under the seal of the court, stating the name of the court and the name of the action, and the clerk must demand each individual to present and testify at the time and location stated. An unsigned and sealed blank subpoena will be sent to the party seeking it, and the party must fill it up before serving.

It is also possible for a subpoena to demand that a specific person produce a specific set of documents or other tangible items. However, a motion to quash or modify this subpoena must be made promptly and in any event before the time specified for compliance, or, if it is deemed unreasonable and oppressive, it may be conditioned upon the advancement of a reasonable explanation by whoever is requesting it.

Generally, a subpoena may be served by anybody over eighteen, as long as they are not a party to the case. The individual identified in the subpoena shall be served with a copy of the subpoena and the fees and mileage authorized by law for one day’s attendance, which shall be delivered to that person. Subpoenas issued on behalf of the State, an official, or an agency are exempt from the requirement that costs and travel be paid upfront.

In order for the clerk of the district court to issue subpoenas to the individuals mentioned or described therein, a party’s request is sufficient authorization. Subpoenaed documents may be inspected or copied only if the person to whom the subpoena is addressed files a written objection within ten days of the serving of the subpoena or within the period stated in the subpoena for compliance if such time is less than ten days after Hawaii Process Service. Subpoenaed papers may only be seen and copied under the court order from whence the subpoena was issued if an objection is raised.

The copy must [A.] Include a specific citation since the secretary of state may refuse to accept such service if the proper citation is not included; [B.] be accompanied by a fee of ten dollars. The secretary of state will keep a copy of the legal process received in their office for at least one year after receipt and will make those records available for public inspection during normal business hours.

how to domesticate an OUT-OF-STATE SUBPOENA in hawaii

Issuing an out-of-state subpoena pursuant to the Uniform Interstate Deposition and Discovery Act (UIDDA)-Hawaii, the clerk of the court in the county where discovery is to be performed in this state must be presented with a foreign subpoena before it may be requested that a subpoena be issued under this section. Subpoenas issued under this law do not obligate a person to appear in court in Hawaii.

Second, the clerk of a court in this state must swiftly issue a summons to the person to whom the international subpoena is sent, in line with that court’s process.

A subpoena issued for a foreign defendant must include: [A.]   the terminology appropriate for the subpoena from abroad; and [B.]  part of the subpoena, it must include or be accompanied by the names, addresses, and phone numbers of all counsel of record and of any party that counsel does not represent.


Documents can be faxed at (800) 296-0115, emailed to, or uploaded to our website. We do require prepayment and accept all major credit and debit cards. Once payment is processed, your sales receipt is immediately emailed for your records.

Drop-offs must call and make an appointment first to be added to building security to permit access to our office. Documents for service must be in a sealed envelope with payment in the form of a money order or attorney check (WE DO NOT ACCEPT CASH) payable to UNDISPUTED LEGAL INC.; Our receptionist will receive all documents.  Click Here for Frequently Asked Questions About Process Servers!


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Pick up the phone and call Toll-Free (800) 774-6922 or click the service you want to purchase. Our dedicated team of professionals is ready to assist you. We can handle all your process service needs; no job is too small or too large!  For a complete list of our Hawaii Process Service Coverage Areas, Click Here!

Contact us for more information about our process-serving agency. We are ready to provide service of process to all our clients globally from our offices in New York, Brooklyn, Queens, Long Island, Westchester, New Jersey, Connecticut, and Washington, D.C.

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1. Applicable solely to District Courts if the amount in issue does not exceed $25,000] RULE 77(f)

2. Under the provisions of Sections 634-33, 634-34, or 634-35,

3. But not less than once each week in four successive weeks. 

4. To be valid, a summons must be (1) signed by the clerk and sealed by the court, (2) contain the name of the court, the names of the parties, and the date of issue, and (3) be addressed to the defendant, (4) list any attorney for the plaintiff if any, or the plaintiff’s address, and (5) list the deadline for the defendant to appear and defend under these rules, and notify the defendant that if the defendant fails to appear and defend within that timeframe, the court will proceed without the defendant.

5. The summons, notification, or order in place of a summons should be as close as possible to that required by the legislation or regulation when service is made under Rule 4(e).

6. If there is no guardian of the infant’s property or service cannot be made on such a guardian, then as provided by order of the court and if the infant is 16 years of age or older, also to the infant; and if there is an incompetent person, then by delivering a copy of the summons and complaint personally to the incompetent person and to the guardian of the incompetent person.

7. The case title must be omitted from the publication of the summons in accordance with Hawai’i Revised Statutes 634-23, 634-26, and 634-36, and the summons must follow Form 1-A of the Appendix of Forms.

8. Non-JEFS Users must be served traditionally, and any subsequent paperwork, including a certificate of service, must be filed with the court before or within a reasonable time following service. Except as authorized, all papers filed with the court must be served on all parties to the case either electronically via JEFS or traditionally for non-JEFS Users.

9. Except as otherwise provided in the Rules, a clerk may not reject a document for filing only because it does not meet the requirements of these regulations


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