The personal service or delivery of claim forms, statutory demands, bankruptcy petitions, divorce papers and the like are often carried out by the 1,000 or so Professional Private Investigators operating as Process Servers in the UK on a daily basis.
The arrival of mandatory licensing in the UK for Private Investigators is likely in the next year or two. The licence will reinforce the already high standards that we and other investigators in the private sector already adhere to…
Our industry has, “Self-regulated”, under the Security Industry Authority / Home office model that relies on the Private Security Industry Act 2001 to regulate the private security industry, however, the promised licence has not materialised. Perhaps a reassessment of the governance and regulation of the professional Investigators who carry out process serving is required?
The SIA do not classify Process serving as an investigation activity and any licence that is produced for the professional Private Investigator sector will have a disconnect between what we do and what the SIA think we do. Process serving will not be covered by the current licencing model, even if it ever arrives!
Certainly, a closer alliance with the Ministry of Justice might be the way forward. Perhaps a training course can be accredited by this Arm of governance to ensure professionalism, probity and ethics for the process server in conducting what is becoming, “Low level Police work”?
Our Private Investigator Training School offers a process server E-learn course.
We run regular classroom based training in Process Serving and assist the Association of British Investigators train novice process servers to an acceptable level.
We support the Legal Services throughout the UK. We operate a network of private investigators / process servers to effect serves.
The secret to good process serving is courtesy and professionalism. The heavy handed approach is not required. Very occasionally you will be thanked for keeping the matter confidential or for being tactful when approaching a person’s residence.
The people that you serve are infinitely varied and will frustrate and enthuse you in equal measures…you can might meet a minor celebrity one day and a down and out the next.
The process servers lot is not nine to five as work during the evenings and weekends is part of the job. As most people are out working during the working week, the best times to effect serves are early Saturday or Sunday mornings (Although try to avoid being too early…..it is counterproductive) and during the evenings.
When you serve documents you need to be aware of GDPR considerations and Human Rights – the information you hold in the papers is very much, “Personal Information”. Exercise caution when speaking to a party that has not been identified as being the person you are serving….everyone has the right to have respect for their private and family life, home and correspondence – just make sure you bear this in mind….
When you choose a process server you need to check that they are capable of producing error free Statements of Service or Affidavits of Service. These documents prove to the Court that the document has been served in the prescribed manner.
In summary, we recommend that you select a process serving firm that also operates as Private Investigators. Try to ensure that they belong to an appropriate Trade Association and have full Professional Indemnity Insurances. It will be a bonus if they are established and accredited, perhaps with a qualification in professional investigations in the private sector.