Summons have traditionally been sent on print media or by mail to the defendant for them to appear in court.
Well, that is the old way and although it still applies to date, we are living in a different world. Social media use is part of life now and people have signed up for mobile messaging services that they use daily.
We have seen people being summoned via social messaging apps like WhatsApp and it seems like this will be a legal way forward.
According to the new Civil Procedure (Amendment) Rules 2020, under order 5 rule 22C, summons may be sent to the defendants using these apps.
- Summons may be sent by mobile-enabled messaging Applications to the defendant’s last known and used telephone number.
- Summons shall be deemed served on the day which is sent; if it is sent within the official business hours on a business day in the jurisdiction sent, or and if it is sent outside of the business hours and on a day that is not a business day it shall be considered to have been served on the business day subsequent.
- Service shalle be deemed to have effected when mobile-enabled messaging services when the Sender receives a delivery receipt.
- An officer of the court who is duly authorized to effect service shall file an Affidavit of Service attaching the delivery receipt confirming service.
This means that officers of the court can send summons via mobile messaging services and they will be deemed to have been effected when he/she receives a delivery receipt. They will have to file an affidavit attaching the said delivery receipt (probably a screenshot or something) confirming the service.
So next time you get served on a service like WhatsApp, don’t be surprised to see that the blueticks you gave have been attached as evidence of the said summon.