In a landmark decision, Justice David Harper has agreed that serving legal notices via a private Facebook message is a valid form of service.
The decision stems from a case where lawyers Mark McCormack and Jason Oliver, on behalf of their client MKM Capital, looked towards the social networking website to contact alleged defaulters Carmela Rita Corbo and Gordon Kingsley Maxwell Poyse after they were unable to serve them with legal document by more traditional means.
The defaulting pair had relocated and changed their telephone number since they were initially served. The elusive pair of of Corbo and Poyse were also able to avoid a private investigator which McCormack and Oliver hired. Fed up, Oliver searched facebook for the public pages of the defaulters and was able to identify the duo by matching names, birth dates, and email addresses, provided on their initial loan application.
The current practice in Canada is to serve legal documents, personally (such as a lawsuit) or in some cases to serve notices via registered mail. In Australia, courts have previously accepted email and text messages as reasonable means for service, making the Facebook message a natural progression.
The decision is not entirely surprising to me. Click here, here, or here if you would like to read more about the Australian Court’s decision.