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Civil Procedure

In Seeming First, Aussie Court Says Default Judgment Can Be Served on Facebook

Posted Dec 15, 2008 2:06 PM CDT
By Martha Neil

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Updated: In an apparent first in Australia and, possibly, the world, a judge has OK'd a plan to serve a default judgment on a non-appearing defendant via a social networking website.

Although service previously has been allowed by e-mail and text message, a master of the Supreme Court of the Australian Capital Territory has gone a step further into the Internet world by allowing a default judgment to be served on Facebook, reports the Sydney Morning Herald.

The court okayed the Facebook approach, a Herald Sun article explains, after all other efforts failed, according to attorney Mark McCormack, who represented the creditor side in the mortgage foreclosure case.

"The Facebook profiles showed the defendants' dates of birth, email addresses and friend lists--and the co-defendants were friends with one another," he tells the Herald Sun. "This information was enough to satisfy the court that Facebook was a sufficient method of communicating with the defendant."

To convince the court to try Facebook, the plaintiffs had to show that no other method of service would work, and that the Facebook effort was reasonably likely to succeed, he says.

"Australian courts are regarded as being amongst the most technologically advanced in the world, and this innovation goes to further that claim," the Sydney Morning Herald writes.

Updated at 7:14 p.m. to include information from Herald Sun article.

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