After you file your claim with the court, you have to "serve" it on each defendant. This means you have to give them a copy of the claim, including all the documents you filed with the Plaintiff's Claim Form.
You can do this yourself or have someone else do it.
And you must do it within 6 months of the date that the clerk stamped on the claim when you filed it with the court.
How you serve a claim
You can serve the claim by delivering it to the defendant in person. If the defendant is a corporation or other kind of business, it has to be served at the place of business on someone who is a manager.
If it's not clear who the manager is, you can serve the claim on someone who appears to be in charge.
You need to get the first and last name of the person who is served with the documents.
Someone may refuse to take the documents. If this happens, you can just drop them on the floor in front of them.
Another way to serve the claim is by registered mail or courier. If you do this, you need the signature of the person who accepted the delivery. This is your proof that you served the claim.
Rules about serving documents
Before you serve the documents, look at the Guide to Serving Documents to make sure that you follow all of the rules.
You will need to know details like:
- the date and time the documents were served
- where it happened
- the first and last name of the person the documents were given to
- how it was done, for example, in person, or by courier or registered mail
Proving you served the claim
You need to prove to the court that the claim was served on the defendant or defendants. You do this with an Affidavit of Service Form 8A.
It's a good idea to look at the Affidavit of Service Form before you serve the documents. That way, you'll know what information you need to fill it in properly.
The person who serves the documents has to swear or affirm that the completed Affidavit of Service is true. This means they promise that the information in the document is correct. They do this when they sign it in front of someone who has the authority to take oaths or affirmations. This includes lawyers and staff at the Small Claims Court offices.
You file the Affidavit with the court office.