Receiving Court Summons Via Facebook: What will they think of next?

Ah yes, Facebook. What haven’t you given us? Sitting at home and criticizing friends and neighbors has practically become a sport for some. Just log on into your Facebook account and start typing away your worries and queries to an audience that probably doesn’t even know who you are in the first place (even if they do call you a “friend”).

This social media behemoth has made quite a few headlines since its inception. From controversy to fame, Facebook has seemingly already seen it all when it comes to the multiple sides of societies and cultures. In fact, just recently, it made headlines when a Sussex, UK-based lawyer named Hilary Thorpe became one of the first people ever to serve a court summons through her Facebook account! Its ingenious, if nothing else.

Of course, you can’t expect a court of law to grant permission for such an infringement, no matter how good of a lawyer you might be. However, Ms Thorpe convinced the courts to allow her this liberty by playing off a similar Australian case. The result? A local County Court allowed her to go through with the proceedings using her social media account as a go between.

According to The Telegraph, Ms Thorpe was facing difficulty locating a debtor to attend court for an interrogation regarding their finances. Since this method failed, she recalled a similar case she had heard of in Australia in which a lawyer (who was also serving a financial lender) served legally binding documents to a couple. Intrigued, she decided to use a similar method in the UK.

Long story short, she succeeded in getting permission to use this system from Hastings County Court which allowed her to serve in court through a social media website that is renowned the world over. Facebook in the courtroom! Bet Mark Zuckerberg didn’t see this one coming.

Additionally, the lawyer’s employer also had to prove that the defendant frequented this famous social media site and also why serving legal documents through its infamous portals was a good idea. On a positive note though, it’s good to see that the legal system has decided to allow a bit of leeway in their rigid system. It makes you wonder what other aspects of legal proceedings will make their way into social media?

The conclusion? Social media is NOT going anywhere folks. It’s here to stay. Better get on that bandwagon before it leaves you behind. And if you’re looking for an innovative way to serve a summons in the US, who knows?

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