This article will provide guidance on New Hampshire Rules of Civil Procedure. Disclaimer: Due to the law’s rapidly changing nature, there will be times when the material on this site will not be current. It is provided for general information and is not intended as legal advice. It should not be considered comprehensive or exhaustive and is not a substitute for advice from your attorney. We make no express or implied warranty as to the material’s accuracy, reliability, completeness, timeliness, or appropriateness for a particular purpose, including applicability to your jurisdiction or circumstances. We assume no liability for any direct, indirect, or consequential damages resulting from your reliance on this material; you do so at your own risk. Seek the advice of an attorney. Comments, corrections, or suggestions should be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org. The information listed below may have been amended. For updated process serving legislation, please visit the New Hampshire Courts website.
New Hampshire Process Service Requirement
Chapter 104 – Sheriffs and constables
New Hampshire Rules of Civil Procedure. 104:4 Special Deputy.
A sheriff may appoint a special deputy for the service and return of any process, by warrant endorsed thereon, in the manner heretofore practiced.
Source. RS 178:6, 8. CS 189:6, 8. GS 197:2. GL 216:2. PS 212:2. PL 324:2. RL 380:2.
New Hampshire Rules of Civil Procedure. 104:5 Duties.
I. The sheriff and the sheriff’s deputies shall serve and execute all writs and other precepts directed to the sheriff’s department and issued from a lawful authority.
II. The sheriff and the sheriff’s deputies and bailiffs shall perform the duties of crier of the court.
III. The sheriff’s bailiffs shall provide adequate security in all state courts, except the supreme court.
IV. The sheriff’s bailiffs shall comply with such background investigation checks, physical and mental standards, and training appropriate to their duties as the police standards and training council may require. The council shall consult with the New Hampshire Sheriffs Association and the courts’ administrative office before adopting these standards.
Source. RS 178:9. CS 189:9. GS 197:3. GL 216:3. PS 212:3. PL 324:3. RL 380:3. RSA 104:5. 1998, 297:3, eff. Jan. 1, 1999.
New Hampshire Rules of Civil Procedure. 104:6 Powers.
Sheriffs and their deputies shall have throughout the state the same power and authority to serve criminal or civil processes, investigate crimes and pursue and apprehend criminals that they have in their respective counties.
Source. 1911, 147:1. PL 324:4. RL 380:4.
New Hampshire Rules of Civil Procedure. 104:7 Interest in Suit.
When the sheriff is a party or related to either party or interested in the suit, a bill in equity, or another process, the writ or other process in such action may be served by the sheriff or deputy sheriff of any other county or by his deputy. The sheriff may serve writs or another process upon his deputies, and the official bond of the sheriff’s deputies shall protect him, the same as in other cases where he is not a party. The bond of the sheriff shall protect his deputies on whom he may serve process. But nothing in this section shall prevent a sheriff or his deputy from serving process or levying execution himself in any case in which he is plaintiff by a receiptor given to him.
Source. RS 179:3. CS 190:3. GS 197:4. GL 216:4. PS 212:4. 1905, 52:2. 1917, 51:1. PL 324:5. 1937, 19:1. RL 380:5.
New Hampshire Rules of Civil Procedure. 104:8 Limitation.
No sheriff, deputy sheriff, or constable is disqualified from serving a writ or other precept. A town or other corporation is a party because he is a citizen of the town or a corporation’s member.
Source. 1844, 140. CS 189:32. GS 197:6. GL 216:6. PS 212:6. 1903, 134:15. 1905, 52:2. PL 324:6. RL 380:6.
New Hampshire Rules of Civil Procedure. 104:9 Constables.
Constables shall serve and return writs and other civil precepts to them directed wherein the amount demanded in damages does not exceed $75, and no others, and shall have similar powers and be subject to similar liabilities in relation thereto as sheriffs.
Source. RS 179:5. CS 190:5. GS 197:5. 1875, 9:1. GL 216:5. PS 212:5. 1917, 136:1. PL 324:7. RL 380:7.
New Hampshire Rules of Civil Procedure. 104:10 Neglect of Duty.
If any such officer refuses or neglects to serve a legal precept to him directed and delivered for service, his fees, therefore, being first tendered, or without such tender in criminal cases when the precept is endorsed by the attorney general or solicitor, or by the clerk by order of the court, he shall forfeit $50 to any person aggrieved thereby who shall sue therefor within 3 months.
Source. RS 178:10. CS 189:10. GS 197:7. GL 216:7. PS 212:7. PL 324:8. RL 380:8.
New Hampshire Rules of Civil Procedure. 104:11 Liability for Fees.
No attorney shall be personally liable to any sheriff or other officer authorized to serve process for his fees or expenses incurred in the service of any writ or other process placed in his hands for service, except upon an express contract to pay the fees and expenses thereon. But said officer should have a right of action against the person suing out such process.
Source. 1899, 20:1. PL 324:9. RL 380:9.
New Hampshire Rules of Civil Procedure. 104:12 Requiring Aid.
An officer with the authority to serve process or make an arrest may require suitable aid in his office’s execution. Any person who neglects or refuses to give such aid when so required shall be fined not more than $20.
Source. RS 178:12. CS 189:12. GS 197:8. GL 216:8. PS 212:8. PL 324:10. RL 380:10.
Chapter 510 – Service of writs
New Hampshire Rules of Civil Procedure. 510:1 Time; Where Returnable.
All original writs and writs of mesne process shall be served 14 days before the return day to which they are returnable and shall be returnable to the superior court for Rockingham County at Exeter; Strafford County at Dover; Belknap County at Laconia; Carroll County at Ossipee; Merrimack County at Concord; Hillsborough County at either Manchester or Nashua, as is appropriate; Cheshire County at Keene; Sullivan County at Newport; Grafton County at Woodsville in the town of Haverhill; and Coos County at Lancaster.
Source. RS 183:1. CS 194:1. GS 204:1. GL 223:1. 1881, 70:1. 1883, 22:1. PS 219:1. PL 331:1. RL 387:1. 1947, 121:2. RSA 510:1. 1955, 63:1. 1969, 174:2. 1983, 382:20, eff. Jan. 1, 1986.
All writs and other processes shall be served by giving to the defendant or leaving at his abode an attested copy thereof, except in cases otherwise provided for.
Source. RS 183:2. CS 194:2. GS 204:2. GL 223:2. 1883, 22: 1. PS 219:2. 1893, 67:6. PL 331:2. RL 387:2. RSA 510:2. 1971, 179:10, eff. Aug. 10, 1971.
510:2-a Contents of Writs and Processes.
All writs and other processes shall at the time that they are served upon the defendant, indicate on the such writ or process the time, place, and mode of service made upon the defendant and shall further indicate any attachments made upon the property of the defendant and the time, place and method of such attachments. Such information shall be placed upon the writ by the sheriff, deputy sheriff, or other person authorized by law who has done such service.
Source. 1973, 260:1, eff. Aug. 21, 1973.
510:4 Nonresident Defendant.
I. JURISDICTION. Any person who is not an inhabitant of this state and who, in person or through an agent, transacts any business within this state, commits a tortious act within this state, or has the ownership, use, or possession of any real or personal property situated in this state submits himself, or his representative, to the jurisdiction of the courts of this state as to any cause of action arising from or growing out of the acts enumerated above.
II. SERVICE OF PROCESS ON SECRETARY OF STATE. Service of process upon any person subject to this state’s jurisdiction, as provided in this section, may be made by leaving a copy thereof, with a fee of $10, in the hands or office of the secretary of state. Such service shall be of the same legal force and effect as if served on the defendant at his abode or business in the state or country where he resides. According to the law of that state or country, provided that notice thereof and a copy of the process is forthwith sent by registered mail, postage prepaid, by the plaintiff or his attorney to the defendant at his last known abode or place of business in the state or country in which the defendant resides. The defendant’s return receipt and an affidavit of the plaintiff or attorney of compliance with the section shall be appended to the process and entered therewith. If the notice and a copy of the process are not delivered to or accepted by the defendant, the court may order such additional notice, if any, as justice may require.
III. RECORD OF PROCESS. The secretary of state shall keep a record of all processes served by this section, and said record should show the date and hour of service in the hands or office of the secretary of state.
IV. CONTINUANCE OF ACTION; COSTS. The court in which the action is pending may order such continuances as necessary to afford the defendant a reasonable opportunity to defend the action. The fee of $3 paid to the secretary of state by the plaintiff at the time of the service shall be taxed in his costs if he prevails in his suit.
V. SERVICE NOT EXCLUSIVE. The method of service provided by this section is not exclusive, and service to nonresident individuals may be made in any other manner provided by law.
Source. RS 183:5. CS 194:5. GS 204:5. GL 223:5. PS 219:5. PL 331:4. RL 387:4. RSA 510:4. 1969, 305:1. 1989, 408:78, eff. Aug. 4, 1989.
510:6 – Scire Facias.
A writ of scire facias may be served if the defendant is not an inhabitant of the state, on the attorney who appeared for him in the original action, or as otherwise provided in RSA 510:4.
Source. RS 183:7. CS 194:9. GS 204:7. GL 223:7. PS 219:7. PL 331:6. RL 387:6.
510:8 Other Notice.
When the defendant is not an inhabitant of the state, and no mode of serving the writ is prescribed, or service thereof cannot be made in the mode prescribed, the action may be entered in court, and such notice ordered as the case requires. A notice of the suit’s pendency, given according to the order, shall be sufficient service.
Source. CS 194:7. 1852, 1297. GS 204:9. GL 223:9. PS 219:9. PL 331:8. RL 387:8.
Where any court orders notice by publication in a newspaper upon any petition, writ, or another similar process, the original of which is upon file in such court, it shall be sufficient to publish a citation containing the title of the case, the name of the court in which it is pending, the time and place of the return and hearing, the fact that such original is on file and may be examined by interested parties and such other facts as the court may order.
Source. 1911, 4:1. PL 331:9. RL 387:9.
510:10 Defendant County, etc.
Where any court orders notice by publication in a newspaper upon any petition, writ, or another similar process, the original of which is upon file in such court, it shall be sufficient to publish a citation containing the title of the case, the name of the court in which it is pending, the time and place of the return and hearing, the fact that such original is on file and may be examined by interested parties and such other facts as the court may order service of writs against counties may be made upon one of the county commissioners and the treasurer for the county; against cities, upon the mayor or one of the aldermen and the city clerk; against towns, upon one of the selectmen and the town clerk; against school districts, upon one of the members of the school board and the clerk of the district; and against village districts, upon one of the commissioners and the clerk of the district.
Source. RS 183:8, 9, 10. CS 194:10, 11, 12. GS 204:10. GL 223:10. PS 219:10. PL 331:10. RL 387:10. RSA 510:10. 1983, 383:71, eff. July 1, 1984.
510:11 Service on Inhabitant, When.
Suppose any of the offices specified in RSA 510:10 is vacant. In that case, the service otherwise to be made upon the incumbent of such office may be made instead upon one of the principal inhabitants of the county, city, town, or district.
Source. RS 183:8. CS 194:10. GS 204:11. GL 223:11. PS 219: 11. PL 331:11. RL 387:11.
510:12 On Town Clerk.
Whenever service of process or attachment is required to be made by leaving a copy at the abode of a town or city clerk, it shall be deemed sufficient service if the copy is left at his office, in case he has an office separate from his dwelling house.
Source. 1889, 73:1. PS 219:12. PL 331:12. RL 387:12.
Service of writs or another process against unincorporated associations, joint-stock companies, limited liability companies, syndicates, orders or any mutual association of persons, other than a partnership having not more than 4 members, within this state may, except when otherwise provided, be made upon any officer thereof, or, if it has no official, then upon any 2 members thereof.
Source. RS 183:9. CS 194:11. GS 204:12. GL 223:12. PS 219:13. 1917, 138:1. PL 331:14. RL 387:14. RSA 510:13. 1993, 313:13, eff. July 1, 1993.
Service of writs against other corporations may be made upon the clerk, treasurer, cashier, or one of the directors, trustees or managers, if any, in the state, and otherwise upon any principal member or stockholder, or upon any agent, overseer, or other person having the care of any of the property or charge of any of the business of the corporation.
Source. RS 183:9. CS 194:11. GS 204:12. GL 223:12. PS 219: 13. 1917, 138:1. PL 331:13. RL 387:13.
510:15 – Railroads.
Service of writs against a railroad corporation may be made upon any person doing the corporation’s business as ticket master for the sale of passenger tickets at any station upon its railroad.
Source. GS 204:13. GL 223:13. PS 219:14. PL 331:15. RL 387: 15.
510:16 – Manufacturing Corporations.
Service of a writ against a manufacturing corporation may be made by leaving an attested copy of the writ at the corporation’s office or counting-room.
Source. 1873, 17:1. GL 223:14. PS 219:15. PL 331:16. RL 387:16.
510:17 Trustee Process Return.
In the return of service of trustee process against a corporation, the officer shall set forth the hour when the copy was given or left.
Source. GS 204:15. GL 223:15. PS 219:16. PL 331:17. RL 387:17.
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