Court Papers Can Now Be Served Online

The newly-gazetted Magistrates (Civil) Courts Rules, coming into effect on February 1, now allow for the serving of court documents digitally.

Court Papers Can Now Be Served Online

Statutory Instrument 11 of 2019 simplifies the rules of the court. The new rules provide for service by telegraph, telefacsimile or electronic mail. Order 7 of the rules states that service by electronic means is the same as the usual physical service. Part of the new rules read:

Any process for service may be transmitted by telegraph, telefacsimile or electronic mail and a telegraphic, telefacsimile or electronic mail copy that is served in any of the ways prescribed in this Order shall be of the same effect as if the original had been so served

Mr Wellington Pasipanodya of Manase & Manase Legal Practitioners welcomed the development as he spoke to the state media. He, however, said those in rural communities where there is a poor transmission, may not fully benefit from the new provision.

“The new rules, as well as this provision (electronic service), are a welcome development in line with the international standard of embracing ICT and the digital age.

“Further, this proviso also effectively deals with litigants who try to evade service of process and those who employ delaying tactics in an effort to frustrate the other party.”

However, Mr Pasipanodya said those in rural communities where there is no access to the Internet, may not fully benefit from the new provision.

“The downside is that of the rural folk and marginalised groups who have no access to data services. Some areas have poor transmission and people from such places can also witness a drastic increase in default judgments, which can have an adverse effect to the gains envisaged by these provisions,” he said.

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