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Trustees in bankruptcy can ‘Facebook’ no-shows 19 February 2015

Insolvency practitioners can now notify bankrupts of orders made against them by simply posting on their Facebook page, when debtors ignore proceedings.

In a ground-breaking decision at Tunbridge Wells county court a district judge said a trustee could notify the bankrupt, a Ferrari dealer, that he had been ordered to appear before the court – by posting a notice on the debtor’s Facebook account.

Experts involved in the case claim this is the first time a trustee has been allowed to use social media to post a notification in specified terms to a debtor.

The trustee given permission to use Facebook in the case was Simon Bonney, of insolvency firm Quantuma.

He said: “This is understood to be the first decision of the bankruptcy court of its type and shows that the court is increasingly prepared to adopt a modern and practical approach to assist trustees in bankruptcy in dealing with difficult debtors.”

The bankrupt Ferrari dealer, who lived in London, had previously failed to cooperate with the official receiver and used the same tactics when Bonney was appointed as his trustee. In February 2012, an order was made suspending the debtor’s automatic discharge from bankruptcy.

While he persistently ignored Bonney, the trustee discovered that he was still trading and was active on Facebook. The debtor also ignored subsequent letters from Bonney and Quantuma’s solicitors, Harrison Clark Rickerbys.

Bonney then applied for an order that the debtor appear in court to face questions, on oath, about his financial circumstances.

The debtor agreed to appear but failed to turn up on the day, saying on the phone that he was returning to Romania.

District Judge Lethem then made an order for the debtor to appear in court, allowing Bonney to make the notification of the order via Facebook.



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