Aussie lawyers to serve notices on Facebook
Canberra lawyers have won the right to serve legally binding court documents by posting them on defendants' Facebook sites.
In a ruling that could make legal and internet history, a Supreme Court judge ruled last week lawyers could use the social networking site to serve court notices.
Email and even mobile phone text messages have been used before to serve court notices, but the Canberra lawyers who secured the ruling are claiming service by Facebook as a world first.
Lawyers Meyer Vandenberg, acting for Australian lending company MKM Capital, applied to Master David Harper of the Supreme Court last week to use the popular internet site to serve notice of a judgment on two borrowers who had defaulted on a loan.
Carmel Rita Corbo and Gordon Kingsley Maxwell Poyser failed to keep up the repayments on $150,000 they borrowed from MKM last year to refinance the mortgage on their Kambah townhouse.
MKM applied to the courts through Meyer Vandenberg for a judgment for the loan amount and for possession of the defendants' house after the couple failed to appear in court to defend the action.
A default judgment was granted on October 31, leaving MKM with the task of finding the defendants and serving them with the papers.
Meyer Vandenberg hired private investigators to serve the judgment on the couple and advertised it in The Canberra Times. But after 11 failed attempts to find the couple at their Wyselaskie Circuit home between November 8 and December 6, the lawyers tried a change of tack. Lawyers Mark McCormack and Jason Oliver convinced the court the Facebook profiles for the defendants were those of Ms Corbo and Mr Poyser.
"The Facebook profiles showed the defendants' dates of birth, email addresses and friend lists and the co-defendants were friends with one another," a spokesman for the firm said.
This information was enough to satisfy the court that Facebook was a sufficient method of communicating with the defendants.
Sydney Morning Herald