Friday, 12 October 2012
WHO SAID THAT THE JUDICIARY ARE OUT OF TOUCH – SERVICE OF SUMMONS BY FACEBOOK SANCTIONED IN A RECENT CASE
In a recent Judgment delivered by Mr Justice Peart a solicitor was allowed to serve proceedings on a non resident Defendant by serving them by way of a private message on the Defendant’s Facebook page.
In this case the Defendant had left the jurisdiction and the solicitor in question was unable to serve him. The normal rules of service are that the Defendant must be served personally where it is reasonably practicable. If it is not possible to serve personally there are other modes of service which can be made by way of an application to Court i.e. by leaving the summons at the Defendant’s place of residence / workplace where it can be established that he/she is there or other applications can be made to serve by ordinary post where the Court is satisfied that the Defendant is deliberately trying to avoid service.
In this case Judge Peart was satisfied on the basis of an Affidavit submitted by the Plaintiff that exhaustive efforts had been made to locate the Defendant. The Plaintiff was also able to satisfy the Court that the Facebook page in question was both genuine and was also used regularly by the Defendant. In other words the Defendant was likely to access same and realise the existence of the proceedings.
The decision of Judge Peart follows on from other cases in the
UK and other jurisdictions such as New Zealand and the where similar Orders have been made. United States
This is a very interesting development and time will tell whether such applications could be extended to include service on LinkedIn and other forms of social media.