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Facebook used to track down debtors

A Canberra lawyer who won the right to serve legal documents on two defendants via Facebook says courts around the country will follow his lead.

In what he believes is a world first, lawyer Mark McCormack tracked down a couple who had defaulted on a six-figure loan using the internet and served them with a default judgement.

Mr McCormack says the ACT Supreme Court allowed him to serve the couple via Facebook as well as leaving the actual court papers at their last known address and sending emails.

Earlier this year, lawyers acting for the Bulldogs NRL club served player Sonny Bill Williams with a subpoena via SMS text message.

Williams was in Europe after defecting to French rugby club Toulon.

Mr McCormack, himself a keen Facebook user, says using the popular social networking site to contact people who flee is the logical "next step".

"I think the courts will continue to adopt it on a case by case basis," he said.

"They will (just) need to assure themselves that it is reasonably likely to bring (the court's decision) to the attention of the parties concerned."

Mr McCormack said his legal firm, Meyer Vandenberg Lawyers, hadn't been able to find any other examples of Facebook being used to serve a court judgement.

The lawyer is acting for a lending institution which loaned the Canberra couple more than $100,000.

When they defaulted and couldn't be found at their listed residence, he had to get creative.

The lawyer obtained a default judgement in the couple's absence and was able to convince the court to serve it via Facebook.

The fact the defaulters' Facebook accounts included their names, dates of birth and listed each other as "friends", was enough to persuade the court it had the right people in its sights.


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