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UK High Court Allows Legal Claim to Be Served via Facebook

By - Source: Telegraph | B 17 comments

Don't log onto Facebook if you've been naughty.

In a world where it seems as though everyone and their dog has a Facebook profile, it seems the social networking site has now become an appropriate channel for serving legal documents if the party in question is otherwise unreachable. One British High Court judge has ruled that legal papers can be served via social networking site Facebook.

The Telegraph reports that the ruling was handing down in a £1.3 million ($2.1 million) case brought by two investment managers (AKO Capital LLP and AKO Master Fund) against their broker, TFS Derivatives, one of its employees (Fabio de Biase), and a man that used to work for AKO Capital named Anjam Ahmad. However, because they are unsure as to whether or not de Biase is living at his last known address, the claim was served via Facebook.

Speaking to the Telegraph, Jenni Jenkins, a lawyer representing one of the parties involved, said the decision to all the claim to be served via Facebook isn't really all that surprising.

"It's a fairly natural progression. A High Court judge 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 told the newspaper.

Indeed, this is not the firs time in the UK that a court has given the green light for a legal document to be served via Facebook. Just last year, solicitor Hilary Thorpe was granted permission to serve court summons to a debtor after several failed attempts to contact the person in question through more traditional channels. However, the Telegraph reports that this is the first approval has been awarded at such a high level.

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  • 3 Hide
    Anonymous , February 23, 2012 9:28 AM
    I have 5 facebook account. and I never serious use my real information there. I just think that facebook is just another society network with a bit more function than AIM or YAHOo instant message. why the whole world taking it so seriously like facebook is the future for mankind? it could be replaceable by any society network anytime,
  • 2 Hide
    billybobser , February 23, 2012 9:33 AM
    Assuming the Facebook account is currently used (same as not living at a previous addres), as serving papers to an account that has perhaps not been logged onto for 3months + will not be very useful.
  • 3 Hide
    southernshark , February 23, 2012 10:04 AM
    It will be the end of Facebook in the USA, if this is allowed there. You can imagine the millions of people who will be running for the exit.
  • 2 Hide
    __-_-_-__ , February 23, 2012 10:22 AM
    this is scary. what about fake profiles? what about other social networks? what about facebook control over a legal system? this is extremely scary.
  • 1 Hide
    Achoo22 , February 23, 2012 10:23 AM
    Quick, start posting fake summons on the sites of all your British friends! YOU GOT SERVED!
  • 2 Hide
    back_by_demand , February 23, 2012 11:01 AM
    Achoo22Quick, start posting fake summons on the sites of all your British friends! YOU GOT SERVED!

    That would be hilarious if it wasn't heading to the USA very soon as well, watch this space
  • 3 Hide
    CrArC , February 23, 2012 11:46 AM
    So, how does this work if one never uses their Facebook account.. like me? It is my fault if I miss a 'serving' in that case?

    I get that it will only be used as a last resort, but seriously, if I really couldn't be contacted by any other means, contact via Facebook would be impossible.

    And injunctions served via Twitter?? Who would take that seriously?! An email, sure, makes a little more sense. But Twitter??
  • 2 Hide
    freggo , February 23, 2012 12:20 PM
    Bad idea as it is way to easy to hack a facebook account.
    Scenario... you abandon your account and get served in there. Some hacker while snooping around looks into your account; which now has had 'activity'. That means the summons was 'served' without you ever knowing it did.
    And the burden of proof that it was not you who logged into the account will prob. be yours.


  • -1 Hide
    back_by_demand , February 23, 2012 12:42 PM
    CrArCSo, how does this work if one never uses their Facebook account.. like me? It is my fault if I miss a 'serving' in that case?I get that it will only be used as a last resort, but seriously, if I really couldn't be contacted by any other means, contact via Facebook would be impossible.And injunctions served via Twitter?? Who would take that seriously?! An email, sure, makes a little more sense. But Twitter??

    freggoBad idea as it is way to easy to hack a facebook account.Scenario... you abandon your account and get served in there. Some hacker while snooping around looks into your account; which now has had 'activity'. That means the summons was 'served' without you ever knowing it did.And the burden of proof that it was not you who logged into the account will prob. be yours.

    The same could be said for your telephone line or people breaking into your house, all theoretical arguements will have a practical outcome - such as if you take a photo of yourself with your camera phone then post it on Facebook it's pretty hard to argue in court that you didn't do it and you weren't logged in.
  • 4 Hide
    mrmaia , February 23, 2012 12:51 PM
    Now social networks are openly serving the government.
  • -1 Hide
    memadmax , February 23, 2012 1:16 PM
    Would never happen in the US.....
  • 1 Hide
    Northwestern , February 23, 2012 2:16 PM
    Facebook is a social network for SOCIAL matters. Not civil matters.
  • 1 Hide
    anonymous32111 , February 23, 2012 4:39 PM
    And I wonder why Zuckerberg is cashing out now? /sarcasm

    How long will it take people to realize you could be prosecuted for shit that happens on 'facebook', I hope his IPO burns to the ground.

    Also i recommend NoScript plugin for firefox - just to give facebook scripts the bird wherever they are.
  • 2 Hide
    thrasher32 , February 23, 2012 6:23 PM
    Another reason to never ever EVER post your personal information on Facebook or any other social networking site.
  • 0 Hide
    maxwebb , February 24, 2012 5:17 AM
    this case would have been so awesome to work on... first, did the guy accept a friend request from a constable's office? how exactly did they post the paperwork onto his wall? did the person serving the papers create a fictional account to 'friend' the guy... if so, that violates the facebook tos. how was the user supposed to know that the paperwork was legit? did facebook provide the user with the ip address of the poster? did the isp provide the street address for that ip address? did the poster verify somehow that the profile with the user's name and picture was actually the person who was to be served the papers?
  • 0 Hide
    pepe2907 , February 24, 2012 3:38 PM
    Soon as it goes to avoid trial you'll need to hire a hacker :) .

    But seriously, the legal system again shows it's inadequacy in the area of new tech. and not only tech. but practically everything changing and evolving.
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , February 28, 2012 1:20 AM
    This is not new in Australia. It sort of makes sense once you get over the initial WTF.
    It is a legal way to serve people