The move is part of an expansion of its e-services, the SCT said.

Ankush is a journalist hailing from India, who has edited and written for publications in his home country, the UAE, US, and UK. Previously the editor of Gulf Business in Dubai and of Entrepreneur in India, Ankush is a keen student of economics, a follower of Manchester United since 1996 and a disciple of Archer.

Dubai’s DIFC Courts Small Claims Tribunal (SCT) will now let claimants serve notices to defendants over direct and instant messaging (IM) services like WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger, a statement indicated.

The move is part of an expansion of its e-services, the SCT said.

Currently, defendants receive SCT claim forms via email, then in person, or through courier, or at the last known address if they do not reply. With the change in rules, the claimant can use direct and IM to serve the claim if the defendant is still unresponsive.

“To preserve privacy and prevent misuse, the communication must be direct and the claimant must formally request permission from the SCT before going ahead,” it added.

The SCT said will automatically issue a default judgment should the defendants do not respond or are evasive.

“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 document,” Nassir Al Nasser, SCT judge and registrar, said.

“Allowing service by instant messaging has the potential to help both claimants and defendants, speeding up the resolution of disputes.”

The English-language DIFC Courts have been seeing an increasing number of cases year-on-year since its establishment in 2006.