Australian attorneys can now serve enforceable court documents by posting them on a defendant’s Facebook profile. An Australian Supreme Court judge ruled that lawyers could use the social networking site to serve court notices.
Email and SMS text messages via mobile phone have been used before to serve Australian court documents, but the Aussie attorneys who won the ruling are claiming process service by a social networking site, such as Facebook, is a world first.
Meyer Vandenberg, lawyers acting on behalf of lender MKM Capital, applied to Master David Harper of the Supreme Court last week to use Facebook to legally serve notice of a judgment on Carmel Rita Corbo and Gordon Kingsley Maxwell Poyser, borrowers who had defaulted on a $150,000 mortgage.
Meyer Vandenberg retained private investigators and process servers to serve the judgment on the couple and posted notice of the action in The Canberra Times, however after almost a dozen service attempts, attorneys for MKM Capital tried a different approach. Lawyers Mark McCormack and Jason Oliver convinced the court that Facebook profiles for the defendants were those of Ms. Corbo and Mr. Poyser. “The Facebook profiles showed the defendants’ dates of birth, email addresses and friend lists and the co-defendants were friends with one another,” a spokesman for the firm said.
The information available on their profiles was enough to satisfy the court that Facebook was a valid method of communicating with Corbo and Poyser.
“You’ve been ‘poked,’ now you’re homeless.” one Facebook pundit observed. The defendants have been successfully served in this matter.
Australian courts are regarded as being amongst the most technologically advanced in the world and this innovation goes to further that claim.