Using WhatsApp messages as evidence in court proceedings: is it possible?
In recent years, instant messaging systems such as Instagram, Facebook, Telegram or WhatsApp have become a major part of the way we communicate. These platforms have become increasingly relevant when it comes to accrediting the content of certain conversations, particularly in legal proceedings. But the question is: can a WhatsApp message constitute valid evidence in court?
WhatsApp as evidence in court: yes, it can!
The answer is clear: yes, a WhatsApp message can be presented as evidence in legal proceedings, provided it is relevant and useful in establishing the truth of the facts being discussed in the dispute. However, how to present such messages in court can be a challenge for some people.
How to provide WhatsApp messages to the court?
There are several ways to provide WhatsApp messages to the court. This can range from downloading the conversations and exporting them to a printed document, to drawing up a notarial deed containing screenshots or captures of the conversations. However, it is important to note that there is no problem if the opposing party admits the existence and content of these messages, or does not contest them.
Message authenticity: a major challenge
The main challenge when using a WhatsApp message as evidence is its authenticity. Indeed, these messages can easily be altered, whether by inventing the conversation itself, manipulating the content or altering information relating to the identity of the interlocutors, the date and time of sending. This is why it is advisable to present conclusive proof of the authenticity and integrity of messages from the outset.
Use a computer expert to verify authenticity
The safest way to prove the authenticity of WhatsApp messages is to call in a certified IT expert. Only an expert in this field will be able to certify in a report that the message or file in question has been sent from one terminal to another, and that it has not been altered in any way. If the authenticity of the messages has already been proven, it is up to the opposing party to provide evidence in an attempt to discredit them.
Audios and videos: a specific regime
If your WhatsApp messages contain audio or video, you'll need to comply with the rules set out in the French Code of Civil Procedure. This requires the provision of the physical medium containing these elements, accompanied by a written transcript and, if necessary, an expert opinion to certify their authenticity and accuracy.
Respect for fundamental rights in obtaining messages
Finally, it is essential to stress that, regardless of procedural issues, the WhatsApp messages used as evidence must have been obtained legally, in compliance with fundamental rights such as the right to privacy and the secrecy of communications.
WhatsApp messages can be used as evidence in legal proceedings, provided their relevance and authenticity can be proven. It is advisable to call in a computer expert to attest to the integrity of messages. However, it is important to respect fundamental rights when obtaining these messages.
I'm Thomas, passionate editor at services-conseils.fr. My main area of interest is technology and the web, where I devote my time and energy to unearthing the latest news and trends. My aim is to share my knowledge and discoveries with our readers, who are eager to learn more about these constantly evolving fields.