This article will provide guidance on How To Serve legal papers in Mississippi. Immediately after the clerk receives the complaint in Mississippi, they will issue the summons.  This is the beginning of the procedure for Mississippi Process Service. The summons must be delivered to the sheriff of the county where the defendant lives. The summons must be served promptly, and a copy of the complaint must be provided to the person to whom the summons is given. Additional or separate summons may be issued against any defendants at the request of the plaintiff. Click Here for Frequently Asked Questions About Process Servers!

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There should be a date, a clerk’s signature, a seal of the court, a statement of the name and address of the court, the names of the parties, and a notice to the defendant. If there is no attorney, the notice should give the plaintiff’s address instead. If the defendant fails to appear and defend in accordance with these rules, judgment by default will be issued against him for the complaint’s relief. Unless Mississippi Process Service is accomplished by publication, the summons may alternatively include the names of the first party on either side and the name and address of the person to be served if there are many plaintiffs or defendants. Form 1A should be followed to the letter when the summons is served. The sheriff must deliver summonses in a manner that is essentially in accordance with Form 1AA. Click here for information on What Do Process Servers in Mississippi Do?

Any person who is not a party to the action or proceedings and is at least eighteen years old may serve a summons and complaint. When a summons and complaint are served by a process server, a portion of the sheriff’s fee for Mississippi Process Service may be recouped in action.

The sheriff must serve summons and complaints to a party or their counsel who requests service in writing and is authorized to do so. The sheriff must return the summons to the clerk of the court within thirty days of the day the summons was received by the sheriff. The individual tasked with delivering the summons and complaint must provide the court with evidence of the Mississippi Process Service as soon as possible. Affidavits must be signed by anybody other than a sheriff who performs service. The return is made by the sender submitting to the court the acknowledgment received. Mississippi Process Service requires the return of a returned receipt or an envelope marked ‘Refused’ if it is returned by mail. Proof of service is not required, and it does not impact its validity. Click here for information on Mississippi Rules of Civil Procedure

The court has the power to change any Mississippi Process Service or evidence of service at any time and on any conditions, it deems appropriate unless it is obvious that the party’s substantial rights against whom the process is issued will be adversely affected[1]. Click here for information on How Rush Process Service Can Expedite Your Case.

Mississippi Process Service in this manner may be done by mailing a copy of the summons and complaint to the person to be served (by first-class mail, postage prepaid), as well as two copies of a notice and acknowledgment substantially conforming to Form 1-B and a return envelope addressed to the sender, with postage prepaid.  If the sender receives no acknowledgment within twenty days from the date of mailing, the Mississippi Process Service of such summons and complaints may be effected in any other way allowed. Click here for information on How Service of Process Ensures A Solid Foundation.

Those who fail to comply with the summons within twenty days after sending the notification and acknowledgment of receipt must be ordered to pay the expenses of personal service. Under oath or affirmation, the notice and acceptance of receipt of summons and complaint must be signed. If the recipient is located outside of the state, Mississippi Process Service may be completed by certified mail. Additionally, a summons may be served on a person outside this state by delivering a copy of the summons and the complaint by certified mail, return receipt requested. The summons and complaint must be stamped ‘restricted delivery’ if the defendant is a natural person. Return receipts and/or returned envelopes marked ‘Refused’ will be accepted as proof of completion of Mississippi Process Service when using this method[2]. Click here for information on How Process Servers Protect Your Rights: Myths Debunked

If the defendant in any proceeding in a chancery court, or in any proceeding in any other court where process by publication is authorized by statute, be shown by sworn complaint or sworn petition, or by a filed affidavit, to be a nonresident of this state or not to be found therein on diligent inquiry, service by publication may be an option. A necessary precondition of Mississippi Process Service in this manner is that the post office address of such defendant is stated in the complaint, petition, or affidavit, or if it is stated in such sworn complaint or petition that the post office address of the defendant is not known to the plaintiff or petitioner after diligent inquiry[3]. In this case, the clerk, upon filing the complaint or petition, account, or other commencement of a proceeding, will then promptly prepare and publish a summons to the defendant to appear and defend the suit. There should be a copy of Form 1-C with the summons as a starting point.

The notice must be posted at the county courthouse door and published in a public newspaper in an adjacent county or at the seat of government of the county in which the complaint or petition or account, cause, or other proceeding is pending if there is one. Proof of the necessary publication must be submitted in the case after publication is complete. It is expected that the defendant will appear and defend within thirty days after the date of first publication. The post office address of a defendant is revealed. This information must be included unless it cannot be found after a thorough search and investigation, as specified in any complaint, petition, or affidavit listed.

If the plaintiff or petitioner requests that the summons be published, or if the publisher of the appropriate newspaper requests and pays for its publication, it is the clerk’s responsibility to do so. If the clerk has been provided with the defendant’s post office address, they must mail a copy of the summons and complaint to that address (via first-class mail, postage prepaid) and note on the general docket that the summons was issued and mailed and that this is evidence that the Mississippi Process Service was mailed to the defendant.

Delivering copies of the summons and the complaint to an officer, a managing or general agent, or any other person authorized by appointment or law to accept Mississippi Process Service against a domestic or foreign company or an unincorporated organization subject to litigation under a common name. A registered agent of the represented entity is authorized to receive Mississippi Process Service, notice, or demand required or permitted by law to be served on the entity. However, notice or demand on a registered agent must be in the form of a written document, except that notice or demand on a commercial registered agent may be made in other forms of a record.

In the event that an organic entity’s registration is canceled, withdrawn, or revoked, or the domestic organic entity is administratively dissolved or voluntarily dissolved under the applicable organic entity law, the Mississippi Process Service on the Secretary of State may be perfected.

A summons and complaint may also be served on the State of Mississippi and any of its departments, officials, or institutions by presenting a copy of the Mississippi Process Service to the Attorney General’s office. If an entity that previously filed a registered agent filing with the Secretary of State no longer has a registered agent, or if its registered agent cannot, with reasonable diligence, be served, the governors of the entity will be treated as the entity’s agent for service of process which may be served pursuant to the provisions of the Mississippi Rules of Civil Procedure. The names of the governors and the address of the principal office may be as shown in the most recent annual report filed with the Secretary of State. If the governors of the entity cannot, with reasonable diligence, be served, service of process against the entity will be upon the Secretary of State in accordance with the Mississippi Rules of Civil Procedure[4].

On a county level, the summons and complaint must be delivered to the president or clerk of that county’s board of supervisors. Delivery of the summons and complaint to a municipal corporation by delivering a copy to its mayor or clerk or may also be done by handing over the summons and complaint to the official responsible for the administration of the governmental entity, if any, or by serving the proper legal officer representing that entity. It is sufficient to provide Mississippi Process Service to any member of the ‘group’ or ‘body’ in charge of the administration of the organization.


Al summonses must be issued by a court clerk under seal, state court name and case number (if applicable), and require the person to whom it is addressed to appear and give testimony, as well as produce and allow inspection of and copying of specified books, documents or tangible things in their possession, custody or control at a time and location specified in the summons. The clerk will provide a signed and sealed subpoena to the party that requests it, but it will be left blank so that the party may fill it out before it is served. A summons to appear in a trial, hearing, or deposition may be issued in conjunction with a demand to produce or authorize inspection, or it can be issued alone.

The court in which the matter is underway will issue subpoenas for presence at a trial or hearing, attendance at a deposition, and production or inspection. A court clerk in the county where the deposition is to be taken may issue a subpoena for a deposition to be taken in a foreign action. Unless ordered otherwise by the court, the only location where a Mississippi citizen may be obliged to appear for deposition, production, or inspection is in the county in which he lives, works, or does business on a regular basis. It is permitted for a non-resident of the United States who is subpoenaed in this state to appear only in the county where they were served or in such other location as the court deems most convenient.

A sheriff or their deputy, or anybody else who is not a party and is at least eighteen years old, may serve a subpoena. The person served may either acknowledge Mississippi Process Service in writing on the subpoena or submit a return endorsed thereon as prima facie evidence of Mississippi Process Service. The subpoena must be served directly on the witness. The party issuing the subpoena must pay a non-party witness at the time of Mississippi Process Service the cost for one day’s attendance plus any mileage permitted by law unless the court grants an exception based on the witness’s demonstrated financial need. Costs and mileage do not need to be paid in advance when subpoenas are issued on behalf of a state agency or an officer.

There must be proof of service in the form of a statement signed by the person who served it and certifying the date and mode of Mississippi Process Service along with the county in which it was delivered, together with names and contact information for those who were served[5].

In cases where the subpoena requires the production or the disclosure of a trade secret or other confidential research and development, or commercial information that is not requested by any party, the court may order the appearance or production only if the conditions set forth in the subpoena are met. Unless required by a subpoena, a person ordered to produce and authorize examination and copying of certain books, papers, documents, or physical items, or to enable inspection of premises, is not required to present in person at the location of production or inspection. Except for a good reason proved by the court, no subpoena for production or inspection may be issued within ten days unless the subpoena’s requirements can be met within that[6].

When a subpoena serves on someone directly, they have ten days from the day the subpoena was served, whichever comes first, to file a written objection to an examination or copying of any or all of the designated items or the premises on the party serving the subpoena. Subpoenaed material may only be seen and copied under the court order from whence the subpoena was issued if an objection is filed. It is possible for the person who served the subpoena to petition for an order to compel production or inspection at any time after receiving notice of an objection.


Documents that must be produced in response to a subpoena must be produced in the manner in which they are normally preserved in the course of business or organized and labeled in accordance with the categories requested. Second, the claim of privilege or protection as trial preparation materials must be asserted explicitly when a subpoena-submitted piece of information is withheld. Documents, messages, or items not provided must be described in sufficient detail to allow the requesting party to challenge the claim.

Subpoenas may be issued only if a foreign subpoena is submitted in the county where the discovery is to be undertaken. Requesting a foreign subpoena does not mean that the individual going to appear in court for this case. A motion to quash or enter further orders may be made by the court on the motion of a party or of the person served with a subpoena for the production of books, papers, documents, or tangible things, if it can be shown that the subpoena power is being used in bad faith or unreasonably to annoy, embarrass, or oppress the party or the person served with the subpoena. As a result, the court has the authority to impose a suitable sentence.

A clerk of court in Mississippi must quickly issue a subpoena for Mississippi Process Service on the person to whom a foreign subpoena is addressed, in accordance with the Mississippi Process Service of that court. The phrases used in the international subpoena must be included in the domestic subpoena, and the names, addresses, and telephone numbers of all counsel of record and any party not represented by counsel must be included in or accompany the domestic subpoena.


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[1] For any defendant not served within 120 days of the complaint being filed, the action shall be dismissed without prejudice upon notice to such party, the court’s own initiative, or upon motion, with notice to that party. Alternatively, if a party fails to show good cause why service was not made, the action shall be dismissed as to that defendant.

[2] If a defendant is not an unmarried minor, mentally incompetent, or a felon, they may waive Mississippi Process Service and enter their appearance in any action without filing any pleadings, with the same effect as if they were duly served with process on the date of the action. The defendant must either sign and date a written waiver or entry of presence, or their signature must be shown by two subscribing witnesses before an officer is competent to administer oaths. Anyone who is a guardian or conservator or an executor, administrator, or trustee may also waive the procedure on themselves and their respective wards. It must be stated on the general docket that the written waiver of service or the admission of presence must be signed after the date of enactment of the action.

[3] Or if the affidavit be made by another for the plaintiff or petitioner, that such post office address is unknown to the affiant after diligent inquiry and he believes it is unknown to the plaintiff or petitioner after a diligent inquiry by the plaintiff or petitioner

[4] Service of process, notice, or demand may be perfected by any other means prescribed by law other than this chapter, including provisions in the organic entity laws that provide for service of process on the Secretary of State in the event that registration of an organic entity has been canceled, withdrawn or revoked or the domestic organic entity has been administratively dissolved or voluntarily dissolved under the applicable organic entity statute.

[5] Upon timely motion, the court that issued the subpoena may quash or modify the subpoena if it: (1) does not provide adequate time for compliance; (2) requires disclosure of privileged or other protected information for which no exception or waiver is applicable; (3) designates an inappropriate location for examination; or (4) subjects a person to an excessive burden or expense.

[6] Rule 5 mandates that each party gets a copy of all subpoenas promptly. Rule 26 governs the use of subpoenas to compel production or inspection


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