Social Media Evidence in Family Law: What Can Be Used and Its Probative Value

5(2) Family Law Review 81-101, 2015

22 Pages Posted: 12 Nov 2015 Last revised: 10 Mar 2019

See all articles by Victoria Blakeley

Victoria Blakeley

Farrar Gesini Dunn Family & Collaborative Law

Patricia L. Easteal

University of Canberra - School of Law and Justice

Emma Fitch

University of Canberra - Division of Business, Law and Information Sciences

Jessica Kennedy

Farrar Gesini Dunn Family & Collaborative Law

Date Written: September 23, 2015

Abstract

Social media is having an influence in various areas of the law, and the use of social media evidence in family law proceedings has become a regular occurrence. From the study reported in this article, it appears that if something is said through, or posted to, social media, it is likely to be admissible evidence in family law proceedings, and could be used in support of an application. Through the analysis of 136 first instance judgments between 2009 and 2014 the authors identify how and when social media evidence is adduced (and for what purpose) and discuss what evidence is accepted by judicial officers and why. The analysis illustrates how existing rules of evidence are relied upon and applied in a dynamic evidentiary landscape. The authors hope that this study will assist litigants and legal practitioners to decide what types of social media evidence to rely on, and how and when to rely on it, having regard to specific rules of evidence. It is foreseeable that the use of social media evidence in family law matters will become more prevalent, hence the importance of making informed decisions about how to interpret, rely on, and make both supporting and rebuttal arguments in relation to social media evidence in family law matters.

Keywords: Social media evidence, Family Law

JEL Classification: K19, K49

Suggested Citation

Blakeley, Victoria and Easteal, Patricia L. and Fitch, Emma and Kennedy, Jessica, Social Media Evidence in Family Law: What Can Be Used and Its Probative Value (September 23, 2015). 5(2) Family Law Review 81-101, 2015. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2664926

Victoria Blakeley

Farrar Gesini Dunn Family & Collaborative Law ( email )

Australia

Patricia L. Easteal (Contact Author)

University of Canberra - School of Law and Justice ( email )

Australia

Emma Fitch

University of Canberra - Division of Business, Law and Information Sciences ( email )

Australia

Jessica Kennedy

Farrar Gesini Dunn Family & Collaborative Law

United States

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