In 2008, in what is believed to be a world-first decision, an Australian Supreme Court allowed a lender to serve a default judgement on borrowers via Facebook, after conventional means of contacting the borrowers had failed.
Given the overwhelming popularity of social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter, there have been a number of more recent cases where courts have ordered that service can take place using a social networking site.
One such case concerned an application by Mothership Music Pty Ltd for substituted service on Facebook, which was granted and then held to be ineffective on appeal was Flo Rida v Mothership Music Pty Ltd  NSWCA 268.
Service & Substituted Service
When commencing proceedings, the court usually requires that the originating process (for example, a Claim and Statement of Claim) be personally served on the other parties.
In circumstances where personal service cannot be achieved, orders may be sought from the court allowing the originating process to be served in another way – this is called substituted service.
A court will only grant an order for substituted service where it is satisfied that:
- there exists a practical impossibility of actual service; and
- the method of substituted service proposed is one that is reasonably likely to bring the person’s attention to the originating process.
Flo Rida v Mothership Music Pty Ltd  NSWCA 268
Flo Rida, an American rap music artist, was contracted to perform as the headline act at the “Fat as Butter” music festival held in Newcastle, NSW in October 2011. Flo Rida failed to appear, despite receiving a $55,000 advance for the performance.
The promoter of the festival, Mothership Music Pty Ltd (“Mothership Music”), commenced court proceedings against Flo Rida for breach of contract, claiming the advance paid to Flo Rida, ...