11.18: Service on self-represented litigants
11.30: Proving service of documents

Case Summary

The Appellant was the personal representative of the estate of the deceased. The Appellant appealed from an Order of a Chambers Judge which deemed service on certain self-represented beneficiaries of the deceased’s estate good and sufficient, having regard to their acknowledgement of such service. The Chambers Judge’s Order was based on the Surrogate Rules AR 130/1995 (the “Surrogate Rules”), which do not, absent an Order, equate an acknowledgement of service by a self-represented litigant with proof of service.

The Appellant argued on Appeal that, given the permissive language found in the Surrogate Rules, and since Rule 11.18 provides that a self-represented litigant may accept service in writing, and since Rule 11.30(1)(b) provides that service of a document in Alberta may be proven by an acknowledgment of service in writing, these Rules override the Surrogate Rules.

The thrust of the Appellant’s argument was that, under the Surrogate Rules, an Order validating service should not be required where proof of an acknowledgment of service is filed with the Clerk as contemplated by the Rules (but not necessarily the Surrogate Rules).

The Court of Appeal agreed, noting that this approach was reasonable, cost effective, and timely, and did not cause prejudice to any potential party.

The Appeal was therefore allowed.

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