Like all other service providers throughout the country we have had to look closely at whether what we do can be classed as essential. As you will know some priority legal matters are still proceeding through the courts, and any services supporting these are classed as essential. But on the whole, most courts across the country are either closed or operating at a reduced capacity.
This hasn’t stopped the legal wheels from turning of course! I have been speaking with a number of colleagues who have all seemed to easily transition to working from home. Infact, I know of quite a few who are in no hurry to head back to the office – maybe this will become the new normal – Zoom meetings in our PJ’s?
For us though, in addition to the question “are we an essential service” we have also taken into consideration while at Alert Level 4…
- Is the document service necessary? We will follow our clients instructions in the first instance of course, however there are some types of documents that may not be appropriate to be served during this period.
- Is the document service urgent? The mantra for this lock down, stay home, save lives. So we are only venturing out on specific instructions that the document service is urgent.
Interestingly, some other process servers don’t feel the same way. We are part of an international network of process servers, most are based in the USA who as you will know have been going through a tumultuous time with this virus. Even though much of the US is supposedly in lock down, I have been dismayed to hear about all the process servers who are ignoring state guidelines and continuing to serve at full steam all types of documents that come their way. This is thoughtless and puts not only themselves, but everyone else that they come into contact with at risk.
In a few weeks time, like you, all we are hopeful that restrictions will be reduced, and life can start to get “back to normal”. At Alert Level 3 we anticipate that we can resume most services, as long as we continue to adhere to the social distancing and working safely guidelines. For us this means we will continue to use protective gear where necessary. We will continue to bring documents to the attention of the Respondent and leave the documents in front of them on the doorstep.
Affidavits of Service in lock down
For matters requiring an affidavit of service it would be great to get a photograph of the Respondent. This can be used as a substitute for the acknowledgement of service. At the moment we are unable to get affidavits of service sworn, but we anticipate that at Alert Level 3 we will be able to action these once again.
We are looking forward to getting back to work!
The impact of this virus and resulting lock down will have far reaching effects for many years to come for all New Zealanders. We are all in uncharted territory. As the owner of a small business, like so many other kiwis, I am looking forward to getting back to full capacity as soon as possible – for both my business and staff. And as much as I love the people in my bubble – I am very much looking forward to reconnecting with everyone Docuserve works with, both nationally and internationally!