December 10, 2020

Traps and Confusion in Service Times

November 24, 2020

Don't Cut Corners

October 2 , 2020

Consent Orders

August 4 , 2020

Electronic Hearings

July 21, 2020

Ceasing to Act

June 29, 2020

Writing Skills

June 29, 2020

Keeping Up With the Law

June 22, 2020

Assets as a Test for Security for Costs

June 19, 2020

What is This Case About?

June 11, 2020

Cross-Examining Child Witnesses

May 20 , 2020

Formal Offers

May 13 , 2020

Vexatious or Self-Represented Litigants

January 7, 2020

G.S.T. and Costs

December 20 , 2019

Electronically Navigating the

October 7 , 2019

Questioning is a Bad Word

July 29 , 2019

Dismissal for Delay

May 7 , 2019

Rule 4.31 Fallacies

March 18 , 2019

More Dangers in Oral Fee Agreements

February 11 , 2019

Weir-Jones Decisions

January 9 , 2019

Discouraging Settlements

November 30, 2018

European Court Helps You Twice?

November 23 , 2018

Courts Overruling Tribunals

November 16 , 2018

New Evidence on Appeal

October 30 , 2018

Schedule C's Role

July 17 , 2018

Loopholes in Enforcing Settlements

May 7 , 2018

Enforcement of Procedure Rules

April 16, 2018

Limping Lawsuits are Often

April 3 , 2018

Court of Appeal Tips for
Summary Decisions

March 19, 2018

Serious Dangers in Chambers

February 13 , 2018

Court Backlog

December 18 , 2017

Lowering the Status of Courts

September 15 , 2017

Access to Court Decisions

July 4 , 2017

Strictissimi Juris

June 14 , 2017

Why Don't Your Clients Settle?

June 5 , 2017

Gap in Rules About Parties

June 5, 2017

Personal Costs Against

April 26, 2017

Clogged Courts

April 11, 2017

Dismissal for Want of

January 6, 2017

Incomplete Disclosure

December 15, 2016


November 23, 2016

Is Contract Interpretation Law?



Côté’s Commentaries

© J.E. Côté 2016-2020



Inside a recent Court of Appeal decision are timing decisions which give 4 pieces of guidance on how to calculate times:

1. general help in finding what is the last day to do something;
2. what time the last day ends;
3. when service by email occurs; and
4. how to prove email service.

The decision skips the old distracting reasoning about fractions of a day and which days to count or not count. It gets right to the bottom line, and shows how some legislation on the general subject is not on point.

One former Rule of Court about when the business day ends, and the effects of evening service, disappeared in 2010. So service up to midnight is service that day. When service is by a device (such as email or a fax), that is not too big a problem. But where service or attempted service is by hand (the best method in many cases), there is a problem. Attempted service by hand after an office is closed leaves no record or notice. Can an opposing lawyer come by your office at 11 p.m., find no one there, and so get an extra day to serve? If you are served the next day, you may assume that is too late. But if the previous evening was the last day, maybe it isn’t. Service when the office is next open may suffice.

Late evening service sounds like trickiness by the person serving, but not in all cases. About a year ago, I went to a downtown Edmonton office building, to drop something off in a law office there. It was a weekday, yet I found the outer door of the building at street level locked at 4:58 p.m. What does your landlord do? What does your receptionist do? Not what they supposedly do; what they really do. And not usually, but right now in Covid times. Do you actually know?

The decision is Covey v. Devon Can. Corp. 2020 ABCA 445, Calg 1901 0233 AC (Dec 8). On times and service, see ¶’s 12-19.

– Hon. J.E. Côté


The Commentaries are intended to call the attention of lawyers to promising or threatening developments in the law, in civil procedure, in developing their skills, or simply to describe something curious, funny or intriguing.

Justice Côté recently retired from the Court of Appeal of Alberta and currently acts as an arbitrator, mediator, or referee under Rules 6.44 and 6.45 of the Alberta Rules of Court.

He may be contacted through Juriliber at email: or phone 780-424-5345.