Lawyer serves notice via Facebook

December 18, 2008 // 3:12 p.m.

Tags: #australia #canberra #carmel-corbo #facebook #gordon-poyser #lawyer #legal #mark-mccormack #mkm-capital #notice

In a somewhat bizarre application of the law down under, a judge has allowed a lawyer to serve legal documentation on an individual via Facebook.

As reported by Yahoo, the court in Canberra, Australia has approved the use of social networking site Facebook to serve legal documents, to notify a couple that their home is to be repossessed, by lawyer Mark McCormack.

The move comes after the lawyer, working for money lender MKM Capital, had failed to contact the couple by more traditional means – visits to the property had been fruitless, and e-mails had gone unanswered. After spotting the fact that the couple had a Facebook page which was still being updated, McCormack applied to the Australian Capital Territory Supreme Court to classify an update to a Facebook page as a document that has been 'served.'

The couple, Gordon Poyser and Carmel Corbo, have since turned privacy options on in order to prevent people nosing at the court order. Speaking to the Associated Press, Poyser said that he felt the need to remove access to the Facebook profile “because [otherwise] I'd get every man and his dog having a look.

This isn't the first time a lawyer has applied to the Australian courts to be granted the right to serve notice via Facebook: according to lawyer Seamus Byrne a Queensland District Court denied a similar appeal in April this year on the grounds that the lawyer in question had not yet attempted to use a post office box the person had registered to contact them.

With the police already turning to Facebook, do you think that it was inevitable the lawyers would follow? Should legal documents be trusted to public social network sites? Share your thoughts over in the forums.

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