ISSN: 2605-5244

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Service of process via social media in civil cases: an exploration of the potential use of social media platforms for bringing notice to defendants in Belgium


In common law systems, there has recently been a trend to permit plaintiffs to serve process on defendants through social media networks. This trend raises the following question: Is this form of service also beneficial in civil law countries, in particular, Belgium? To answer this question, this Article analyzes the conditions under which this type of service has been allowed by US courts, where most of the new development has occurred. This Article concludes that social media service may be a valuable additional means of notice when the defendant does not have a known address. In such circumstances, Belgian law currently prescribes service on the public prosecutor as the last resort method; however, service via social media platforms is far more effective at actually reaching the defendant. Consequently, the Belgian legislature could consider introducing social media service as a method supplementing service on the public prosecutor, provided the necessary safeguards are implemented.


I. Introduction.—II. Use of Social Media for Service of Process in Common Law Systems. A. First Seed: The Australian Case of MKM Capital v Corbo & Poyser; B. The US Legal Framework for Service; 1. Method of Service Needs Statutory Basis; 2. Method of Service Must Satisfy the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution; C. Advantages of Social Media Service; D. Prerequisites for Social Media Service in Case Law; 1. Authentication; 2. Evidence of Regular Use; 3. Social Media Service in Combination with Other Methods; 4. Social Media Service as a Subsidiary Method; 5. Proof of Actual Receipt—III. Introduction of Social Media Service as a Method of Service in Belgium; A. Current Legal Framework; B. Possible Role as a Supplementary Method for Defendants Without a Known Address—IV. Analysis of Potential Issues Concerning Social Media Service in Belgium; A. Authentication and Regular Use; B. Privacy Considerations.—IV. Analysis of Potential Issues Concerning Social Media Service in Belgium; A. Authentication and Regular Use; B. Privacy Considerations: C. Social Media’s Informality: D. Who Is Authorized to Effect Social Media Service?; E. Proof of Actual Receipt.—V. Conclusion


evidence; publicity; notification; summons;

Cedric Vanleenhove

Italian-Spanish Review of Procedural Law

Number: 1-2020.

Pages: 7-48

Madrid, 2020

Language: English