Service of Process through Facebook or Twitter???

A curious piece of news published yesterday in Opinio Iuris by Julian Ku:

Legal claims can now be served via Facebook in Britain, after a landmark ruling in the English High Court.

Mr Justice Teare gave the go-ahead for the social networking site to be used in a commercial case where there were difficulties locating one of the parties.

Facebook is routinely used to serve claims in Australia and New Zealand, and has been used a handful of times in Britain. However, this is the first time it has been approved at such a high level.

Jenni Jenkins, a lawyer at Memery Crystal, which is representing one of the parties in the case said the ruling set a precedent and made it likely that service-via-Facebook would become routine.

“It’s a fairly natural progression. A High Court judges has already ruled that an injunction can be served via Twitter, so it’s a hop, skip and a jump away from that to allow claims to be served via Facebook,” she said.

In 2009, Mr Justice Lewison 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.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Andreas Moser February 23, 2012, 2:46 pm

    Usually, when you have a huge problem finding somebody for the purposes of service of process, then you have no chance of enforcing the judgement later. So I wonder: what’s the point?

  • Andreas Moser February 23, 2012, 2:47 pm

    It should also be remembered that Facebook sometimes arbitrarily closes a user’s account, like in this (my) example: http://andreasmoser.wordpress.com/2010/09/11/life-after-facebook/ – Many unread e-mails may have been in that inbox which will be eternally lost for me.

  • Marta Requejo February 23, 2012, 3:33 pm

    The point is the plaintiff and his right to due process. Yes, enforcement is usually difficult or impossible: but you don’t know it for sure at the stage of service of process.

    As for your second comment: I guess this is a case in which the defendant would be protected because service failed for circunstances beyond his control.

    What I think is that allowance of service through this channels is meant to discourage defendants from hiding, that’s all.