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Service Of Key Court Papers By Whatsapp

Attention was brought to the High Court this week when the court was asked to consider if service of key court papers by online platform WhatsApp constituted valid service. 

Service” is the method by which documents are delivered and passed onto a party with an interest in ongoing court proceedings. To ensure that an individual is aware of court proceedings and has the opportunity to attend and address the court on matters concerning them, the court operates strict rules about how and when an applicant can serve a third party, e.g. by first class post or perhaps using a “process server”. 

The matter before the court involved Mandy Gray and her husband, Hamish Hurley, a New Zealand native. As the parties owned properties around the world and routinely jet-setted across the globe, the court determined that it was acceptable for the usual service rules to be set aside and for Mr Hurley to be served court papers from his wife via WhatsApp, allowing the matrimonial finance proceedings to be considered in England.  

The service of papers can be a big concern for clients. This is especially true if there is some form of contact dispute during, for example, divorce proceedings or for an application for the emergency return of a child. It is, therefore, essential to ensure that legal advice is obtained to ensure the court’s strict rules relating to service are followed. This will ensure the progression of a case is efficiently pursued and that an application party is not exposed to an adverse costs order. 

If you have any questions regarding service of court papers, please contact us.

Philip is a Resolution member and formed part of the campaign to support no fault divorce proceedings. Philip is also contributor to the legal and national media on family law issues.

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