The main participants/persons in a case. Typically two or more people, companies or agencies who are named at the top of court documents. The party is the person or entity bringing or responding to the court action and parties must always be served copies of all filings and notices in a case, either directly or through their attorney. A company, agency or the government may be a party in a case. Sometimes, the Court will assign special types of persons to a case, also making them a party, including but not limited to guardian ad litems, receivers, social investigators and parenting coordinators. Common terms used to refer to a party are: plaintiff, defendant, petitioner, respondent, counter-petitioner and counter-respondent.