SingPass App Approved to Effect Substituted Service of Court Documents for Civil Proceedings
Personal service of court documents is a key step in the civil litigation process and commencement of legal proceedings.
In situations where attempts to effect personal service have failed and do not appear viable, one can apply to the Courts to have the documents served via substituted modes of service, also known as substituted service.
Some common modes of substituted service are:
- AR Registered Post
- Posting on doors or gates of residential and business premises
- Advertisement in the newspapers
- Sending the documents through instant messaging platforms such as WhatsApp
In addition to the foregoing, the Courts have recently introduced a new mode of substituted service for civil proceedings – through the Singpass app Inbox. We set out more information about this new mode of substituted service below.
When does this new mode of substituted service via Singpass app inbox come into effect?
- This new mode of substituted service will come into effect on 1 September 2022.
Who can apply to have the documents served via Singpass app Inbox?
- Service via Singpass app Inbox will only apply to subscribers of the eLitigation platform.
- Litigants‐in‐person and law firms filing and serving documents at the Self Service Bureau will not be able to use this mode of Service.
What is required before I can utilise Singpass app Inbox as substituted service?
- There must have been at least two attempts at personal service.
- An application for substituted service has to be made to the Court with an Order of Court approving the same.
- It will have to be explained to the Court why this method of substituted service would likely bring the documents to the attention of the recipient.
- The Court retains its discretion to allow or refuse the application.
- Note that in order for this mode of substituted service to be successful, the intended Singpass app Inbox recipient must have a Singpass account and installed Singpass app on their smart devices.
How will the intended recipient receive service of the court documents on the Singpass app?
- The intended recipient will receive a “push” notification informing him about the service of court documents in his Singpass app Inbox.
- The e-service via Singpass app Inbox is deemed successful if the Singpass notification has been successfully delivered to the intended recipient’s Singpass app Inbox.
Whilst it is encouraging that the Singapore Courts are constantly looking at new ways to reform and improve the civil litigation process, it remains to be seen whether this new mode of substituted service would be effective and utilised by litigants. For example, it is foreseen that there would be difficulties in convincing the court that the intended recipient uses the Singpass app and/or checks the Singpass app Inbox frequently and consequently whether this mode of service would likely bring the documents to the attention of the recipient.