California Code of Civil Procedure 1013 – Service By Mail – Emergency Rules Under COVID-19

Attorneys and Pro Se litigants are advised to double-check California Courts Emergency Rules related to COVID-19 in all court related matters.

Emergency Rule 12, as well as additional Emergency Rules should be taken into consideration when implementing California Code of Civil Procedure 1013.

Emergency Rule 12

Electronic Service

(a) Application

(1) Notwithstanding any other law, including Code of Civil Procedure section  1010.6, Probate Code section 1215, and rule 2.251, this rule applies in all general civil cases and proceedings under the Family and Probate Codes, unless a court orders otherwise.

(2) Notwithstanding (1), the rule does not apply in cases where parties are already required by court order or local rule to provide or accept notices and documents by electronic service, and is not intended to prohibit electronic service in cases not addressed by this rule.

(b) Required Electronic Service

(1) A party represented by counsel, who has appeared in an action or proceeding, must accept electronic service of a notice or document that may be served by mail, express mail, overnight delivery, or facsimile transmission. Before first serving a represented party electronically, the serving party must confirm by telephone or email the appropriate electronic service address for counsel being served.

(2) A party represented by counsel must, upon the request of any party who has appeared in an action or proceeding and who provides an electronic service address and a copy of this rule, electronically serve the requesting party with any notice or document that may be served by mail, express mail, overnight delivery, or facsimile transmission.

(c) Permissive Electronic Service

Electronic service on a self-represented party is permitted only with consent of that party, confirmed in writing. The written consent to accept electronic service may be exchanged electronically

(d) Time

(1)In general civil cases and proceedings under the Family Code, the provisions of Code of Civil Procedure section 1010.6(a)(4) and (5) apply to electronic service under this rule.

(2)In proceedings under the Probate Code, the provisions of Probate Code section 1215(c)(2) apply to electronic service under this rule.

(e ) Confidential Documents

Confidential or sealed records electronically served must be served through  encrypted methods to ensure that the documents are not improperly disclosed.

(f) Sunset of Rule

This rule will remain in effect until 90 days after the Governor declares that the state of emergency related to the COVID-19 pandemic is lifted, or until amended or repealed by the Judicial Council.

Emergency Rule 12 was adopted effective April 17, 2020. The Emergency Rules were updated effective April 20, 2020. Please check with the California Courts Newsroom for updated Emergency Rules. 


California Rule of Civil Procedure 1013

CCP 1013 (amended effective 1/1/2011) addresses the issue of service by mail in a court action, and what constitutes proof of service to the court.

Proof of Service Options

1) An affidavit with the exact title of the document served and filed, bearing the name and address, either home or business, of the serving individual, demonstrating they are a resident of the county in which the mailing occurred. Said affidavit must also state that he/she is over 18 years old, and is not a party to the legal action, with the date and where the document was served in the mail. They must also furnish proof that the envelope was sealed and deposited with postage paid in full.

2) A certificate with the exact title of the document served and filed, including the name and business address of the server, showing that he or she is admitted to the State Bar of California, and not a party to the legal action. This certificate must show the date and place where the mail was deposited and the name and address of the individual being served on the envelope, with proof the envelope was sealed and deposited in the mail with postage prepaid in full.

3) An affidavit with the exact title of the document being served in the action, with the name and address of the individual serving, that he or she is a resident or is employed in the county where the service takes place. Additional information needed is a statement that he or she is over 18 years old, and not a party in the legal action, and that he or she is familiar with the collection and processing of mail, that the mailing would be placed with the United States Postal Service that same day, and the name and address of the served individual shown on the envelope, with the date and location where the mailing was placed to be received by the United States Postal Service, and that the envelope was sealed and placed for collection adhering to the business’ standard practices for mail. The service shall be assumed invalid if the cancellation date is more than one day after the deposit date stated within the affidavit.

Service by Clerk of Court

It is important to note that if a clerk of court completes the service task, the code requires a certificate by that clerk with the exact title of the document served, the name of the clerk who performed the service, and a statement that he or she is a clerk of the court and not party to the cause is required. The certificate must also show the date and location where the document was served, the name and address it was served upon as it appears on the envelope, and proof that the envelope was sealed with correct prepaid postage when it was placed in the mail.

Deemed Sufficient

This civil procedure code states that these proofs shall be sufficient if the clerk listed on the certificate as performing service places the document to be collected by the United States Postal Service. If a party moves on service and the court finds it to be in good cause, the court will then assume the service occurred on the date shown in the mail’s cancellation stamp or postage meter marking, provided the date is more than one day after the date of initial mailing, as stated in the certificate.

This code is used by the court to determine whether a document that was served is valid in a legal action.


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