Sunday 05, November 2017 by Jessica Combes

DIFC SCT defendants to be served by direct and instant messaging under new rules

 

The DIFC Courts Small Claims Tribunal (SCT) is giving claimants the option to use direct and instant messaging to give defendants notice as part of an expanded range of e-services, in a move designed to help people and businesses resolve disputes more quickly.

Until now, all defendants have first received SCT claim forms via email, then in person, or through courier, or at the last known address if they do not reply. Under the new rules, if the defendant is still unresponsive, the claimant may use e-services, including direct and instant messaging, to serve the claim. To preserve privacy and prevent misuse, the communication must be direct and the claimant must formally request permission from the SCT before going ahead.

“With direct and instant messaging now part of our daily life, it is important for our courts to reflect changes in how we communicate. Small Claims Tribunal cases often involve individuals and small businesses, as well as a mobile expatriate population, and it is sometimes difficult to physically locate the other party and serve court documents. Allowing service by instant messaging has the potential to help both claimants and defendants, speeding up resolution of disputes,” said Nassir Al Nasser, SCT Judge and Registrar.

Already a feature of justice systems in the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada and parts of the United States, e-services open up another avenue for claimants to reach defendants.

The new service will also support defendants, by alerting them through a different channel that a claim has been filed against them, ensuring that they do not miss out on the opportunity to present their side of the case. The existing rules state that when defendants do not respond or are evasive, the SCT will automatically issue a default judgement.