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Your Facebook Status—“Served�

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95. 96. 97. 98. 99. 100. 101. 102. 103. 104.

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The consultation paper stated that while it envisioned social media playing an important role in substituted service scenarios, it “does not preclude the use of social media for personal service or ordinary service in certain situations.â€?95 For example, it envisions that parties to a contractual agreement could stipulate in advance that service can be made via electronic means, including social media.96 Similarly, the paper noted that a court has the inherent SRZHUWRHQWHUDQRUGHUÂżQGLQJWKDWVRFLDOPHGLDZRXOGEHÂłDVXLWDEOHPHDQVIRUHIIHFWLQJRUdinary service,â€? and could direct that such service be “properly effected by emailing a copy of WKHGRFXPHQWWRDSDUWLFXODUHPDLODGGUHVVRUE\SRVWLQJRQWKHZDOORIDVSHFLÂżHG)DFHERRN account which has been established to be accessible to the party to be served.â€?97 Notwithstanding the options of a contractual agreement or a court order, the Court acknowledged that “[i]t may only be possible to use social media for personal and ordinary service in very limited situations.â€?98 Substituted service, it said, “is the most appropriate way of tapping on social media for service of documents in Singapore.â€?99 Since the whole object of substituted service is to bring the legal documents to the defendant’s attention where reasonable attempts at personal service have alAs for publication, Judge UHDG\RFFXUUHGDQGZKHUHWKHFRXUWLVVDWLVÂżHG Burke observed that “Nobody, as to the impracticability of personal service, particularly poor people, is going the Court reasoned that “where it is shown that to look back at the legal newspaper the defendant is an active user of social media,â€? service through a social networking site “may to notice that their spouse wants to even be more effective than the traditional modes of substituted service such as posting at get divorced.â€? the Supreme Court’s notice board or advertisement in the daily press.â€?100 The paper goes on to say that such a form of substituted service not only achieves the goal of furnishing the defendant with notice of the court proceedings, it also gives plaintiffs more options — and less expensive ones at that — when dealing with evasive or unresponsive defendants.101 The consultation paper does add certain cautionary notes, taking into account such conFHUQVDVWKHIDFWWKDWDSDUW\PD\QRWORJLQWRKLV)DFHERRNSURÂżOHUHJXODUO\WKDWKHPD\ not see the messages posted on is Facebook wall, that the defendant might be away from his computer for extended periods, and that there may be issues raised regarding a person’s real (versus online) identity or the security of a given site.102 Such “valid concerns,â€? the Court said, would be properly addressed by the court ordering substituted service as part of its gatekeeping role in only allowing such service in “deserving situations, not as a matter of cause.â€?103 Substituted service through social media, the high court warned, “would not replace the traditional methods of substituted service but would only be an additional option for use in suitable circumstances,â€? such that “social media is not employed willy-nilly to prejudice a defendant in court proceedings.â€?104

VOLUME 2, I SSUE 2

7/3/12 7:56 AM

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Reynolds Courts & Media Law Journal, Spring 2012  

This issue of the Journal covers Facebook service, Judgespeak and more.

Reynolds Courts & Media Law Journal, Spring 2012  

This issue of the Journal covers Facebook service, Judgespeak and more.

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