Serve Provincial Court documents by delivery

Provincial Court


If you're allowed to serve a Provincial Court document on the other party by delivering it by mail, fax, or email (or by just dropping it off), use the address for service that they put on their own court documents. Most court documents will have an address for service. It's normally a residential or business address and may include a fax number or email address.

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

Make copies

Make the necessary number of copies of the document(s) you need 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). Remember to include copies of any attachments.

You need at least one copy for the other party and one copy to attach to the Affidavit of Service (Form 13). 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.

Serve the documents

There are several ways you can serve documents by delivery, including:

  • Mail
  • Drop-off
  • Email
  • Fax

Expand the following headings to learn more.

You can serve a document by mailing a copy of it to the other party's address for service. You can send it by regular mail, but you must pay full postage.

A document mailed in a Provincial Court case is considered to be served 14 days after the day you mailed it, unless that day was a Saturday, Sunday, or holiday (in which case, the document is considered to be served on the next day). Mail isn't a good option if your instructions are, for example, to deliver the document within two days, or by noon the next day.

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

If the other party put an email address in their address for service, you can serve the document by email. Email the document as an attachment to the email address provided. It’s a good idea to ask the person to email you back to confirm they received your email and the documents. Print the email you sent and any response you receive.

Even if you know the email address of the other party (or their lawyer), you can't serve documents by email unless the other party included their email address in the address for service on their court documents.

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

  1. Fill in a Fax Cover Page (Form 10). You can either fill this document out online or print it and fill it out by hand (print neatly using dark-coloured ink).
  2. Fax the cover page and your document to the fax number provided in the other party's address for service.

If you're serving documents on the Director of Maintenance Enforcement, mail them to:

Director of Maintenance Enforcement
203 – 865 Hornby Street
Vancouver, BC  V6Z 2G3

Fill out an Affidavit of Service

To prove you served the documents, you must fill out an Affidavit of Service (Form 13). Use the blank Affidavit of Service that's on page 7 of the Application to Obtain an Order (Form 1) on the provincial Family court forms page.

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 can also get the printed form from the court registry and fill it out by hand. (These forms come with all necessary copies attached.)

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. 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 our fact sheet Who can swear an affidavit?.

During COVID-19, you don't need to swear or affirm most affidavits that you're filing in a Provincial Court matter. If there is a hearing, the judge will likely require you to swear or affirm your affidavits at the hearing. 

However, the person who served the documents must swear or affirm an Affidavit of Personal Service (before giving it to you to file) if they won't be attending the hearing.

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

If you don't know where the other party lives, see Serving documents to find out how to proceed.