A decision in the High Court on 10th September 2014 has paved the way for legitimate service of High Court proceedings via social media website LinkedIn.
In these proceedings, Ms. Justice O’Hanlon approved an Order which permitted a liquidator to validly serve papers through LinkedIn on the Director of the Irish Education and Research Institute, which also traded as the Irish Business School. In May 2014, the school, which taught English to foreign students, closed suddenly and the accountancy firm PKF O’Connor, Leddy & Holmes, was appointed as liquidators. All efforts had been exhausted by the liquidator to serve proceedings through conventional means such as postal address, fax and email and it was the liquidator’s position that the only way of contacting the director was via the LinkedIn site.
Ms. Justice O’Hanlon was satisfied that the LinkedIn account was active and on that basis she granted the Order. The Order provided for the papers to be served by furnishing a message to the relevant party detailing the case and attaching a link to the URL containing the papers. Using the technological features available via the LinkedIn website, the liquidator could determine whether the message had been delivered and indeed that the message had been read by the recipient.
Although this is not the first Irish decision to permit service via social media, it is the first Irish case concerning the website LinkedIn. Approximately two years ago, Mr Justice Peart made an analogous decision in the High Court permitting service of proceedings upon a private individual through Facebook. Such novel precedent exemplifies the contemporary outlook of the Irish Courts when resolving practical problems and can only be described as a most welcome development. The Litigation Department of Holmes O’Malley Sexton is always available to assist with regard to any queries concerning service of legal papers or indeed any litigation queries generally.