Spotlight on Chapter 11 “Service of Documents” from LESA’s Alberta Civil Practice Manual

LESA’s Alberta Civil Practice Manual was recently updated (spring 2023) thanks to the dedicated work of LESA volunteers. Nicola Cooper is an associate lawyer at Cooper & Company and assisted with Chapter 11 of the manual, which outlines service of documents. This week, the LESA blog would like to spotlight Nicola and her contributions to this manual.

Nicola has a diploma in Theatre Arts and a Bachelor of Arts (psychology major). She was inspired to pursue a career in law when she was working at her father’s law firm during her undergraduate degree. She found the work at the firm interesting and compelling and decided to study law at the University of Calgary. In her practice, Nicola enjoys the challenging aspects of law and helping her clients out of difficult situations. She is a lifelong learner and continues to expand her knowledge and skillset in law. Nicola notes:

“I am a forever student, and I have found the LESA materials, and especially the LESA Manuals, to be very valuable resources in my learning. I am proud that I am able to contribute to the resources that have helped me, and hopefully someone else will find my contributions valuable. I also enjoy the opportunity to expand my own knowledge in preparing the materials.”

As a LESA volunteer, Nicola is a proud contributor to the manual and has enjoyed the opportunity to expand her knowledge while working on this chapter. As Nicola notes below, chapter 11 outlines the various ways to satisfy document service in civil litigation:

“Serving documents is something that every litigator will have to do regularly in their practice and improper service can impact a client’s ability to pursue their claim. Even though the service of documents is routine, the particulars of effecting service change from case to case. For this reason, it is important that litigators are live to the ways that service can be effected.”

This chapter also highlights effecting personal service where possible to avoid having to meet the technical requirements for service. Service by recorded mail is a common method of serving commencement documents. If service is done by recorded mail, it is important to ensure that the recorded mail has been signed for – and by the correct person – otherwise there may be the need to bring an Application to validate service.

With respect to non-commencing documents, this chapter outlines the procedure for accepting service by email. If counsel does not want to accept service through email, they must ensure they do not provide an email on the Address for Service form or on a pleading to avoid satisfying the requirement in Rule 11.21. Counsel should also advise the opposing party that they will not be accepting service by email, and can do this by including this in email signatures and email autoreplies.

This chapter also provides that counsel must meet the requirements under the Rules when bringing applications for Substitutional Service, to Validate Service, or to Dispense with Service. Counsel must ensure that materials are drafted clearly and concisely so that the Judge can understand what is being asked and grant the relief sought.


Thank you to Nicola, and to all our volunteers, who worked to update this manual this past spring. To purchase a hardcopy of this manual, click here. If you are a current LESA Library subscriber (to the civil litigation collection or to the complete LESA Library) you can access this manual electronically as part of your subscription. For subscription options and pricing, click here.

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