Lawyers given permission to serve debtors with default judgement through Facebook
"TWO friends who defaulted on a six-figure loan are about to find out through their Facebook page a mortgage lender's lawyers are on their trail. In an Australian and possibly world first, two lawyers have won a court order to allow them to serve a default judgment through Facebook. After failing to serve the court documents personally, lawyers Mark McCormack and Jason Oliver tracked down the debtors' Facebook page. They were granted permission in the ACT Supreme Court to serve the default judgment through a Facebook email to the debtors."
There is more detail about the events that led up to the decision at this URL:
- The Defendants are Carmel Rita Corbo and Gordon Kingsley Maxwell Poyser.
- The couple failed to appear in court to defend the action by lending company MKM Capital.
- Private investigators were hired, and an advertisement was placed in The Canberra Times.
- 11 attempts were made to serve the couple at their Wyselaskie Circuit home between November 8 and December 6.
Its not the first time unusual steps have been used to achieve service in a legal case. Take the case of Sonny Bill Williams.
"Earlier this year, lawyers acting for the Bulldogs NRL club served player Sonny Bill Williams with a subpoena via SMS text message. Williams was in Europe after defecting to French rugby club Toulon."
Back in the late 1980's/early 1990's I worked in the field of debt recovery and bankruptcy, including during the "recession we had to have" (according to Australia's then treasurer) and the time of amazingly high interest rates that sent so many people to the wall (I can remember standing in my bank, and looking at an poster offering an interest rate of 11% to those people lucky enough to be able to save money during those difficult times). I have seen how clever debtors (and especially what we call "professional debtors") can be when they are determined to evade service of documents. I for one am pleased at this new development.
I would be interested to hear if anybody knows of an occasion when Facebook or any other social networking site was used to achieve service of legal documentation.
More coverage about the Facebook decision: