Once you have filed your petition and affidavit in support of your judicial review, you will need to serve stamped copies of these documents on all other interested parties.
Usually the interested parties are the same ones listed in your “On Notice To” section on the first page of your petition. The interested parties will always include the Director of the Residential Tenancy Branch, the Attorney General of British Columbia, and anyone that was a party in the Tribunal hearing.
The purpose of serving the court documents is to give the other parties formal notice of your court proceeding, and to give them a chance to respond to your judicial review. You cannot proceed with the judicial review without serving the other parties. Because the petition and the affidavit are the first documents to give the other parties notice of your judicial review, they must be served in a special way.
If you do not serve the petition and supporting documents on all of the other parties within one year, your petition will expire. In that situation, you can apply to court to renew the petition for a further 12 months and it will be up to a judge to decide whether you can go forward with your case.
Process servers can be hired to give legal notice of court proceedings by serving documents to other parties in judicial review. A process server will serve your completed petition and affidavit of judicial review to the interested parties (i.e. anyone that was party to the Tribunal hearing). You do not need to use a process server, but some people find it easier to do so.
If a property is owned by a corporation, they will have a registered office. Provide the process server with a copy of a corporate search to make sure that they serve the registered office. You can also ask the process server to do a search for you, although this may incur an extra charge. You can also do a land title search in order to make sure that you have the correct corporation name.
You do not need to use a process server to serve the Director of the Residential Tenancy Branch and Attorney General of British Columbia. Documents to be served on the Residential Tenancy Branch and the Attorney General need to be mailed by registered mail to the Deputy Attorney General at Victoria or must be served by hand at the Ministry of Justice in the City of Victoria. For more information, see How to Serve the RTB and the Attorney General.
When deciding whether or not to hire a process server, keep in mind:
- Fees for process servers vary by company, but the cost of hiring will generally start between $80-$200.
- Process servers are hired on a per service basis. This means that if you hire them to serve four parties, you will pay the service fee four times.
- Generally, the fee covers multiple attempts of service to the same party (usually three). However, you should clarify this with the specific company you may be hiring.
- Fees will vary depending on the location of the party you are serving, with more remote areas being more expensive.
- Some process servers may require you to pay a retainer amount up front.
- The company may require you to provide information (e.g. address, contact, and photograph) of the party you are trying to serve.
Hiring a process server may be beneficial if you do not have the time to serve a party to your judicial review, or if you are concerned about them being evasive. However process servers are expensive and you may consider it more reasonable to serve some or all of the parties yourself.