If legal action has been started against someone, what happens if they move homes? For example, if an order for a defendant to pay someone money is made, what would happen if they just moved homes so they can't be served?

I know if someone fails to show up to a payment hearing they can be arrested. However how would they even know if they were served? Even with registered mail, usually whoever opens the door is asked to sign.

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    (Canadian vs. USA- Apparently in Canada "moves home" means "moves to a new place," not necessarily "moves back in with their parents," or "moves back to where they have a previously established abode.") Question: Is the individual in this case still in BC? Could they eventually be located? Are they art some p9oint going to use the new address for taxes, driver's license, something?
    – Damila
    Jan 26, 2021 at 17:02

1 Answer 1


Since the legal process has started, the defendant will have been served and there will be a record of their address (refer to the Supreme Court civil rules, part 4). That would be their lawyer if they are represented by a lawyer – I assume that's not the case in your scenario – or their address (any address, within 30 km of the registry, or failing that, some accessible address and email, fax or a BC postal address). Either party can change their address by filing Form 9 with the other party. If you just take off without serving a change of address, then legally speaking, you've been served even if you didn't get the notice, if the notice is subject to ordinary service (the usual case). An order to pay up can be served by ordinary service. Service is complete on the day that is it left at the address (or a day or two later depending on time and when holidays and Saturdays are), or a week later if it is mailed.

  • What if the issue had to be escalated to another level of court, and the defendant moved in between the time of filing to the next? For example the Civil Resolution Tribunal has the power to make orders but it has to be taken to the Provincial Court to be enforced. Could it be argued they are two different legal processes or if the action flows from the same event is it considered the same?
    – Clockatok
    Jan 26, 2021 at 20:58

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