a curious case

Donal Blaney has apparently taken legal action by posting this link to Twitter in reply to a second, allegedly fake “Donal Blaney” Twitter account. As you will see if you click it, however, the link actually goes to this entry on his blog. So does a further bit.ly link he posted. The post does not contain either the court order, neither does it link to it – one link goes to his law firm’s homepage, and a press release patting themselves on the back, and another goes to his brief’s homepage, which makes no mention of the case entirely.

I am not a lawyer – but I’m struggling to see how this constitutes service of anything. And if I was Donal Blaney, I’d try to make sure I got these things entirely right. I know at least one barrister reads this; can you comment?

Also, I was keen to read the order. The HM Courts Service Web site referred me to the British and Irish Legal Information Institute, but somehow, this historic case is not in their database. Not here either. The privatised holders of the registry of judgments couldn’t find Blaney vs Persons Unknown either. And I can’t find it on the cause list either, but then, the HMCS Web site doesn’t archive cause lists and it could have been on an earlier one.

So I rang up the Royal Courts of Justice, and strangely enough, they were unable to find such an application either. Our law reporting system clearly needs the MySociety touch.

Update: Having taken expert advice, I called the Royal Courts of Justice this morning and asked when the return hearing associated with his ex parte application was. This appears to be a useful tip in navigating judicial information.

The facts are as follows: Blaney’s application was heard on the 1st October before Mr. Justice Lewison and was granted, with a return date set for the 8th October. However, the order itself, though granted, was yet to be issued as at 1000 today.

How it can have been served on Thursday if it had not been issued by the following Monday is beyond me, but then I’m not a lawyer. One explanation might be that a close reading of Blaney’s posts suggests that he may not be claiming to have served at all, but only that the order could be served by Twitter. Meanwhile, he’s declaring victory, although the offending Twitter feed still exists and the order is neither issued nor served.


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