Courts and law have often been criticized for being slow moving and not keeping up with new technologies, however, Canadian courts, in the recent past, have shown a resolve to keep up with, or at least not fall too far behind, technology particularly in the area of serving legal process. While the rules of court in all Canadian provinces, including British Columbia, normally require personal service of legal process on the other party, in some cases that cannot be achieved for a variety of reasons including inability to find the party or repeated and deliberate attempts by a party to evade service. In such cases, there is, in the rules of court of all Canadian provinces, available a process to use an alternative method to serve a party called “substitutional service”. A party must apply to court for an order to serve another substitutionally. In such an application, the party seeking a substitutional service order must file an affidavit showing what attempts were made to serve the other party. The affidavit must contain evidence of the steps a party took to serve another; if a process server was hired; what is the last known address of the party sought to be served; any information of the whereabouts of the party sought to be served; any attempts by the party sought to be served to avoid service and the like. The court will need to be convinced that the applicant made a diligent effort to serve the party before it will grant an order for alternative service.
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© Shafik Bhalloo, Kornfeld Mackoff Silber LLP ; Adjunct Professor, SFU Beedie School of Business | Attorney Advertising