E-court Process Service: a Case for the Review of the Law Regulating Court Process Service in Kenya
The main objective of this study is to analyse the available electronic communication platforms which can be used for court process service. Improved Information and Communication Technology has brought about new modes of communication through social media platforms such as WhatsApp, Facebook, and Twitter among others which have revolutionised communication. These new modes of communication are poised for being cost effective, instantaneous, efficient and easy to use. It is because of these improved modes of communication which are mostly internet based that the world is slowly becoming a global village. Communication is pivotal in court proceedings. It is a requirement that upon filing a suit, the Plaintiff must give notice to the Defendant. Service of process allows the Defendant to take note of the suit. It also gives an opportunity to the Defendant to file responses. The way used to bring to the attention of the other party of a pending suit that is, service of summons is what is generally referred to as Court process service. The Civil Procedure Rules 2010 is the main statutory framework on service of process. Order 5 of the Civil Procedure Rules provides for service through personal service, service through an authorised agent, service via affixing of copy of summons in an open space in court or the defendants place of residence, business or work, service via advertisement and service through registered post. In Kenya, the law relating to service of process is yet to be amended to accommodate the new modes of communication which can be used effectively in process service. The Kenyan Courts though they have recognised technology as enabler of justice and have even embraced technology in areas such e-filing, e- payment, e-transcription of court proceedings, use of email in sending notices among others, the relevant laws on procedure are yet to amended to allow the use of other electronic means such as social media sites as a means of substituted service. Countries such as the United States of America, India, and South Africa among others which have incorporated the use of electronic communication in service of process have realized tremendous benefits which have bolstered delivery of justice. This study examines the place of electronic communication as an alternative mode of process in our rules of procedure with a view to making recommendations for review of the relevant rules to accommodate the use of these platforms.
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