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Rule 4. Summons

Arizona Revised Statutes AnnotatedRules of Civil Procedure for the Superior Courts of Arizona

Arizona Revised Statutes Annotated
Rules of Civil Procedure for the Superior Courts of Arizona (Refs & Annos)
II. Commencing an Action; Service of Process, Pleadings, Motions and Orders; Duties of Counsel
16 A.R.S. Rules of Civil Procedure, Rule 4
Rule 4. Summons
(a) Issuance; Service.
(1) Pleading Defined. As used in this rule, Rule 4.1, and Rule 4.2, “pleading” means any of the pleadings authorized by Rule 7 that bring a party into an action--a complaint, third-party complaint, counterclaim, or crossclaim.
(2) Issuance. On or after filing a pleading, the filing party may present a summons to the clerk for signature and seal. If the summons is properly completed, the clerk must sign, seal, and issue it to the filing party for service. A summons--or a copy of the summons if addressed to multiple parties--must be issued for each party to be served.
(3) Service. A summons must be served with a copy of the pleading. Service must be completed as required by this rule, Rule 4.1, or 4.2, as applicable.
(b) Contents; Replacement Summons.
(1) Contents. A summons must:
(A) name the court and the parties;
(B) be directed to the party to be served;
(C) state the name and address of the attorney of the party serving the summons or--if unrepresented--the party's name and address;
(D) state the time within which the defendant must appear and defend;
(E) notify the party to be served that a failure to appear and defend will result in a default judgment against that party for the relief demanded in the pleading;
(F) state that “requests for reasonable accommodation for persons with disabilities must be made to the court by parties at least 3 working days in advance of a scheduled court proceeding”;
(G) be signed by the clerk; and
(H) bear the court's seal.
(2) Replacement Summons. If a summons is returned without being served, or if it has been lost, a party may ask the clerk to issue a replacement summons in the same form as the original. A replacement summons must be issued and served within the time prescribed by Rule 4(i) for service of the original summons.
(c) Fictitiously Named Parties; Return. If a pleading identifies a party by a fictitious name under Rule 10(d), the summons may issue and be directed to a person with the fictitious name. The return of service of process on a person identified by a fictitious name must state the true name of the person who was served.
(d) Who May Serve Process.
(1) Generally. Service of process must be made by a sheriff, a sheriff's deputy, a constable, a constable's deputy, a private process server certified under the Arizona Code of Judicial Administration § 7-204 and Rule 4(e), or any other person specially appointed by the court. Service of process may also be made by a party or that party's attorney if expressly authorized by these rules.
(2) Special Appointment.
(A) Qualifications. A specially appointed person must be at least 21 years of age and must not be a party, an attorney, or an employee of an attorney in the action in which process is to be served.
(B) Procedure for Appointment. A party may request a special appointment to serve process by filing a motion with the presiding superior court judge in the county where the action is pending. The motion must be accompanied by a proposed order. If the proposed order is signed, no minute entry will issue. Special appointments should be granted freely, are valid only for the cause specified in the motion, and do not constitute an appointment as a certified private process server.
(e) Statewide Certification of Private Process Servers. A person seeking certification as a private process server must file with the clerk an application under Arizona Code of Judicial Administration § 7-204. Upon approval of the court or presiding judge of the county in which the application is filed, the clerk will register the person as a certified private process server, which will remain in effect unless and until the certification is withdrawn by the court. The clerk must maintain a register for this purpose. A certified private process server will be entitled to serve in that capacity for any state court within Arizona.
(f) Accepting or Waiving Service; Voluntary Appearance. There are two ways to accomplish service with the assent of the served party--waiver and acceptance. A party also may voluntarily appear without being served.
(1) Waiving Service. A party subject to service under Rule 4.1 or 4.2 may waive issuance or service. The waiver of service must be in writing, signed by that party or that party's authorized agent or attorney, and be filed in the action. A party who waives service receives additional time to serve a responsive pleading, as provided in Rule 12(a)(1)(A)(ii).
(2) Accepting Service. A party subject to service under Rule 4.1 or 4.2 may accept service. The acceptance of service must be in writing, signed by that party or that party's authorized agent or attorney, and be filed in the action. A party who accepts service does not receive the additional time to serve a responsive pleading under Rule 12(a)(1)(A)(ii).
(3) Voluntary Appearance.
(A) In Open Court. A party on whom service is required may, in person or by an attorney or authorized agent, enter an appearance in open court. The appearance must be noted by the clerk on the docket and entered in the minutes.
(B) By Responsive Pleading. The filing of a pleading responsive to a pleading allowed under Rule 7 constitutes an appearance by the party.
(4) Effect. Waiver, acceptance, and appearance under (f)(1), (f)(2), and (f)(3) have the same force and effect as if a summons had been issued and served.
(g) Return; Proof of Service.
(1) Timing. If service is not accepted or waived, and no voluntary appearance is made, then the person effecting service must file proof of service with the court. Return of service should be made by no later than when the served party must respond to process.
(2) Service by the Sheriff. If a summons is served by a sheriff or deputy sheriff, the return must be officially marked on or attached to the proof of service and promptly filed with the court.
(3) Service by Others. If served by a person other than a sheriff or deputy sheriff, the return must be promptly filed with the court and be accompanied by an affidavit establishing proof of service. If the server is a registered private process server, the affidavit must clearly identify the county in which the server is registered.
(4) Service by Publication. If the summons is served by publication, the return of the person making such service must be made as provided in Rules 4.1(l) and 4.2(f).
(5) Service Outside the United States. Service outside the United States must be proved as follows:
(A) if effected under Rule 4.2(i)(1), as provided in the applicable treaty or convention; or
(B) if effected under Rule 4.2(i)(2), by a receipt signed by the addressee, or other evidence satisfying the court that the summons and complaint were delivered to the addressee.
(6) Validity of Service. Failure to make proof of service does not affect the validity of service.
(h) Amending Process or Proof of Service. The court may permit process or proof of service to be amended.
(i) Time Limit for Service. If a defendant is not served with process within 90 days after the complaint is filed, the court--on motion, or on its own after notice to the plaintiff--must dismiss the action without prejudice against that defendant or order that service be made within a specified time. But if the plaintiff shows good cause for the failure, the court must extend the time for service for an appropriate period. This Rule 4(i) does not apply to service in a foreign country under Rules 4.2(i), (j), (k), and (l).


Added Sept. 2, 2016, effective Jan. 1, 2017. Amended Aug. 31, 2017, effective Jan. 1, 2018.
16 A. R. S. Rules Civ. Proc., Rule 4, AZ ST RCP Rule 4
State Court Rules are current with amendments received through May 1, 2024. The Code of Judicial Administration is current with amendments received through May 1, 2024.
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