Judge Esther Steyn ruling that summons service may be placed on Facebook is going to open a can of worms.
Fast food instant gratification, laziness and convenience is taking over the justice system.
In one case, where it seems that the plaintiff is avoiding the service of summons, KZN judge Esther Steyn ruled that a Facebook message as well as an advert in the Mercury newspaper, may be accepted as service of summons.
At least the Judge kept the newspaper advert and added the Facebook message as an addition. Facebook is not a publication that is read by the general public and a message to a Facebook profile or even an email could have the same effect as scribbling something on the wall of the public loo at your corner garage.
If Judges wish to adopt technology it would be better served to place a paid advert on Gumtree or mycoza and have Google (and Facebook) pick it up from there. The first prize is still hand delivering a summons on a person, as it is done in the USA. Now that is real justice.
For one, yes, millions of people use Facebook, but active login into Facebook accounts is another matter entirely (Just as an example, personally I have not logged into my own Facebook account for over two months now, if someone should serve me a summons there I will only find out about it quite a bit later)
Is it okay just to list a summons on a search engine like Google? Surely it is the same thing? Maybe do a tweet? Or an email? Wow, yes, email is so reliable and it is just technically ridiculous that Judges would even be considering accepting email, Facebook and other unreliable technology as acceptable instruments for the delivery of summons or other important legal documentation.
In the interests of justice, someone avoiding the service of summons also does not own fixed property and the financial risks are much smaller than the risks of now gaming the legal system. Unless the Judge is also going to make it easy, maybe an online website? to have faulty or erroneous judgements reversed?
Can of worms.