Serve Supreme Court documents by ordinary service

Introduction

Most Supreme Court documents can be served by ordinary service. This means the document can be:

  • dropped off at a business or residential address,
  • sent by regular mail,
  • faxed with a Fax Cover Sheet (Form F95), or
  • emailed.

The method you use will depend on the type of information the other person included as their address for service on their own court documents (for example, their Response to Family Claim (Form F4)). You can only serve a document to an address they've listed.

If you don't have their address for service, you must mail it to their last known address.You can't serve a document by fax or email if the person hasn't provided an email address or fax number as an address for service.

Be aware of your time limits for serving the document (the self-help guide sets out the time limits).

What if this guide isn't for you

If the other person lives outside BC or outside Canada, see Serve documents outside BC by personal service.

If you can't serve the documents (for example, if you don't know where the other party lives or the other party is avoiding service), see Arrange for alternative (substitutional) service.

Make copies

You'll need to make the necessary number of copies of the documents you want to have served (to find out how many you need, see the relevant step of the appropriate step-by-step guide or contact family duty counsel).

You need at least one copy for the other party and one copy to attach to the Affidavit of Ordinary Service (Form F16), which you'll fill out in the last step. This affidavit is proof to the court that you've served the documents.

If you have more than one document to serve, keep the originals together as one set. Make other sets that contain one copy of each document.

Serve the documents

Depending on the other person's address for service, you can mail the documents, drop them off, or send them by email or fax. The methods have different rules and time limits.

Expand the following headings to find out more about each method of service.

You can serve a document by mailing a copy of it to the person's address for service. This could be a home or business address. You can send it by regular mail, but you must pay full postage.

A mailed document is considered served one week later on the same day of the week as the day of mailing or, if that day is a Saturday, Sunday, or holiday, the next day that's a business day (Monday to Friday).

Mail isn't a good option if your instructions are, for example, to serve the document within two days, or by noon the next day.

You can serve a document by dropping off a copy at the person's address for service. This could be a home or work address.

A document that's left at a person's address for service is considered served on that day if it's served at or before 4 pm on a business day (Monday to Friday). If it's left after 4 pm or on a Saturday, Sunday, or holiday, it's considered served on the next day that's a business day.

If the other party included an email address in their address for service, you can serve a document by emailing an electronic copy.

An email is considered served on the day it's sent if you send it before 4 pm on a business day (Monday to Friday). If you send it after 4 pm or on a Saturday, Sunday, or holiday, it's considered served on the next day that's a business day.

If the other party included a fax number in their address for service, you can serve a document by fax.

  1. Fill in a Fax Cover Sheet (Form F95). You can either fill the sheet out online or print it and fill it out by hand (print neatly using dark-coloured ink).
  2. Fax the cover sheet and the document to the fax number provided in the address for service.

A fax is considered served on the day it's sent if you send it before 4 pm on a business day (Monday to Friday). If you send it after 4 pm or on a Saturday, Sunday, or holiday, it's considered served on the next day that's a business day.

There are special rules for faxing long documents. If the document you're faxing, including the cover page, is more than 30 pages, you must send it between 5 pm and 8 am, unless the other party agrees to receive it earlier.

Complete the Affidavit of Ordinary Service

You'll need

Fill out an Affidavit of Ordinary Service

To prove ordinary service of the documents, you need to fill out an Affidavit of Ordinary Service (Form F16). The form has instructions to help you fill it out. You can either fill the form out online or print it and fill it out by hand (print neatly using dark-coloured ink).

You also need to attach the copies of the served documents to the affidavit. Each copy must be marked as an "Exhibit" and labelled "A," "B," "C," etc. (depending on how many documents there are). If the documents aren't attached and properly marked, your affidavit won't be accepted by the court and you'll have to have the documents served again.

Swear or affirm the Affidavit of Ordinary Service

Then take the affidavit (with the attachments) to a lawyer, a notary public, or a clerk at the court registry to swear or affirm that the documents have been served. (There's a fee for this.) The lawyer, notary, or clerk will sign the affidavit, and stamp and sign each attachment.

Affidavits must be sworn by a commissioner for taking affidavits. Lawyers and notaries public are always commissioners. Usually at least one person at the court registry or government agent's office is a commissioner. Ask about the fee, as different offices charge different amounts for the same service. To find out who else can act as a commissioner, see Who can swear an affidavit?.

You can use the Affidavit of Ordinary Service as evidence that the documents were served on the other party. Be sure to keep the completed and sworn Affidavit of Ordinary Service with your file.

For more information about serving Supreme Court documents, see Rules 6-1, 6-2, 6-3 and 6-4 of the Supreme Court Family Rules.