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Validity of e-service in Canada and the U.S.

By Amir Tajkarimi

One task that is dominant in legal proceedings is the service of documents between counsel. Whether it’s in Canada or the U.S., attorneys have to serve each other according to the rules of civil procedure of their jurisdiction (state, county, province…).

The latter usually involves traditional delivery methods such as process servers, couriers, registered mail, or in-person delivery. Understandably, the reason why these methods are valid is because for a very long time, they were the only communication methods that offered a reliable proof of service (proof of delivery).

In this digital age, it’s not uncommon to see more and more courts lean towards electronic alternatives to paper-based communication. Accordingly, civil procedure rules across North America have evolved in order to allow for lawyers to serve documents via email, provided that certain criteria are respected.

Lexop’s mission is to help law firms reduce overhead and admin-tasks by automating the way they serve, share, and collect documents. One of our key features is Certified Email™. It allows users to serve documents via email and instantly get a proof of service that is court-admissible.

To that end, we often get asked whether email service is valid? So we created an interactive map that identifies the provisions for each jurisdiction regarding the service of documents and proceedings by email for state and federal courts in Canada and the U.S. We did not cover county courts because they each may have their own policy and rules regarding service – which may differ from state courts’ general rules of procedure.

This research is only for information purposes. It is not a legal opinion. We encourage our customers to always verify the rules of procedure that govern their jurisdiction. Lastly, there are some states for which our research has not been completed yet. We will update this map along the way.

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