A court in Singapore had managed to create a big impact with a small move by allowing a civil suit to be notified to a defendant using the WhatsApp messaging app. This move was taken after several attempts to serve court papers to the defendant, in person, has failed.
A court in Singapore had managed to create a big impact with a small move by allowing a civil suit to be notified to a defendant using the WhatsApp messaging app. This move was taken after several attempts to serve court papers to the defendant, in person, has failed. This goes on to show that evasive tactics earlier used earlier will not work anymore in this digital age. According to LiveLaw, R&D Pharmaceuticals had filed a lawsuit against business associate Tan Chong Min accusing him of allegedly failing to return a loan of $43,000. Meanwhile, the petitioner’s lawyer, Vijai Parwani made many attempts to reach the defendant but was not able to contact him. According to the laws, if court documents cannot be provided to the defendant personally, the court has to allow alternate means of transmission, in this case, WhatsApp.
Since the petitioner could not find Tan, the court was approached to allow WhatsApp to be treated ‘sufficient’ evidence to show that the documents were served on the defendant. According to reports, State Courts deputy registrar Georgina Lum had earlier, approved the application. Considering the delay and expensed due to the reluctant defendant, lawyers said that such methods would only be helpful in such cases where a party is absconding. In the above case, the petitioner’s lawyer used identification cards to match with the WhatsApp display picture to prove the legitimacy of the account. According to reports, Tan had eventually contacted R&D.
According to LiveLaw, a similar situation arose in Australia, where a defendant could not be reached personally at his given address. It was then that the high court had allowed the use of e-mail for transmission of papers by the plaintiff in a copyright case. The court had said that for such instances social media platforms like Facebook, Skype and Twitter could be used. But according to some lawyers, such alternate provisions for submitting court documents, are still in a nascent stage, and proper regulatory laws should be kept in place.