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Can you give the opposing party your response by email or fax?

Vancouver, WA |
Filed under: Litigation

When responding to a notice of a hearing are you allowed to serve the other party your response by email or fax?

What I am talking about are the papers you submit to the court prior to the hearing detailing your side like your declaration or other people's declarations, etc that support your case?

If you are required to turn them in no later than two days before the hearing, and you wait until two days before the hearing to do so, it seems like faxing or emailing them would be the only way to get them to other party successfully before the hearing in a lot of cases.

Is this allowed, and if so, even for pro se litigants? If not what are the legal ways to get these types of papers to the other party before the hearing ?

Attorney Answers 3


  1. Faxes can accepted by agreement and individual courts have systems for faxing and you need to look up the local court rule. Otherwise you have the tried and true legal messenger, but do not delay because an untimely response is no repsonse.

    here is a link to local court rules

    http://www.courts.wa.gov/court_rules/?fa=court_rules.local&group=local

    Good Luck


  2. The rule says that if you have a previous written agreement regarding service by email or fax you can do that, but without a previous written agreement, you can't. Courts *may* allow you to submit working copies by fax, but they generally don't have any way to do that. The only way to be sure the Court gets your working papers is to personally take them to the Judge's mailroom, and properly address them, with the correct lead time.

    Pro se litigants are held to the same standards as practicing attorneys. So, if you have really messed up with your response, sometimes the only thing to do is to call the other side, and ask for a continuance and try again, or go to the hearing to hear the judge tell you they haven't read your materials because they didn't get them. If you blame the clerk, you will not make any friends, either.

    Lawyers use messenger services and calendars to make sure that documents arrive by their deadline. Hope this helps. Elizabeth Powell


  3. I do not practice in your state.

    In California, where I practice, you can only serve by fax or e-mail if you have an agreement with opposing counsel or a pro se party.

    I would suggest you consult with a skilled attorney in your state.

    PLEASE NOTE THAT THIS RESPONSE SHOULD NOT BE CONSTRUED AS A LEGAL OPINION OR ADVISE, AND DOES NOT CREATE AN ATTORNEY-CLIENT RELATIONSHIP. IN ORDER TO RENDER A LEGAL OPINION OR ADVISE, THE RESPONDING ATTORNEY WOULD NEED FAR MORE INFORMATION THAN HAS BEEN PROVIDED, AND WOULD NEED TO BE RETAINED PURSUANT TO A WRITTEN FEE AGREEMENT.

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