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Washington DC Process Serving Laws

(Rules of Civil Procedure in the United States)


Quick Answers:


Who can be a process server in Washington DC?

Any adult over the age of eighteen (18) years old, that is not a party to the case, or a member of a corporation or organization that is a party, may serve (deliver) the papers. 


Does Washington DC require process servers to be licensed?



Are there any day or time restrictions to service of process in Washington DC?



Washington DC Rules of Civil Procedure are from Federal Rules of Civil Procedure site


Because the laws of process service may change from time to time, please check the Washington DC Courts website for updated rules of civil procedure in Washington DC.


Click here to view the Rules of Civil Procedure and other Court Rules for Washington DC / The District of Columbia.



Rules of Civil Procedure in Washington DC:



Rule 25. Filing and Service.


(a) Filing.

(1) Filing with the Clerk. A paper required or permitted to be filed in this court must be filed with the Clerk.

(2) Filing: Method and Timeliness.

(A) In general. Filing may be accomplished by mail addressed to the Clerk, but filing is not timely unless the Clerk receives the papers within the time fixed for filing.

(B) Inmate filing. A paper filed by an inmate confined in an institution is timely if deposited in the institution’s internal mailing system on or before the last day for filing. If an institution has a system designed for legal mail, the inmate must use that system to receive the benefit of this rule. Timely filing may be shown by a declaration in compliance with 28 U.S.C. § 1746 or by a notarized statement, either of which must set forth the date of deposit and state that first-class postage has been prepaid.

(b) Service of All Papers Required. Unless a rule requires service by the Clerk, a party must, at or before the time of filing a paper, serve a copy on the other parties to the appeal or review. Service on a party represented by counsel must be made on the party’s counsel.

(c) Manner of Service.

(1) Service may be any of the following:

(A) personal, including delivery to a responsible person at the office of counsel;

(B) by mail;

(C) by third-party commercial carrier for delivery within 3 calendar days; or

(D) by electronic means, if the party being served consents in writing.

(2) Requests for expedited or emergency consideration by this court must be personally served on all counsel and any party not represented by counsel.

(3) When reasonable, considering such factors as the immediacy of the relief sought, distance, and cost, service on a party must be by a manner at least as expeditious as the 30 manner used to file the paper with the court.

(4) Service by mail or by commercial carrier is complete on mailing or delivery to the carrier. Service by electronic means is complete on transmission, unless the party making service is notified that the paper was not received by the party served.

(d) Proof of Service.

(1) A paper presented for filing must contain either of the following:

(A) an acknowledgment of service by the person served; or

(B) proof of service consisting of a statement by the person who made service certifying:

(i) the date and manner of service;

(ii) the names of the persons served; and

(iii) the mail or electronic addresses, facsimile numbers, or addresses of the places of delivery, as appropriate for the manner of service.

(2) Proof of service may appear on or be affixed to the papers filed.

(e) Non-acceptance of Papers by Clerk. If any paper is not accepted by the Clerk for filing,
the Clerk must promptly notify the persons named in the certificate of service.





Rule 31. Serving and Filing Briefs.

(a) Time to Serve and File a Brief.

(1) The appellant must serve and file a brief within 40 days after the Clerk has notified the parties that the record is filed or, following such notice, after the court has denied a motion for summary affirmance. The appellee must serve and file a brief within 30 days after the appellant’s brief is served. The appellant may serve and file a reply brief within 21 days after service of the appellee’s brief, but a reply brief must be filed at least 7 days before oral argument.


(2) In consolidated appeals, individual appellants or appellees may join to file a single brief. If separate briefs are filed by individual appellants or appellees, the responsive brief or briefs must be filed in the time provided in paragraph (1) of this rule, with the time beginning to run after service of the latest brief to which a response is made.

(b) Number of Copies. An original and 3 copies of each brief must be filed with the Clerk, but if the case is to be heard en banc, then an original and 9 copies of each brief must be filed. A copy of each brief must be served on counsel for each separately represented party, as well as on each unrepresented party. By order in a particular case, the court may require the filing or service of a different number of copies.

(c) Consequence of Failure to File. If an appellant fails to file a brief within the time provided by this rule, or within the time as extended, an appellee may move to dismiss the appeal. A party who fails to file a brief will not be heard at oral argument unless the court grants permission. does not warrant the accuracy of these laws. The laws listed on are only a starting point for reference, and are not meant to be legal advice or a replacement for legal console. Please consult a process server in your area, county, or state if you have any questions about process service there.

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