If you have to serve a document on the other person by personal service, you can ask a friend or relative, or hire a professional process server.
If you hire a professional process server, you might want to get quotes from several because prices vary. Make sure they'll provide you with a sworn Affidavit of Personal Service (Form F15). This affidavit is your proof to the court that you had the documents served on the other person.
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 the other party is avoiding service), see our guide Arrange for alternative (substitutional) service.
Make copies of the documents you want to have served. Include copies of any attachments.
Make at least two copies of each document: one set for the other person and one set to attach to the Affidavit of Personal Service (Form F15). Keep the originals together.
Have the documents served
Give the process server (a professional or your friend or relative):
- two copies of all documents and attachments — one to give to the other person and one attached to the Affidavit of Service;
- the other person's address at home and at work;
- the other person's telephone number (so the process server can call to arrange a time for service); and
- a recent and accurate photograph of the other person if:
- you're serving a Notice of Family Claim (Form F3) or a Counterclaim (Form F5) in which a divorce is being applied for; and
- the process server doesn't know the other person; and
- you think the other person won't show photo identification (ID) to the process server.
The process server will have to ask the other party for photo ID at the time of service to prove that they knew they were serving on the right person.
The process server's role
The process server must then:
- compare the document copies to the originals to make sure they're the same;
- give one set of copies to the other person, and save the other set to attach to the affidavit;
- ask the other person for photo ID;
- make a note of the date and time where the documents were served (this information is needed for the affidavit); and
- record the number of the photo ID provided by the person being served.
Fill out and swear affidavit(s)
- A completed Affidavit of Personal Service (Form F15):
- A blank Affidavit (Form F30):
The process server completes an Affidavit of Personal Service
If you hired a process server, they will provide you with a sworn Affidavit of Personal Service.
If a friend or relative is your process server, they'll need to fill out the affidavit. They need to attach the copies of the served documents and the photograph (if used) 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.
Your friend or relative must then take the affidavit (with the attachments) to a lawyer, notary public, or 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.
You can use the Affidavit of Personal Service as evidence that the documents were served on the other party.
Fill out an Affidavit (if a photograph was used)
If the server doesn't know the person being served and uses a photograph to identify them, you must also fill out an Affidavit (Form F30).
In the affidavit, you confirm that the photograph is a true likeness of the person being served. You must attach a copy of the same photograph to this Affidavit. The Affidavit 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).
Take your Affidavit (Form F30) to 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?.
As of March 27, 2020, you can swear an affidavit by videoconference if your Supreme Court matter is urgent and it's impossible or medically unsafe for you to meet a commissioner to swear an affidavit.