Private Investigator Training Process Server

Recognising the Respondent

HM Government have now withdrawn Legal Aid for divorce cases that do not involve a violent party and the “Waterfall”, of petitions that were coming in for service at the end of April 2013 (The deadline date) have, finally, abated (“Phew”).

We as process servers have seen it all when serving divorce papers, sometimes joy, sometimes resignation and occasionally lethargy and avoidance of the inevitable…

As is traditional when serving divorce papers you are provided with a detailed description of the Respondent and more often than not, a photograph. These photographs can be amusing holiday snaps or even the wedding photograph with the Applicant carefully torn out of the picture… If they are old photographs we will look on Facebook, LinkedIn, etc, to try and see what the person looks like nowadays. It is truism that the person you serve and who identifies themselves to you can look totally different to the image you have formed of them.

A bit of lateral thinking should be used….for example if you have a holiday photograph, expect the tan to fade (A lot), hair and clothing to alter. In fact, the hair and face of some people can change beyond recognition if they have removed or grown hair or use coloring or makeup…..just putting on a pair of spectacles can alter the way a person looks. People that are wearing sunglasses are, possibly, the most difficult to recognise as their eyes are covered.

The second aspect to looking at a photograph is to get a grip on, “Dimensions”, of the person you are trying to serve. So, look at the evidence in the photo in front of you. If the person is sat down then you can make an informed estimate as to their height, maybe take into account that a female in big heels might only be 5 foot in her flats.

Our in-house web designer produced this advertisement that, in all honesty we have not circulated this to our clients, but it raised a smile with us 🙂

Kevin J Regan, Process Server (BA Hons), Pttls, Pearson EDI L3 Professional Investigator


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  • Endless of times we’ve been faced with this problem when serving documents.

    Our best description we’ve had is; “The respondent has a large tattoo on his neck and you cant miss it, i cant remember anything else they’ve changed”

    When we arrived to serve the documents the tattoo must of been the size of a 5p and could easily of been covered up with clothing.

    Kind Regards

    Dukeries Detective Agency Ltd

  • I always find it’s the non-mols when the size/build description will be out. Obviously these bullies have a much larger stature in the eyes of the victims, descriptions usually making them 4-5′ taller and a couple of stone larger.

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