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Lawyers turn to Facebook to serve legal papers

A Facebook profile in an image courtesy of the company. REUTERS/Handout

CANBERRA (Reuters) - Lawyers in Australia expect the social network site Facebook to become a new way of tracking down defendants after a landmark court ruling.

The Supreme Court in Australia’s capital Canberra has ruled that Facebook is a sufficient way of serving legal documents to defendants who cannot be found.

The case surrounded a couple who defaulted on a loan, but who couldn’t be found.

“We couldn’t find the defendants personally after many attempts so we thought we would try and find them on Facebook,” lawyer Mark McCormack said.

“We did a public search based on the email address we had and the defendants Facebook page appeared.”

He said that was enough to convince the court, which found Facebook was a sufficient way of communicating legal papers when it is the plaintiff’s responsibility to personally deliver documents.

Reporting by James Grubel; Editing by Jeremy Laurence

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