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If you decide to use or rely on the information or make decisions based on the information in this website (which VLA does not recommend) VLA is not liable to you or any third party in any way for any loss, damage, costs or expenses you or they may suffer or incur as a result.

Service via Facebook

Information about when and how documents can be served by Facebook.

If a person cannot serve a party because the person cannot be found to serve personally, a person may apply to court for an order that allows that person to be served by a substituted service by Facebook or other social networking site.

It us up to the court to decide whether or not to grant this order.

It is likely that the court would take into account:

  • why the other party cannot be served personally
  • how the person intends to serve the other party (for example, by Facebook, or other social media)
  • whether that kind of service is likely to bring the document to the notice of the party who is to be served.

Evidence for the court

The applicant would have to present documentary evidence about the other party's use of Facebook. This evidentiary material could be annexed to an affidavit.

The court will also need to be satisfied that a party to a proceeding actually created the particular Facebook page. This might be possible if the person has posted up photos of themselves so that their identity could be confirmed.

They will also have to show that service could not be carried out personally.

Examples where this has been used

This has been allowed for example where:

  • a person who was living overseas was served with divorce papers and the matter was urgent because the applicant needed to get married before their visa expired
  • a parent was trying to track down the father of her child for child support.

More information

Legislation

Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia (Family Law) Rules 2021 (Cth)

  • r. 2.33—court's discretion in relation to service
  • r. 2.34—service with conditions or dispensing with service

See Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia (Family Law) Rules 2021 (Cth)(opens in a new window).

Family Violence Protection Act 2008 (Vic)

  • Part 12—Service of documents
  • s. 202(3)—if not reasonably practical to serve a copy of a document personally the court may order that a copy be served by any other means that it considers appropriate or may make an order for substituted service

See Family Violence Protection Act 2008 (Vic)(opens in a new window).

Personal Safety Intervention Orders Act 2010 (Vic)

  • Part 11—Service of documents
  • s. 176(4)—if not reasonably practical to serve a document personally the court may order a copy of the document be served by any other means that it considers appropriate or may make an order for substituted service.

See Personal Safety Intervention Orders Act 2010 (Vic)(opens in a new window).

Reference

VLA intranet

The intranet has a rapid reference sheet for effecting substituted service by Facebook and a list of independent process servers.

See Policies and procedures—Working with clients—Substituted service by social media(opens in a new window).

Updated