Should you be using Facebook in your business, for your social life or for your criminal life? Well, maybe that question has just been answered thanks to a ruling in the ACT supreme court which has determined that a default judgement can be served to a defendant via Facebook.
Those uber web 2.0 guys down at Meyer Vandenberg Lawyers got the ruling which of course now sets the precedent across Australia for similar actions to occur.
Okay – so what does this mean to the everyday law-abiding citizen like me or you? Not much really – but here are our Top 5 thoughts about using Facebook in courts:
1. If a judge pokes you with a default judgement – can you reject his poke and that means you get off?
2. If you get a friend request from ‘I love the law’ at the supreme court of Australia, think hard before you press accept
3. Latest facebook app to be screaming up the charts – “How many of your friends have been busted DUI (or) How many convicted felons are in your entourage!”
4. If you post something on your Wall and some uses it to poke someone else in the workplace – is that workplace harassment and is it admissible in court?
5. Current Status – You have 3 friend requests, 1 event invitation and 4 summons to appear.
Good work Meyer Vandenberg – finding a use for Facebook in every workplace – even the court! Just excuse me while I go and check that my profile is set to private!…
Here’s the media release below in all its glory and a link through to news.com.au that has also covered the story. Come on Kaleigh – give us the scoop next time!
Australian Court Notifies Defendant by Facebook
It seems that Facebook has no boundaries… Sharing photos, updating your status and playing poker are things of the past- The latest movement in the fast paced world of social networking is that you can now be served legally binding documents.
Last week in what appears to be the first in Australia and potentially the world, Master Harper of the ACT Supreme Court has ordered that a default judgement could be served to someone via their Facebook page.
The innovative channel of communicating with the defendant was suggested by two young Canberra Lawyers from Meyer Vandenberg Lawyers, Mark McCormack and Jason Oliver.
“We couldn’t find the defendants personally after many attempts so we thought we would try and find them on Facebook. We did a public search based on the email address we had and the defendants’ Facebook page appeared.”
“The Facebook profiles showed the defendants’ dates of birth, email addresses and friend lists – and the co-defendants were friends with one another. This information was enough to satisfy the Court that Facebook was a sufficient method of communicating with the defendants.”
A default judgement is given to someone if they do not appear in court. It then becomes the responsibility of the plaintiff to personally deliver or mail the document. This can often be a difficult task if the defendant is not easily located.
Courts have previously allowed default judgements to be delivered by email and text message but it is a first for Facebook.
Archie Tsirimokos, Managing Partner of Meyer Vandenberg says it was only a matter of time before Facebook became a method of communicating with defendants.
“Facebook has become an extension of people’s identity. These young lawyers are to be commended for their innovation.”
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