In a landmark ruling, a U.K. judge has paved the way for high court claims to be served via Facebook for the first time in the U.K., the Daily Business Review reports.
Lawyers for broker TFS Derivatives may use the social networking site to track down its former employee Fabio de Biase as part of a suit brought against the company by investment manager AKO Capital. Attempts to serve the claim on De Biase at his last known address have so far been unsuccessful, prompting TFS to appeal during pretrial discussions for permission to contact the disgraced broker via Facebook
This is not the first time social media has been used to serve pleadings in smaller matters within the U.K. Last May, a U.K. lawyer successfully used Facebook to serve a hard-to-find debtor in a County Court trial. The high court previously allowed an injunction to be served via Twitter. The TFS/AKO case, however, appears to be the first in which Facebook has been used to serve a high court claim.
De Biase has been granted 14 days to respond to the claim, a significant extension from the two-day deadline that is typical in commercial cases, to allow time to check his Facebook account.
Serving pleadings via social media sites is increasingly common in Australia and New Zealand. I have presented on cases from Australian courts that both permit and disallow service through social media sites. As serving pleadings through social media becomes more common abroad, I would not be surprised to see more litigants attempting to serve pleadings through these sites in the United States.