Going to the wall

By | 6th March 2012

My eye was drawn to the recent piece in the Lawyer [Stephenson Harwood uses Facebook to serve court claim, 21st Feb, 2012] noting that the High Court has agreed that a claim may be served on a party via Facebook. 

If ever there was an indication that social media is now mainstream, this is surely it. Facebook was doubtless feeling left out after the court allowed an injunction to be served via Twitter in October 2009 [see my post The Last Straw, 6th Oct, 2009] but now Mr Justice Teare has allowed Facebook to join the party.

I can imagine that the proposed defendant was not a little annoyed as it appears that he had successfully evaded service previously by not being present at his last known address. The court presumably took the view that service of process is all about bringing the claim to the attention of the party against whom it is made and if the proposed defendant had an active Facebook account there was every reason to suppose that it would come to his notice in good time and he would be able to respond to it.

It seems that the court exercised its discretion to order service by an alternative method where appropriate (see CPR Rule 6.15). In this case, the court must have accepted that the defendant would have proper notice of the claim and be able to respond to it in due time.

Obvious really, when you think about it, and I wonder why no one has tried it before.