In 2013 the New South Wales Court of Appeal overturned an earlier decision that had permitted promoters of an aborted rap concert by US rapper Flo Rida to serve him via social media. FloRida had failed to turn up at a concert for which he had been booked, and the concert promoters, who had been forced to refund tickets, had sought to recover their losses from the rapper. Unable to serve him via conventional means, they obtained an order permitting them to serve him via his Facebook account, of which he appeared to be an avid user. The Court of Appeal overturned the order, as it was beyond the jurisdiction of the New South Wales District Court. The Court also found that the order for substituted service was invalidly made in circumstances where there was no evidence before the Court that the means of service sanctioned by the substituted service order were likely to bring service of the Statement of Claim to Flo Rida’s attention while he was in Australia.
Lesson: The decision is not fatal to the concept of service via social media, but shows some of the challenges involved in effecting valid service via this novel means, particularly in cases involving defendants based outside the jurisdiction.