Legal history made as judge approves order to serve papers via LinkedIn

10 Sep 2014

A new legal precedent has been set in Ireland whereby an Irish High Court judge has approved an order to allow a liquidator to serve a person connected with the firm with papers via social media site LinkedIn.

At Court No 7 in the High Court in Dublin today Judge Bronagh O’Hanlon gave the go-ahead to serve papers on a person connected with the Irish Education and Research Institute, which also traded as the Irish Business School.

The accountancy firm PFK O’Connor, Leddy and Holmes, which had been appointed as liquidators of the company, could not contact the respondent in person, by email, fax or postal address.

Once the liquidator proved to O’Hanlon that there was a mechanism in social media sites like LinkedIn and Facebook to show that the person being sought had seen the notice on LinkedIn, she was able to make an order allowing for service in this way.

This is the second case in Ireland where a judge had granted approval to serve proceedings via social media. In 2012, in the case Daly v Lynch, Mr Justice Peart allowed for an order to be served via Facebook.

You are served!

Declan de Lacy, director in charge of Advisory & Insolvency at PKF O’Connor, Leddy and Holmes, explained that as liquidators they had tried to serve papers but the individual could not be reached.

“But the one form of contact that did exist was a LinkedIn connection.

“We put the circumstances on affidavit and asked for an order allowing us to serve papers through a LinkedIn page by sending them a message with the details of the case and a link to the URL where the papers are served.”

O’Hanlon granted the request to have the notice served once she was satisfied they were being served to an active account.

De Lacy said the technology on social media sites indicates to users if a message has been seen and read and therefore proving that the document had been delivered.

Legal image via Shutterstock

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years