Legal claims can now be served via Facebook in Britain, after a landmark ruling in the English High Court.
Mr Justice Teare gave the go-ahead for the social networking site to be used in a commercial case where there were difficulties locating one of the parties.
Facebook is routinely used to serve claims in Australia and New Zealand, and has been used a handful of times in Britain. However, this is the first time it has been approved at such a high level.
Jenni Jenkins, a lawyer at Memery Crystal, which is representing one of the parties in the case said the ruling set a precedent and made it likely that service-via-Facebook would become routine.
“It’s a fairly natural progression. A High Court judges has already ruled that an injunction can be served via Twitter, so it’s a hop, skip and a jump away from that to allow claims to be served via Facebook,” she said.
In 2009, Mr Justice Lewison allowed an injunction to be served via Twitter in a case where the defendant was only known by his Twitter-handle and could not easily be identified another way.
Last March, another judge gave the go-ahead for a court order to be served via Facebook, but this was in a county court.
The $2.1m (£1.3m) High Court claim was brought by AKO Capital LLP and AKO Master Fund, two investment managers, against their broker TFS Derivatives, as well as one of its employees, Fabio de Biase, and Anjam Ahmad, who used to work for AKO Capital.
The investment managers claim that TFS significantly overcharged commission and are seeking to recover the funds from the broker. However, TFS denies the allegation and claims that if held liable, it should be able to recover some of the funds from Mr Ahmad and Mr De Biase.
TFA served the claim on Mr De Biase at his last known address, but petitioned the court to be allowed to do so via Facebook as well because there was doubt over whether he still lived there.
Mr Justice Teare questioned whether TFS could verify that the Facebook account belonged to the right Mr De Biase, and whether he was in the habit of checking it.
The court heard that Mr De Biase was friends with other TFS colleagues, and that the account was known to be in use because he had accepted a few recent friend requests.
Source: The Telegraph