Defendant Served with Proceedings by Text Message
Jan Samuel 25-06-2018
In a departure from the usual rules about service, the court agreed that an injunction for misuse of private information and harassment could be served on the defendant by text message.
The case involved two defendants, who the wealthy claimant alleged were blackmailing him with a threat to expose details of a relationship.
In this case, the only information known about the second defendant was their mobile phone number. The Judge agreed that if the claimant was not able to serve the injunction in any other way, service by text message would be accepted by the court.
This case is noteworthy, because it is very unusual. In most cases, proceedings have to be served using traditional methods such as post, fax and email, as well as personal service, where documents are handed to a defendant in person. Even where proceedings are to be served by email, the agreement of the defendant would be required under the rules.
However, it seems that the court in this case had no option but to make an alternative and altogether more modern order.
As the second defendant was attempting to remain anonymous (which is not particularly unusual in blackmail cases), the court agreed to allow the claimant to communicate with them using the only means at their disposal.
Is it unlikely that this issue will arise again in the near future, but if it does, a precedent has now been set which could be utilised by claimants who have very little information about their opponents. As technology develops, it means that other more innovate methods of service might be permitted in future.
Samuels Solicitors LLP, with offices in North and South Devon, has been assisting clients with a wide range of civil disputes for many decades, with particular specialisms in dealing with professional negligence claims, libel, boundary disputes, and inheritance disputes.
If you have a dispute you need assistance with, of if we can help you with ensuring that your claim is served properly, contact us today for a free initial discussion.