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Arizona Process Server Laws


Rule 4(a). Summons; Issuance
When the complaint or any other pleading which requires service of a summons is filed, the clerk shall endorse thereon the day and hour on which it was filed and the number of the action, and shall forthwith issue a summons. The party filing the pleading may present a summons to the clerk for signature and seal. If in proper form, the clerk shall sign and seal the summons and issue it to the party for service or for delivery to a person authorized by Rule 4(d) to serve it. A summons, or a copy of the summons if addressed to multiple persons, shall be issued for each person to be served.

Rule 4(b). Summons; Form; Replacement Summons
The summons shall be signed by the clerk, be under the seal of the court, contain the name of the court and the names of the parties, be directed to the person to be served, state the name and address of the attorney, if any, for the party on whose behalf service is being made, and otherwise that party's address. The summons shall state the time within which these Rules require the person being served to appear and defend, and shall notify that person that in case of a failure to do so judgment by default will be rendered against that person for the relief demanded in the pleading served. A summons, or a copy of the summons in the case of multiple persons to be served, shall be served together with a copy of the pleading to be served. If a summons is returned without being served, or if it has been lost, the clerk may upon request issue a replacement summons in the same form as the original. A replacement summons shall be issued and served within the time prescribed by Rule 4(i) of these Rules for service of the original summons. The summons shall state that "requests for reasonable accommodation for persons with disabilities must be made to the court by parties at least 3 working days in advance of a scheduled court proceeding."

Rule 4(c). Summons; Parties Named Fictitiously; Return
When a pleading which requires service of a summons designates a party whose true name is unknown by a fictitious name pursuant to Rule 10(f) of these Rules, the summons may issue directed to the fictitious name employed for that purpose. The return of service of process upon a person designated therein by a fictitious name shall state the true name of the person or party upon whom it was served.

Rule 4(d). Process; By Whom Served
Service of process shall be by a sheriff, a sheriff's deputy, a private process server registered with the clerk of the court pursuant to subpart (e) of this Rule, or any other person specially appointed by the court, except that a subpoena may be served as provided in Rule 45. Service of process may also be made by a party or that party's attorney where expressly authorized by these Rules. A private process server or specially appointed person shall be not less than twenty-one (21) years of age and shall not be a party, an attorney, or the employee of an attorney in the action whose process is being served. Special appointments to serve process shall be requested by motion to the presiding Superior Court judge and the court's ruling shall be recorded by minute entry. Special appointments shall be granted freely, are valid only for the cause specified in the motion, and do not constitute an appointment as a registered private process server.

Rule 4(e). State-wide Registration of Private Process Servers
A person who files with the clerk of the court an application approved by the Supreme Court, stating that the applicant has been a bona fide resident of the State of Arizona for at least one year immediately preceding the application and that the applicant will well and faithfully serve process in accordance with the law, and who otherwise complies with the procedures set forth by the Supreme Court in its Administrative Order regarding this subsection, shall, upon approval of the court or presiding judge thereof, in the County where the application is filed, be registered with the clerk as a private process server until such approval is withdrawn by the court in its discretion. The clerk shall maintain a register for this purpose. Such private process server shall be entitled to serve in such capacity for any court of the state anywhere within the State.

Rule 4(f). Service; Acceptance or Waiver; Voluntary Appearance
The person to whom a summons or other process is directed may accept service, or waive issuance or service thereof, in writing, signed by that person or by that person's authorized agent or attorney, and the acceptance or waiver shall be filed in the action. A person upon whom service is required may, in person or by attorney or by an authorized agent, enter an appearance in open court, and the appearance shall be noted by the clerk upon the docket and entered in the minutes. Such waiver, acceptance or appearance shall have the same force and effect as if a summons had been issued and served. The filing of a pleading responsive to a pleading allowed under Rule 7(a) of these Rules shall constitute an appearance.

Rule 4(g). Return of Service
If service is not accepted or waived, then the person effecting service shall make proof thereof to the court. When the process is served by a sheriff or a sheriff's deputy, the return shall be officially endorsed on or attached thereto and returned to the court promptly. If served by a person other than the sheriff or a deputy sheriff, return and proof of service shall be made promptly by affidavit thereof. Each such affidavit of a registered private process server shall include clear reference to the county where that private process server is registered. When the summons is served by publication, the return of the person making such service shall be made in the manner specified in Rules 4.1(n) and 4.2(e) of these Rules. Proof of service in a place not within any judicial district of the United States shall, if effected under paragraph (1) of Rule 4.2(h), be made pursuant to the applicable treaty or convention; and shall, if effected under paragraph (2) or (3) thereof, include a receipt signed by the addressee or other evidence of delivery to the addressee satisfactory to the court. In any event the return shall be made within the time during which the person served must respond to process. Failure to make proof of service does not affect the validity thereof.

Rule 4(h). Amendment of Process or Amendment of Proof of Service
At any time in its discretion and upon such terms as it deems just, the court may allow any process or proof of service thereof to be amended, unless it clearly appears that material prejudice would result to the substantial rights of the party against whom the process issued.

Rule 4(i). Summons; Time Limit for Service
If service of the summons and complaint is not made upon a defendant within 120 days after the filing of the complaint, the court, upon motion or on its own initiative after notice to the plaintiff, shall dismiss the action without prejudice as to that defendant or direct that service be effected within a specified time; provided that if the plaintiff shows good cause for the failure, the court shall extend the time for service for an appropriate period. This subdivision does not apply to service in a foreign country pursuant to Rule 4.2(h), (i), (j) and (k) of these rules.