How Process Servers Use Private Investigator Tactics And Skip Tracing

Law Blog

For most individuals, serving them is relatively straightforward. You simply have to hire a process server to find the individual and serve them their papers. Then, you'll be able to move forward with your case. However, in many cases, the individual who you must serve does not want to be found and the process server will need to act as a private investigator. 

The information presented in this article may apply elsewhere but focuses on process services in Canada

Process Servers and Private Investigations

To be able to act as a private investigator in Canada, the process server will need to have a private investigator license. In many cases, a company that specializes in offering the services of a process server will also hire private investigators to assist in locating defendants. Another technique used is skip tracing.

Skip Tracing and Database Searches

The goal of skip tracing is to gather as much information as possible about an individual. This is done to make it easier to track these individuals down so they can then be served. The process server will start with what is already known about the individual such as their name and date of birth before using more advanced techniques. There are various techniques that are used, but skip tracing initially begins with searching several databases. The types of databases used in skip tracing include:

  • Phone records
  • Lease inquiries
  • Utility bills
  • Job application databases
  • Credit bureaus

Some data is free to the public and anyone can access it. Other forms of data can only be obtained with access to a specialized skip-tracer database. The information that the process server has been able to uncover can only be legally shared with someone in Canada if there is a good reason to do so. In the case of process serving, the information is used only so the process server can find the defendant and serve them.

Other Methods Used to Find the Plaintiff

Databases are often not enough and a process server may also contact friends and family members in an effort to locate the other party. They may be able to find information by performing a web search. However, if the defendant doesn't have a strong web presence, they may have to use other means. 

Process Server Notices

Once the plaintiff has been contacted, the process server will hand them a process server notice that will include the legal documents that the plaintiff must receive and will also record evidence that the plaintiff has received the papers. 


27 July 2022

injured at work? what do you do now?

Were you injured at work and fighting to get the workers compensation that you have paid into each year? Sometimes, getting those payments can be very difficult. What do you do when an employer fights the claim? Do you need a lawyer to help you through the process? How will you pay for a lawyer if you cannot even pay your electric bill? You are probably as lost as I was when I went through the process. Fortunately, you can learn from my experience with the system and find the answers to many of the questions that you have about filing a workers comp claim and fighting the system when it is denied.