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Serving Process on Facebook: Technology and Legal Services


Serving Process on Facebook?

serving-process-on-FacebookAccording to a June 2011 article on Bloomberg Businessweek, "Two years after an Australian lawyer caused a stir by sending a foreclosure notice via Facebook, the practice of online legal service is spreading as a means for courts to keep their dockets moving.

"Courts in New Zealand, Canada and the U.K. have adopted the Australian example to avoid having cases stall when people can’t be located and served in person. Lawyers said the US may not be far behind in using the world’s most popular social networking service." (emphasis ours)

"English court rules permit electronic document service," said Danvers Baillieu, a technology-law specialist in London.  “As far as the law is concerned, it’s just a method of delivery,” he said. “The precise form of technology is neither here nor there.”

On the other hand there are countries, like France and Germany, where electronic delivery isn’t allowed in any form, and French law requires delivery in person.

Money.MSN expands on the conversation, addressing the "sticky" issues that could arise, both practical and ethical.

Comments from people outside the legal community give a hint of how this might be received in the US, where process service rules can change not only from state to state but county to county.  There is a lot of confusion out there about what's required in order for process to be served.  Some people think you need a picture of the document being served.  Others think a signature is required.  People might be surprised to discover that, in some jurisdictions, process can be served to an adult child (18 or over) if the parent is not present.

In a later series of blog posts, we'll be providing information about how process service works.  We hope our clients will share the blog with their clients, helping to ensure a greater understanding of this important part of our judicial system.

How would your firm feel about serving process on Facebook?  What kind of "proof" would you want that the right person had been served?  Is this a crazy idea or a vision of the future?

Please leave a comment and let us know!   

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Gives new meaning to "being friended."
Posted @ Friday, July 22, 2011 8:51 AM by Joe Howie
If they're bragging, they'll access the site. Too stupid not to. Surprise!
Posted @ Saturday, July 23, 2011 11:01 AM by peachpit
This blog post about countries that allow the Service of Process on Facebook got quite a reaction, with a big discussion ensuing on LinkedIn.  
Most readers had positive comments and understood that we were trying to open a conversation about things that are relevant to your world - and ours.  
Other readers felt that the Facebook post was all about "getting attention" or using sensationalism to attract readers. 
Well, we do want to attract readers, but the post uses direct quotes from Bloomsberg BusinessWeek and Money.MSN. We felt that citing those publications made the information sufficiently mainstream and relevant to be of interest to our readers. 
But the folks that hated last week's post may REALLY hate this coming week's. We’ll be talking about the outsourcing/offshoring of legal work. That’s something that could affect you, just as serving process on Facebook can affect us 

I hope you'll read these posts in the spirit of conversation and civil discourse. Our next series will be testimonials from some of our clients. We are honored to have the opportunity to share them, and we don't think there's anything controversial or sensational, but they sure did get our attention. 
Posted @ Wednesday, July 27, 2011 3:27 PM by Skip Thomas
With the benefit of further development in this area of law over the past year, this will be a phenomenon that becomes more prevelant. My take, discussing the latest US and global case law on serving process via facebook and social media is here:
Posted @ Friday, November 16, 2012 2:16 AM by Lee Swales
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