A judge in the High Court (UK that is) ruled that email is a valid means to serve up lawsuits, which is going to create a real mess. The issue came up because an email-based service of process got caught in a spam filter, resulting in what was essentially a default judgement when the defendent was late to appear.
Now there is grand legal strategy in the making, and it could cost the legal system its credibility. If I was a legal machine, and I wanted to sue someone and win, here’s what I’d do…
I’d buy an nice new box, and install Linux/Sendmail/SpamAssassin on it. I’d run all the updates. Then, I would draft my lawsuit notice, and send it via email, relaying it through said machine. I would tweak the wording, headers, and so forth until in no longer made it though the spam filter.
Then I would serve it up to my opponent. Default judgement, there you go.
If this legal decision makes its way to the States, however, the issue could get even stickier. Someone sends you a lawsuit notice via email. You deem it harrassment, and call the FBI for help.
Government officials never understand why their systems are so mucked up – but they do it to themselves.