Return Of Service Definition and Legal Meaning

On this page, you'll find the legal definition and meaning of Return Of Service, written in plain English, along with examples of how it is used.

What is Return Of Service?

(n) Return of service is the written confirmation under an oath made by the person responsible for delivery of the document confirming the service of the document to the addressee.

History and Meaning of Return Of Service

Return of Service (RoS) has been utilized for centuries by courts to ensure effective service of legal documents to a party to a lawsuit. The purpose of the RoS is to maintain a clear and ready record of when, how and to whom a legal document was served. There are many legal documents that are served, including summons, subpoenas, complaints, and other legal notifications.

The RoS is the written confirmation, most often delivered by the process server, confirming service of the document to the addressee. It is also known as "proof of service." The person responsible for the delivery of the legal document provides the RoS and attests to the validity of the document's delivery on oath. The RoS includes the date, time, place, and method of delivery.

Examples of Return Of Service

  1. In a divorce case, the RoS confirms that the respondent has received the filed divorce papers.
  2. In a criminal trial, the RoS confirms the subpoena of a witness to attend court.
  3. In a foreclosure case, the RoS confirms the delivery of documents to the defendant, including the notice of foreclosure.

Legal Terms Similar to Return Of Service

  1. Service of Process: The legal procedure by which a defendant in a lawsuit is given notice of the legal action initiated against them.
  2. Proof of Service: A sworn statement or affidavit indicating the manner and date of service made in accordance with the applicable rules.
  3. Subpoena: A legal document that commands a person to appear and give testimony, present certain evidence or documents in a legal proceeding.