Australia Process Service

Process service, also known as "service of process,” is the procedure employed to give an appropriate notice of initial legal action to another party (such as a defendant), court, or administrative body in an effort to exercise jurisdiction over that person so as to enable that person to respond to the proceeding before the court, body, or other tribunal. Notice is furnished by delivering a set of court documents (called "process") to the person to be served.

Australia PROCESS SERVERs

Australia process servers serve civil and commercial matters pursuant to the Hague Service Convention, which is a multilateral treaty adopted in Hague, Netherlands on November 15, 1965, by member states of the Hague Conference on Private International Law. It came into existence to give litigants a reliable and efficient means of serving the documents on parties living, operating or based in another country. The provisions of the convention apply to service of process in civil and commercial matters but not criminal matters. Also, the Convention shall not apply if the address of the person to be served with the document is not known.

Method of Service

New South Wales:

The documents are served on a person by means of personal service by the Sheriff of New South Wales with the request of the Supreme Court of New South Wales.

Personal service of a document on a person is effected by leaving a copy of the document with the person, or, if the person does not accept the copy, by putting the copy down in the person's presence and informing the person of the fact that the document has been so placed. If the person is not at home, personal service is effected by leaving the documents addressed to the person, with a person who is apparently of or above the age of 16 years residing at that address.  In the case of a person having an address for service that is a solicitor's office address, service is attempted at the solicitor's office by leaving the documents with a person employed at that address.

Service of a document on a Corporation is effected by personally serving the document on the Corporation in any manner in which service of such a document may, by law, be served on the Corporation.

Service of a document on a prisoner or an inmate is effected by leaving the document with the General Manager of a Correctional Centre where the prisoner or an inmate is held.

Note: Request for service to a Post Office Box number, DX number or service transmission of documents electronically is not accepted in New South Wales.

Voluntary or informal delivery of documents (Article 5(2)) is carried out in the same manner as above.

Victoria:

As above for New South Wales. A Sheriff's Officer, detailing whether service has been successful or not, completes an affidavit of service. This indicates how the addressee was identified or reasons that service could not be affected. All relevant documents are sent back to the Foreign Service Officer for the Certificate of Service to be completed. Documents are then returned to the Applicant.

If the requesting authority has stipulated they require voluntary service to be affected, the process is carried out in the same manner as above. However, the addressee may refuse to accept the documents when being served by a Sheriff's Officer under this method. This is reflected in the affidavit, returned to the Court and deemed unsuccessful. Documents are then returned to the Applicant.

Queensland:

If the request is compliant with the Convention, service is effected by either a bailiff of the court or an enforcement officer.

Personal service on an individual is effected by locating the person to be served and identifying them, generally by asking their identity, and then giving them the documents to be served.

If service of the documents is required on a corporation, then service will ordinarily be attended to by delivering the documents and leaving them with a person at the registered address of the corporation.

If service of the documents is required on a business that is not a registered corporation, then service is effected by delivering the documents and leaving with them with a person at the business address who appears to be in control or management of the business.

Please note that service cannot be effected by sending documents to or leaving them at a Post Office Box address.

Voluntary service is carried out by either a bailiff of the court or an enforcement officer.  The bailiff or enforcement officer will locate the person to be served, identify them (by asking them to confirm their name) and will then ask if they will voluntarily accept service of the documents. If so, the documents or a copy of them will be left with that person.

Please note that Voluntary Service cannot be effected on a Post Office Box address.

Western Australia:

Official service is carried out pursuant to the Supreme Court Rules 1971 (WA) under Order 11A.

If these requirements are met, the request is processed through the Supreme Court and passed to the Sheriff to organize personal service.

Upon receipt the Sheriff will organize for one of his Officers to effect service and when service is effected an Affidavit will be completed by the Sheriff's office. This Affidavit is forwarded to the Supreme Court and upon receipt, the Principal Registrar produces the Certificate of Service of Foreign Process which is signed and sealed.  Attached to that Certificate is the Sheriff's Affidavit and annexes being the documents that were in fact served.  These documents are then forwarded to the State Solicitor's Office.  Upon receipt the State Solicitor's Office transmits that Certificate, Affidavit and annexures to the requesting authorities.  A notation and request is also made with regards to payment of service fees which are paid in advance by the State Solicitor's Office.

The process for voluntary service is basically the same as above apart from the fact that in some instances, no translation of the documentation is provided apart from the original request and if that is the case, voluntary service will be carried out on the condition that the person being served is happy to accept the documentation in that form. An Affidavit of Service is prepared by the Sheriff's Officer annexing the document that was served.

The Principal Registrar of the Supreme Court of Western Australia will produce a Certificate for documents that are not translated but he cannot certify what has been delivered other than a document in a foreign language.

South Australia:

The documents are transferred to the Sheriff who arranges for the documents to be forwarded to the Process Server. The Process Server will attend at the address shown and attempt to serve the documents. If successful an affidavit of service would be completed.

If the person is no longer at the stated address, inquiries would be made with neighbors to try to ascertain the current address.  The Process Server would follow specific instructions relating to the service of the documents as provided by the applicant. For example, requiring the signature of the recipient. If the applicant has requested a particular method of service and that method is compatible with the law in force in this jurisdiction that method would be used.

Voluntary service

There are no recent precedents in South Australia.

Tasmania:

If the applicant has requested a particular method of service and that method is compatible with the law in force in Tasmania, service will be by that method (Supreme Court Rules 2000 (Tas), r.9700 (3)(b)).

If the applicant has not requested a particular method of service and the person accepts the document voluntarily by delivery of the document to the person to be served (Supreme Court Rules 2000 (Tas), r.9700 (3)(c)).

Unless a specific method of service is directed, a notice or document may be served on a natural person by giving it to the person or by leaving it at or posting it to that person's residential or business address. A document may be served on any other person by leaving it at or posting it to the person's principal or registered office or principal place of business. (Acts Interpretation Act 1931 (Tas), s.29AB).

Where service by post is permitted it shall be deemed to be effected by properly addressing, prepaying and posting the documents as a letter. Further, unless the contrary is proved service shall be deemed to be effected at the time the letter would be delivered in the ordinary course of post. A document required to be sent through registered post must be duly registered or, unless contrary intention appears, be sent through a certified mail service as provided for by postal regulations in force at the time. (Acts Interpretation Act 1931 (Tas), s.30)

Australian Capital Territory:

The request for service must be sent to the ACT Supreme Court by the Attorney General of the Commonwealth or forwarding authority. The Court arranges for service of: the document to be served, the summary of the document, and a copy of the request for service (Court Procedure Rules 2006 (ACT), rule 6564). This is ordinarily served by a Sheriff's Officer of the Supreme Court.

Voluntary service is carried out in the same way as official service as described above i.e. the request must be sent to the Supreme Court which arranges for service See Court Procedure Rules 2006 (ACT), rule 6564.

Northern Territory:

Information on the Northern Territory is not available at this stage.

Timeline For Execution

Service in Australia can currently take up to 3 months or more. It varies according to the state or territory that the request is sent to as they may have different ways of processing service requests. It also depends on where in Australia the person resides. If the person is in a remote location, the time for execution of the service request will be longer than if the person lives in a central location.

Requests for urgent service are considered, but it may not always be possible to assist with expediting the request.

Translation requirements

No translations are required for voluntary service. For all other methods of service please refer below.

New South Wales:

11A.13 of the Uniform Civil Procedure Rules 2005 (NSW) requires the documents to be served and its translation in English. Please note: the translation must bear a certificate (in English), signed by the translator stating:

  • that the translation is an accurate translation of the document
  • the translator's full name and address, and
  • his or her qualifications for making the translations

Victoria:

Where the documents to be served (including request forms) are not in the English language, they must bear a certificate (in English) signed by the translator stating:

  • that the translation is an accurate translation of the documents;
  • the translator's full name and address and his or her qualifications for making the translation.

See Order 80.13(2) and (3) of the Supreme Court (General Civil Procedure) Rules 2005 (VIC).

Queensland:

The foreign civil process to be served must be translated into English and provided in duplicate pursuant to Rule 130 of the Uniform Civil Procedure Rules 1999 (Qld). The documents forwarded for service must be duly certified by the translator to be a true and correct translation of the documents to be served.

Western Australia:

Documents to be served must be translated into English. Any translation that is provided must bear a Certificate in English (signed by the translator) stating that the translation is an accurate translation of the document and the translator's full name and address and his/her qualifications for making the translation. The Certificate is required pursuant to Rule 11A 3(2) of the Supreme Court Rules 1971 (WA).

South Australia:

Rule 41M of the Supreme Court Civil Rules 2006 (SA) deals with translation requirements.

Subrule (2) provides that where a document to be submitted is not in English it must be accompanied by an English translation of the document.  Any translation required under sub-rule (2)(d)) must bear a certificate (in English) signed by the translator stating:

  • that the translation is an accurate translation of the document, and
  • the translator's full name and address and his or her qualifications for making the translation.

Tasmania:

Any documents in a language other than English must be accompanied by an English translation (Supreme Court Rules 2000 (Tas), r.970M(2)(b)). Any translated documents must bear a certificate (in English) signed by the translator stating the translation is an accurate translation of the document as well as the translator's full name and address and his or her qualifications for making the translation (Supreme Court Rules 2000 (Tas),r.970M(2)).

Australian Capital Territory:

Documents for service, if in a language other than English, must be accompanied by an English translation of those documents. The translation must bear a certificate in English, signed by the translator, stating that the translation is an accurate translation of the document and the translator's full name, address and qualifications for making the translation (Court Procedure Rules 2006 (ACT), rule 6562).

Northern Territory:

Information on the Northern Territory is not available at this stage.

Diplomatic Service Via Letters Rogatory

For states which are not party to the Hague Service Convention, diplomatic channels are generally used for the service of legal documents. It is generally effected by a letter rogatory, which is a formal request to issue a judicial order from a court in the state where proceedings are underway to a court in another state. This procedure generally requires transmission of the document to be served from the originating court to the foreign ministry in the state of origin. The foreign ministry in the state of origin forwards the request to the foreign ministry in the destination state. The foreign ministry then forwards the documents to the local court. The local court then makes an order to allow for the service. Once service is made, a certificate of service would then pass through the same channels in reverse. Under a somewhat more streamlined procedure, courts can sometimes forward service requests to the foreign ministry or the foreign court directly, cutting out one or more steps in the process.

Procedure

The Hague Service Convention established a more simplified means for parties to effect service in other contracting states. Under the convention, each contracting state is required to designate a central authority to accept incoming requests for service. A judicial officer who is competent to serve process in the state of origin is permitted to send request for service directly to the central authority of the state where service is to be made. Upon receiving the request, the central authority in the receiving state arranges for service in a manner permitted within the receiving state, typically through a local court. Once service is effected, the central authority sends a certificate of service to the judicial officer who made the request.

The main benefits of the Hague Service Convention over letters rogatory is that it is faster (requests generally take two to four months rather than six months to one year), it uses standardized forms which should be recognized by authorities in other states, and it is cheaper (in most cases).

Alternate Methods of Service

The Hague Convention provides various modes of process service of documents such as by postal channel or by diplomatic/consular agents, judicial officers, officials or other competent persons. These provisions are covered under Articles 8 to 10 and may or not be allowed by member countries as a valid mode of serving the documents in their territory. The method of serving the documents through the Central Agency (Article 5) is not optional but is binding on all the member countries. The services done by the Central Agency usually takes a long time: 4 to 12 months. The convention gives relief to the litigants if they have not received certificate of service or delivery from the Central Agency even after waiting for six months. In such cases, the Court may, if it considers that a reasonable time has elapsed, give its judgement. Also, in case of urgency, the court may issue a provisional order or protective measure even before six-month waiting period.

Service by Mail

Service by mail is possible only in states that have not objected to that method under Article 10(a) of the convention and if the jurisdiction where the court case takes place allows it under its applicable law.

Our Process

Documents can be faxed (800)-296-0115, emailed ps@undisputedlegal.com, mailed 590 Madison Avenue, 21 Floor, New York, New York 10022, or dropped off at any of our location. We do require pre-payment and accept all major credit and debit cards. Once payment is processed your sales receipt is immediately emailed for your records. This option is only available for email or fax.

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 form of a money order or attorney check (WE DO NOT ACCEPT CASH) payable to UNDISPUTED LEGAL INC., All documents will be received by our receptionist.

What Should You Do Next?

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

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