Gotta Serve Somebody…by E-mail
As of January 1, 2015 the Rules of Civil Procedure (Ontario) have expanded to permit service of documents by e-mail.
Specifically, Rule 16.01(4)(b)(iv) permits that any document that is not required to be served personally or by an alternative to personal service may be served on a party acting in person or on a person who is not a party, by e-mailing a copy to the party or person, if they consent or the court orders otherwise.
Further, service of a document on the lawyer of record of a party may be made in accordance with Rule 16.05(1)(f) if the parties consent or the court orders otherwise, by e-mailing a copy to the lawyer’s office.
In both of the above scenarios, service by way of e-mail must include the following as set out in Rule 16.06.1(1): (a) the sender’s name, address, telephone number, fax number, if any, and e-mail address; (b) the date and time of transmission; and (c) the name and telephone number of a person to contact in the event of a transmission problem. Where service is made between 4:00 pm and midnight, it is deemed to have been made on the following day.
Should counsel wish to rely on these new provisions it is important that the recipient consents. In the event consent is refused, Rule 16.06.1(2) allows the Court to make an Order directing that the document be served by e-mail.
A good telephone conversation still holds its value. This is emphasized in Justice Brown’s Standard Case Management Directions where he states that, “…[w]hile communication amongst counsel by email may be convenient, often to resolve difficult issues there is no substitute for ‘live’ communications between counsel, such as picking up the phone or chatting over a coffee”.
However, for service purposes, allowing service by e-mail will surely prove to be convenient.