Sometimes you can communicate by email rather than letter. You may even be able to send legal documents as attachments to an email rather than by post. In either case, you will need to think carefully about what you will say in the email.
For a helpful tool to use when writing an email, see
Checklist: Writing emails and faxes.
When communicating by email about legal matters, you should use similar practices as you would if you were sending a legal letter. For more information on what to put in letters to courts, solicitors and other parties, see
When corresponding by email, you should:
- check you're sending it to the right email address
- make sure the recipient's email address is in the "to" address bar
- check you're not accidentally sending it CC (carbon copy) or BCC (blind carbon copy) to other email addresses
- add a subject that will make it easy for the recipient to understand what the message is about before they open it
- if you are making an offer, making admissions or negotiating a settlement, make sure the words "without prejudice" are in the body of the email
- request a read receipt if you want to know when the recipient has read the email (this is particularly useful if you need evidence that the email was read)
- if you want a reply don't be afraid to ask for one by a particular (but reasonable) date
- follow up your email with a telephone call to confirm it was received, just in case the recipient's email program dealt with it as spam or junk mail.
Think about the email address that you are using to send and receive formal correspondence. If it has a very informal name, you might want to create a new email account to use for your case.
Sending legal documents by email
You may be able to serve (formally give the other party) court documents, send evidence, or submit forms by email as attachments. Depending on the court you are in and what the other party has put as their address for service, you may be able to serve:
- a Defence
- Notice of Motions
- draft Consent Orders
- Offers of Compromise,
by email. In some cases you may be able to submit court forms or other forms by email, though you should check with the relevant court, department or agency before doing this.
There are rules about the way certain documents can be served and some documents must always be served by personal service. You should check the court rules that apply in your case to make sure that you can use email. If you are not sure whether you can serve a document by email, you should get
If you want to send a document by email as an attachment, there are some things you should remember:
- make sure the document is attached
- make sure the document attached is the final version and not a draft (unless you intend to send the draft)
- make sure the document is in an easy to read format, such as Word or pdf
- if you are concerned about the document not being amended, send it as a pdf
- if the document is a large file, the recipient may not be able to receive it, so try to keep it as small as possible, or send it through in parts
- if you are concerned about confidentiality, mark the email as confidential.