Legal claims can now be served via Facebook, rules High Court
27 February 2012
Social networking sites may now be used to serve claims where there are difficulties in locating one of the parties.
In a commercial case involving claims against a broker for overcharging commission, the claimants were not sure of the broker’s last known address. They served a claim at this address but also sought permission from Teare J to serve via the broker’s Facebook address, after providing evidence of the account being updated. The judge extended the time for the defendant to respond to the claim because of uncertainty as to how frequently he checks his Facebook account.
The Telegraph reports that Facebook “is routinely used to serve claims in Australia and New Zealand, and has been used a handful of times in Britain.”
In 2009 Lewison J allowed an injunction to be served via Twitter in a case where the defendant was only known by his Twitter-handle and could not easily be identified another way. But this is the first time that a claim (as distinct from an order) has been permitted at such a high level to be served in this way.
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