How to serve Supreme Court documents
- Mail the documents
- Leave the documents at the address for service
- Fax the documents
- Email the documents
If you have to serve a document by ordinary service, you can either drop off the document, or send it by mail, fax, or email to the other party depending on the type of information they included in their "address for service." The address for service is the address they put on their own court documents such as their Response to Family Claim (Form F4).
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 self-help 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). This affidavit will prove 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.
Be aware of your time limits for serving the document (the self-help guide sets out the time limits).
You can serve a document by mailing a copy of it to the person's address for service. You can send it by just 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 an office or residential 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 p.m. on a business day (Monday to Friday). If it's left after 4 p.m. 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.
- 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).
- 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 p.m. on a business day (Monday to Friday). If you send it after 4 p.m. or on a Saturday, Sunday, or holiday, it's considered served on the next day that's a business day.
Tip: 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 p.m. and 8 a.m., unless the other party agrees to receive it earlier.
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 p.m. on a business day (Monday to Friday). If you send it after 4 p.m. or on a Saturday, Sunday, or holiday, it's considered served on the next day that's a business day.
To prove ordinary service of the documents, you need to fill out an Affidavit of Ordinary Service (Form F16) (PDF) (Word). 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.
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.
Important: 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 our fact sheet called Swearing an Affidavit — Who can do it.
You can then 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.
For more information about what to do if the other party lives outside BC or outside Canada, see our self-help guide on How to serve court documents outside BC. If you don't know where the other party lives, see our Court forms FAQ.
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