Tales from the Field – Volume # 3
Navigating Challenges: Serving Court Documents in Regional India
Serving court documents is an essential aspect of the legal process, ensuring that individuals are informed about legal proceedings and have the opportunity to respond.
However, the task of serving court documents to a recipient who is living overseas presents an intricate puzzle, often fraught with unique challenges. These challenges are compounded in countries such as India, where around 65% of the population live in rural areas.
Unstructured and unnamed addresses are common in these parts of India. Many people living in villages do not have a proper address and have to explain it to others by referencing landmarks like trees or a notable building. As you might imagine, this can make it quite difficult for a process server to be able track someone down.
Like Australia, India is one of the signatories to the Hague Service Convention which enables judicial and extrajudicial documents to be transmitted for service between countries that are party to the convention. Documents can be served via India’s Department of Legal Affairs, but the wait time is often long. It’s much faster and more reliable to go with an experienced process server.
At Servedoc, we’ve helped quite a few clients successfully serve court documents to recipients in rural India, often in cases of divorce, custody arrangements or business disputes. Here’s how the proactive field agents in our network go about getting the job done.
Investigate the area
Serving someone in India requires the hand delivery of documents, so field agents need to physically find where they are to be able to obtain a signed proof of service. If the person lives in a rural village, actually reaching that village might pose some challenges.
Many villages in India are isolated due to bad road conditions, inadequate public transport, and lack of mobile communication services. Reaching rural areas often requires multiple forms of transit and an in-depth understanding of the local terrain and weather patterns.
Our process servers will always plan their route, itinerary and accommodation well in advance to prevent getting stranded or potentially losing the trail.
Leverage local networks
One of the initial hurdles our servers face is obtaining accurate information about the individual they needed to serve. A server may travel to a person’s last known address, only to discover that they have moved on.
Our process servers usually first start by engaging in conversations with neighbours and relatives who might have knowledge of the person’s current whereabouts. Through these interactions, they gather valuable leads that would guide their subsequent steps.
Rural villages in India are made up of close-knit communities, so trust and reputation play significant roles. Respecting and adhering to local cultural norms and practices is paramount in gaining the trust and cooperation of villagers and other locals.
Our agents take special care to observe local customs, dress modestly, and engage in respectful interactions with the community members, otherwise they risk losing rapport with those who could provide critical information.
Access available data
Field agents often have to expand their search for information outside the circle of a recipient’s known acquaintances.
There’s a plethora of information an agent can access to help them track down the person they are looking for, even if they live in a tiny remote village. By searching various public databases in India, they can learn more about someone via their court records or property ownership records. Other databases can reveal people’s phone numbers, employment history and credit reports
Process servers will also usually try to track people down via their online presence by looking into their social media accounts.
Do you need court documents served in India or somewhere else overseas?
Please contact us on 1300-918-851 or by filling out the form below. We will be happy to answer any questions or address any concerns you have.
We look forward to helping you in any way we can, including with any special requests.