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Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Singapore's Supreme Court Considers Service via Social Media

Process Servers have a sometimes difficult sometimes easy job to perform. This task "the service of civil process" has remained largely unchanged for more than 100 years. This Blog was dedicated to chronicling the many challenges the process serving profession currently faces.

On several occasions in the last year this Blog has cited examples of how modern technologies are impacting or posing threat to the traditional role of process servers.

For those the follow this Blog you know that I have cited several examples of social media already being used to effect the service of process most notably in Australia (twice), New Zealand, Canada and the United Kingdom.

The Singapore Supreme Court is exploring how to leverage social media platforms for the benefit of the civil litigation process. Specifically, the high court has published a document titled USE AND IMPACT OF SOCIAL MEDIA IN LITIGATION.

This twenty-six page document explores the opportunities and challenges associated of the use and impact of social media in civil litigation. The document proposes several best practices for both personal and substituted service discovery, exchange of documents between parties and other applications for social media platforms.

The Supreme Court is inviting public comment on these best practices and proposals. The due date for comments is September 15, 2010.   The document can be found here

On occasion I have accused of “promoting” electronic service of process. That is not the case; all I have been doing is calling attention to the issue in the hopes that NAPPS and all private process servers will one day have a meaningful and productive conversation about what these challenges mean to our profession.

Unless we want to be like the pony express (extinct) we had better find a way to insure that a disinterested third party (process server) retains a role in an electronic world.

What are process servers going to do when there is a proposal at the federal level that seeks to leverage today’s technologies in a way that marginalizes our role? It will happen; it is only a matter of time.

I am not saying the sky is falling. I am saying it is time to acknowledge these types of changes challenge our very existence and these types of challenges are presenting themselves with ever increasing frequency.

The fundamental question is; what if anything are process servers going to do to ensure that they remain relevant? The notaries figured it out… why can’t process servers? If we do not figure it out, social media and email may well fill the void. Then where are we?

I might be wrong, but I doubt it.