If you have to serve a document on the other person and they live in BC, you must do it either by personal service (having a third person give it to them) or by ordinary service (dropping it off or sending it by mail, email, or fax).
If the other person lives outside BC or outside Canada, see Serve documents outside BC.
If you can't serve the documents (for example, if the other party is avoiding service), see Arrange for alternative (substitutional) service.
Which method of service do you need?
The document you need to serve will usually say how you must serve it. Staff at the court registry can also tell you how you must serve a document.
You must serve the following forms (and any related attachments) by personal service:
- an Application About a Family Law Matter (Form 3);
- an Application About a Protection Order, unless you're asking for an "urgent order without notice";
- a Protection Order (the registry will arrange to serve this document if the person is in BC);
- an Application About Priority Parenting Matter (Form 15) (if the court file doesn't have an address for service for the other person).
Check the instructions on the form you need to serve. Other forms may have to be served by personal service if there is no address for service in the court file.
All other documents can be served by ordinary service.
You can serve documents by ordinary service yourself, by delivering or sending them to the person's address for service. This can include a mailing address, email address, or fax number.
You can't serve documents by personal service yourself. You must have another adult serve them for you. You can hire a professional process server or ask a friend or relative (who's 19 or older) to serve it for you.
Make two additional copies of all the documents you need to serve, including any attachments.
- one set to give to the other person, and
- one set to attach to the Certificate of Service (Form 7).
Download the Form 7 from the link and print out one copy.
If you're emailing or faxing the documents to the other person, you only need one extra copy of your forms. This is your 'Proof of service' copy.
Serve the documents
By ordinary service
Serve documents by one of these methods:
- dropping off the document at the person's address for service,
- mailing the document by regular mail to the person's address for service,
- mailing the document by registered mail to the person's address for service,
- emailing the document to the person's email address for service, or
- faxing the document to the person's fax number for service.
Director of Maintenance Enforcement
203 – 865 Hornby Street
Vancouver, BC V6Z 2G3
By personal service
Give the process server (a professional service) or your friend or relative:
- two copies of all documents and attachments — one to give to the other person and one attached to the Certificate 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
- if the process server doesn't know the person being served, a recent and accurate photograph of them.
If you don't have a photograph, give the process server a written physical description of the other person. Include height, hair colour, eye colour, and any other characteristics that might help the process server identify the other person.
The person serving the documents must:
- compare the two copies of the documents to make sure they're the same;
- give one set of copies to the other person;
- ask the other person for photo ID;
- record the number of the photo ID provided by the person being served;
- make a note of the date, time, and place where the documents were served; and
- complete the Certificate of Service (Form 7) and attach it to the other copy of the documents.
If the person serving the documents knows the person they're serving, they don't have to take a photo with them or ask for ID.
Certificate of Service
For ordinary service
Fill out the Certificate of Service, sign it, and attach it to one copy of your documents.
For personal service
The person who served the documents for you must:
- complete and sign the Certificate of Service,
- attach it to the other copy of the documents, and
- return the certificate and documents to you.
Keep the signed Certificate of Service with the attached documents in case you need to prove that the documents were properly served.
You've completed all the steps to serve Provincial Court documents on someone in BC.
Thank you for using our step-by-step guide.