The next time you pick up your phone and anticipate responding to a friend or work colleague, you might be in for an unexpected and unwanted surprise.
The Family Procedure Rules 2010 (‘FPR 2010’) contain specific provisions for the service of documents, within the jurisdiction of England & Wales, by electronic means. Paragraph 4.2 of Practice Direction 6A provides that as long as the parties or their solicitors have indicated they will accept service by other electronic means and that a mobile phone number is provided, for example on a statement of case, service can occur via text message.
What this essentially means is that the next time you check your phone, you may in fact be legally served. Whilst this may seem like an unusual situation, it is not completely uncommon and demonstrates the versatility of the FPR 2010 in accommodating to modern methods of electronic communication.
“We have recently encountered a situation where a client was served a Non-Molestation Order (an emergency injunction) via a text message from the other side’s solicitors. This goes to show that even the most serious Orders can be served via a simple text message which essentially starts the ball rolling for legal proceedings. Therefore, should you be served via text message, you should immediately seek independent legal advice so as not to inadvertently prejudice your position in relation to any subsequent court processes.”