“[Insert name here] has invited you to… court” – Facebook now serving up summonses

I remember the early days of Facebook, back in 2005/6 when you were only able to join if you were part of a certain college/university. In fact, I can remember the exact person who told me about it. She was at Nottingham University, and had obviously tried the “invite others” function, and discovered that The University of Newcastle-upon-Tyne (where I was studying at the time) was one such permitted institution, and sent me the invite. Fast forward half a decade, and things have changed a lot. An awful lot.

Now we can upload and tag people in videos, link other social networks to our profile, become fans of rock stars, sporting heroes, come together to give financial aid in the event of natural disasters, and even organise a pop-culture coup d’etat for the UK Chart Christmas Number 1. But way back in 2006 I had no idea that Facebook could ever be a medium for being served a court summons.

Hilary Thorpe was finding it difficult to get a debtor to attend court to answer questions about their finances. She then remembered an Australian case in which permission was granted for Facebook to be used for serving legal documents. Hastings County Court in East Sussex eventually accepted Ms Thorpe’s request, after she explained she had tried all the conventional methods of trying to contact the debtor. Gaby Hardwicke [the firm Ms Thorpe works for] submitted an application on behalf of its client, showing the defendants frequent visits to Facebook and the reasons why service in this way would be appropriate.

So there you have it. The next time you get an event invitation from someone you don’t know, maybe you should read the info a little more carefully!

For more info, read the article from The Telegraph.