A

Acceptance of Service

The Acceptance of Service Agreement is an agreement by a defendant or his/her attorney to accept a complaint or petition without using a professional process server or sheriff.  This requires a document or “Acknowledgement of Service” which references that there is no proof that the service took place.

Affidavit of Service (Proof of Service or Return of Service)

An Affidavit of Service is a legal document showing service was completed or attempted.  An Affidavit of Service can include party name, date, time and location of service.  It is a notarized testimony signed by the server and can be presented to prove a party was notified of pending legal action.

Agent for Acceptance of Service

A defendant or their lawyer can substitute for personal service on the principal party to be served without having the sheriff, constable or process server actually serve process. The acceptance of service must be in writing and many jurisdictions require a “Receipt and Acknowledgment of Acceptance of Service”.

C

Case Analysis

Criminal or civil matter case files are reviewed and recommendations of investigations are offered to assist counsel in effectively represent their client.

Civil Action (Complaint or Summons)

The first document filed with the Prothontary by a person or entity claiming legal rights against an individual, or company. The party filing the complaint is usually called the plaintiff and the party they are filing the claim against is called the defendant(s).

Civil Action in Divorce

A request for legal termination of a marriage requires a petition or complaint for divorce, also referred to as dissolution in some states by an individual. Jurisdiction is defined by each state. Some states require a minimal showing of fault. There are also no-fault states, in which incompatibility is enough evidence to grant a divorce. The primary issues in divorces are division of property, child custody and support and spousal support.

Contempt of Court

Any act which may embarrass, defy or obstruct the court or its dignity.  Persons can be punished with a fine or short stay in jail.

Corporate Service

Corporate service is service of process that is served on a business, government agency, etc.

Court Filing

Court filing is formally submitting legal documents to the clerk or Prothonotary to have documents held on file with the courts.

>Court Order

A court order is a decision made by a judge, court authority figure, commissioner or magistrate that demands or directs something, or someone to follow through with a course of action in a legal matter.

Court Reporter

A court reporter transcribes spoken or recorded speech into written form to produce official transcripts of court hearings, depositions and other official proceedings.

Court Services

There are several courts in the United States, Family Court, Criminal Court, Appellate Court, Court of Appeals, Municipal, Small Claims, District Justice, Supreme Court, etc. Local and state laws govern which cases are heard in which courts.

D

Defendant

Defendant(s) is/are the parties being sued in a civil lawsuit or the individual being charged with a crime in a criminal prosecution. In a divorce, a defendant is referred to as a respondent.

Deposition

A deposition is the out-of-court oral tesitmony of a witness that is transcribed to written form for later use in court or for discovery purposes.

Diligence

Diligence is putting forth a good faith attempt or satisfactory amount of attention in a matter.  Process servers provide due diligence when locating and serving someone legal papers.

Dissolution of Marriage

Dissolution of marriage or divorce is the termination of a marital union and the legal duties of a marriage.  This requires both parties to go through the legal process to finalize and legalize a divorce.

Divorce

Divorce is the termination of a marriage by legal action, requiring a petition or complaint for divorce by one party. Some states still require at least a minimal showing of fault, but no-fault divorce is now the rule in which “incompatibility” is sufficient to grant a divorce. The substantive issues in divorces are division of property, child custody and support, alimony (spousal support), child visitation and attorney’s fees. State courts have jurisdiction over divorces, therefore petitioning or complaining party must file in the state in which he/she is and has been a resident for a period of time.

Document Retrieval

Through manual research of public court and government records, documents related to cases, previous filings, zoning, tax assessments and other public documents can be located and obtained.

Due Process of law

Due Process is the principle of fairness in all legal matters, both civil and criminal, especially in the courts. All legal procedures set by statute and court practice, including notice of rights, must be followed for each individual so that no prejudicial or unequal treatment will result. Due process is the right of citizens against government actions that threaten the denial of life, liberty and property.

E

Eviction

Eviction is the act of expelling (removing) someone from real property either by legal action (suit for unlawful detainer), a claim of superior (actual) title to the property, or actions which prevent the tenant from continuing in possession (constructive eviction).

Expert witness

An expert witness is a person who is a specialist in a subject, often technical, who may present his/her expert opinion.

h

Hague Service Convention

The Hague Service Convention, also knows as the  Convention on the Service Abroad of Judicial and Extrajudicial Documents in Civil or Commercial Matters, is a multiparty treaty which was signed in The Hague on 15 November 1965 by members of the Hague Conference on Private International Law. It allows service of process of judicial documents from one signatory state to another without use of consular and diplomatic channels.

I

Insurances Fraud Investigation

Insurance fraud is deceiving an insurance company, or agent to collect money, which the party is not entitled to. Insurers and Agents can also defraud consumers. Often Insurance fraud is when an individual stages an accident, injury, theft, arson or other loss to collect money illegally from insurance companies.

M

Medical Malpractice

Improper, unskilled, or negligent treatment of a patient by a physician, dentist, nurse, pharmacist, or other health care professional.

O

Order to Show Cause

Order to show cause is a judge’s written mandate that a party appear in court on a certain date and give reasons, legal and/or factual, (show cause) why a particular order should not be made.

P

Personal Service

Personal service is when a process server delivers a summons, complaint, notice to quit tenancy or other legal document by handing it directly to the person named in the document.

Petition

A petition is a formal written request to a court for an order of the court.

Plaintiff

A Plaintiff initiates a lawsuit by filing a civil action, complaint or summons with the clerk of the court against the defendant(s) demanding damages, performance and/or court determination of rights.

Pleadings

Pleadings are legal document filed in a lawsuit, petition, motion and/or hearing, including complaint, petition, answer, demurrer, motion, declaration and memorandum of points and authorities (written argument citing precedents and statutes).

Private Investigation Service

A Private Investigator is hired to obtain court records, government agency filings, vital statistics, property ownerships, vehicle and vessel records, photographs, witness statements and much more. Private Investigators prepare criminal defenses, locate witnesses, serve legal documents, interview police and prospective witnesses, and gather and review evidence.

Process Server

A process server notifies individuals of their constitutional right to due process of law by “serving” them with a notification that states the legal issue that involves them specifically.  A process server is an individual who is not a party to the action, and is the age of 18 years or older.

Proof of Service

See Affidavit of Service

Prothonotary

In Pennsylvania, the Prothonotary is the elected civil clerk of the Court of Common Pleas and is responsible for recording all civil procedures before the court. This official signs and seals all writs and processes numerous other documents of the Court of Common Pleas.

Public Records Search

Public Records Research allows an Individual or Private Investigator to access public record databases on the Internet or offline. Common public records research includes, finding business information, corporate filings, property records, unclaimed property, professional licenses, offenders, inmates, criminal and civil court filings.

R

Regular Service

Regular Process Service is when the initial attempt to serve process upon the party is made within 48 to 72 hours. Traditionally, there are a minimum amount of attempts included within Regular Service. This varies from 2-4 times. Charges can increase if the party being served requires more attempts.

Return of Service

See Affidavit of Service

Rush Service

Rush Process Service is when the initial attempt to serve process upon the party is made within 24-48 hours.

S

Same Day Service

Same-Day Service is when the documents to be served upon the party are attempted to be delivered on the same day they are received.

Service of Process

The Service of process is a legal term used by a Court of Law to exercise its jurisdiction involved in legal proceedings, or actions brought against them. Each jurisdiction is governed by its own local and state rules regarding the Service of Process.

Skip Trace and Skip Tracing

Skip Tracing is digging up information about someone. Common Skip Traces are Debts, Legal Matters, Repossessions, Locating Witnesses, Missing Persons and Heirs, Life Insurance Beneficiaries, Locating People and Property. Skip Tracing is also commonly used to locate Friends, Relatives, or Loved ones. Skip Tracing is very useful in Divorce, Past Due Child Support, Bail Jumpers, or finding Convicted Criminals.

Subpoena

A subpoena is an order of the court for a witness to appear in court and testify, or produce documents at a deposition. Failure to appear is punished by Contempt of Court.

Substituted Service

Substituted Service is serving legal documents with an adult resident of the home of the individual being served, or a management level employee of a business.

Summons

A document issued by the court when a lawsuit is filed stating the name of the plaintiff and defendant, the title of the case, the file number and the contact information of each party, or their attorneys.

Surveillance

Surveillance is the continual observation of a person or group and verification of that person or groups activity. Surveillance is used to investigate criminal activities, domestic disputes, adultery and much more. In most instances, it is important to hire an investigator so that the evidence collected resulting from the surveillance can be used in a court of law.

W

Witness

A witness is a person who testifies to what they saw, heard, observed or did.

 

http://dictionary.law.com

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