British lawyer 'uses Facebook to serve court summons'

Solicitor Hilary Thorpe posted the summons on Facebook after she found it difficult to get a debtor attend Hastings County Court in East Sussex to answer questions about their finances, 'The Daily Telegraph' reported.

Thorpe cited a case in Australia in which the Supreme Court gave permission for the social networking website to be used for serving legal documents. And eventually, staff at the Hastings County Court accepted her request and Thorpe logged onto Facebook to serve the court order, the report said.

"It is great to see that the courts are willing to embrace new technology. We have had great trouble serving the debtor in question. Being able to use Facebook to do so will certainly assist in the case and allow our client creditor the possibility of obtaining further information to enforce the debt," she was quoted as saying.

Thorpe, who works for the firm Gaby Hardwicke in Eastbourne, said she had tried all the conventional methods of trying to contact the debtor. The company posted on its website: "She had exhausted all conventional ways of trying to contact the defendant. As a last resort, she decided to make the application for service via Facebook, following a similar Australian case."

In a similar case in Australia in 2008, lawyer Mark McCormack, who was representing a financial lender, applied to use Facebook to serve legally binding documents on a couple.

He needed to inform them that they had lost their home because they'd defaulted on a loan after having earlier failed several times to contact the couple at their house.

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