FAQs

Who can deliver legal documents

  Rule 103. Who May Serve 

 

Process—including citation and other notices, writs, orders, and other papers issued by the court—may be served anywhere by (1) any sheriff or constable or other person authorized by law, (2) any person authorized by law or by written order of the court who is not less than eighteen years of age, or (3) any person certified under order of the Supreme Court. Service by registered or certified mail and citation by publication must, if requested, be made by the clerk of the court in which the case is pending. But no person who is a party to or interested in the outcome of a suit may serve any process in that suite, and, unless otherwise authorized by a written court order, only a sheriff or constable may serve a citation in an action of forcible entry and detainer, a writ that requires the actual taking of possession of a person, property or thing, or process requiring that an enforcement action be physically enforced by the person delivery the process. The order authorizing a person to serve process may be made without written motion and no fee may be imposed for issuance of such order. (Amended June 10, 1980, eff. Jan. 1, 1981; July 15, 1987, eff. Jan. 1, 1988; October 7, 2004, eff. July 1, 2005) 



Delivering legal documents in different countries

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 Rule 108a. Service of Process in Foreign Countries 

  • Manner. Service of process may be effected upon a party in a foreign count if service of the citation and petition is made: (a) in the manner prescribed by the law of the foreign country for service in that country in an action in any of its courts of general jurisdiction; or (b) as directed by the foreign authority in response to a letter rogatory or a letter of request; or (c) in the manner provided by Rule 106; or (d) pursuant to the terms and provisions of any applicable treaty or convention; or (e) by diplomatic or consular officials when authorized by the United States Department of State; or (f) by any other means directed by the court that is not prohibited by the law of the country where service is to be made. The method for service of process in a foreign country must be reasonably calculated, under all of the circumstances, to give actual notice of the proceedings to the defendant in time to answer and defend. A defendant served with process under this rule shall be required to appear and answer in the same manner and time and under the same penalties as if he had been personally served with citation Within this state to the full extent that he may be required to appear and answer under the Constitution of the United States or under any applicable convention or treaty in an action either in rem or in personam.
  • Return. Proof of service may be made as prescribed by the law of the foreign country, by order of the court, by Rule 107, or by a method provided in any applicable treaty or convention. (Added Dec. 5, 1983, eff. April 1, 1984.)

Ways to deliver legal documents in Texas when authorized

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 Rule 106. Method of Service

  • Unless the citation or an order of the court otherwise directs, the citation shall be served by any person authorized by Rule 103 by
    1. delivering to the defendant, in person, a true copy of the citation with the date of delivery endorsed thereon with a copy of the petition attached thereto, or
    2. mailing to the defendant by registered or certified mail, return receipt requested, a true copy of the citation with a copy of the petition attached thereto.

  • Upon motion supported by affidavit stating the location of the defendant ’s usual place of business or usual place of abode or other place where the defendant can probably be found and stating specifically the facts showing that service has been attempted under either (a)(I) or (a)(2) at the location named in such affidavit but has not been successful, the court may authorize service
  • (1) by leaving a true cope of the citation, with a copy of the petition attached, with anyone over sixteen years of age at the location specified in such affidavit, or
  • (2) in any other manner that the affidavit or other evidence before the court shows will be reasonably effective to give the defendant notice of the suit. (Amended Aug. 18, 1947, eff. Dec. 31, 1947; July 22, 1975, eff. Jan. 1, 1976; July 11, 1977, eff. Jan. 1, 1978, June 10, 1980, eff. Jan. 1, 1981; July 15, 1987, eff. Jan. 1, 1988; April 24, 1990, eff. Sept. 1, 1990.)

Issuance of Subpoenas

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  Rule 176.4 Who May Issue. 


A subpoena may be issued by:

  • the clerk of the appropriate district, county, or justice court, who must provide the party requesting the subpoena with an original and a copy for each witness to be completed by the party;
  • an attorney authorized to practice in the State of Texas, as an officer of the court; or
  • an officer authorized to take depositions in this State, who must issue the subpoena immediately on a request accompanied by a notice to take a deposition under Rules 199 or 200, or a notice under Rule 205.3, and who may also serve the notice with the subpoena.

Delivering Subpoenas

 Rule 176.5 Service.

  • Manner of Service. A subpoena may be served at any place within the State of Texas by any sheriff or constable of the State of Texas, or any person who is not a party and is 18 years of age or older. A subpoena must be served by delivering a copy to the witness and tendering to that person any fees required by law. If the witness is a party and is represented by an attorney of record in the proceeding, the subpoena may be served on the witness’s attorney of record.
  • Proof of Service. Proof of service must be made by filing either:
    1. the witness’s signed written memorandum attached to the subpoena showing that the witness accepted the subpoena; or
    2. a statement by the person who made the service stating the date, time, and manner of service, and the name of the person served.

Attorney authorized to accept service

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 RULE 119. ACCEPTANCE OF SERVICE 


 The defendant may accept service of process, or waive the issuance or service thereof by a written memorandum signed by him, or by his duly authorized agent or attorney, after suit is brought, sworn to before a proper officer other than an attorney in the case, and filed among the papers of the cause, and such waiver or acceptance shall have the same force and effect as if the citation had been issued and served as provided by law. The party signing such memorandum shall be delivered a copy of plaintiff's petition, and the receipt of the same shall be acknowledged in such memorandum. In every divorce action such memorandum shall also include the defendant's mailing address.