In a defamation action, where the judge considered that, taken at their highest, the allegations made by the claimant would be insufficient to establish the claim, he could grant summary judgment for the defence. If the judge considered that a finding by a jury that the words alleged were defamatory, would inevitably be set aside on appeal as a perverse finding, the judge was not taking the jury’s role by withdrawing the case. For a claimant to succeed in proving malice, it is necessary both to plead and prove facts which are more consistent with the presence of malice than with its absence.
The Lord Chief Justice, Lord Justice May And Lord Justice Jonathan Parker
Times 27-Apr-2001, Gazette 01-Jun-2001,  1 WLR 1840,  EWCA Civ 514,  4 All ER 205,  EMLR 27
Supreme Court Act 1981 69, Civil Procedure Rules Part 24.2
England and Wales
Cited – Horrocks v Lowe HL 1974
The plaintiff complained of an alleged slander spoken at a meeting of the Town Council. The council meeting was an occasion attracting qualified privilege. The judge at trial found that the councillor honestly believed that what he had said in the . .
Cited – Adam v Ward HL 1917
The plaintiff, Major Adam MP, falsely attacked General Scobell in a speech in the House of Commons, thus bringing his charge into the national arena. The Army Council investigated the charge, rejected it and directed their secretary, Sir E Ward, the . .
Cited – Broadway Approvals Ltd v Odhams Press Ltd (No 2) CA 1965
A company’s mind is not to be assessed on the totality of knowledge of its employees. Malice was not to be established by forensic imagination however eloquently and subtly expressed.
Russell LJ said: ‘the law of libel seems to have . .
Cited – Heath v Humphreys 21-May-1990
The court considered the circumstances under which malice could be established so as to defeat a claim of qualified privilege. Malice is not to be inferred from the hypothetical untruth of a proposition derived from a misconstruction of a . .
Cited – Telnikoff v Matusevitch CA 1991
The court considered the element of malice in a defamation defence: ‘If a piece of evidence is equally consistent with malice and the absence of malice, it cannot as a matter of law provide evidence on which the jury could find malice. The judge . .
Cited – Colchester Oyster Fishery Limited v Purslow 10-Jun-1997
Qualified privilege – malice . .
Cited – Telnikoff v Matusevitch HL 14-Nov-1991
The court should decide on whether an article is ‘fact or comment’ purely by reference to the article itself, and not taking into account any of the earlier background coverage. It is the obligation of the relevant commentator to make clear that the . .
Cited – Safeway Stores Plc v Albert Tate CA 18-Dec-2000
The respondent, a neighbour of the claimant, had fallen into dispute with the claimant, and issued a leaflet and signs alleging fraud. The claimants obtained an injunction, and in the absence of a substantive defence, judgement. He claimed that the . .
Cited – Kingshott v Kent Newspapers Limited 1991
A question arose under the section as to whether a news piece was a fair and accurate report of proceedings at a local public enquiry. The judge had ruled that no reasonable jury properly directed could conclude that the words complained of were . .
Appeal from – Alexander v Arts Council of Wales QBD 20-Jul-2000
A representative of the Arts Council of Wales was held to have been protected by qualified privilege in making statements at a press conference held to explain the Council’s refusal of a particular application for arts funding, and after the . .
Cited – Wallis v Valentine and Others CA 18-Jul-2002
The claimant in a defamation case appealed a decision to strike out his claim on the basis that it was an abuse of process, being intended to act as an harassment of the defendant, or to cause commercial embarrassment or undue cost.
Held: . .
Cited – Halford v Chief Constable of Hampshire Constabulary, Curtis CA 13-Feb-2003
The claimant appealed orders in favour of the defendant that statements, which he claimed were defamatory, were made in situations attracting qualified privilege. Allegations had been made by his step-children that the claimant had assaulted them. . .
Cited – Keays v Guardian Newspapers Limited, Alton, Sarler QBD 1-Jul-2003
The claimant asserted defamation by the defendant. The parties sought a decision on whether the article at issue was a comment piece, in which case the defendant could plead fair comment, or one asserting fact, in which case that defence would not . .
Cited – Howe and Co v Burden QBD 11-Feb-2004
Defence of consent – no strike out. The precise ambit of the defence of consent in a defamation case is best established at trial on the basis of the tribunal’s findings of fact. . .
Cited – Meade v Pugh and Another QBD 5-Mar-2004
The claimant was a social work student. He attended a work experience placement, and challenged the report given by the defendants on that placement, saying it was discriminatory and defamatory. He appealed a strike out of his claim.
Held: The . .
Cited – Lowe v Associated Newspapers Ltd QBD 28-Feb-2006
The defendant sought to defend the claim for defamation by claiming fair comment. The claimant said that the relevant facts were not known to the defendant at the time of the publication.
Held: To claim facts in aid of a defence of fair . .
Cited – McBride v The Body Shop International Plc QBD 10-Jul-2007
The claimant sought damages for libel in an internal email written by her manager, accusing her of being a compulsive liar. The email had not been disclosed save in Employment Tribunal proceedings, and the claimant sought permission to use the email . .
Cited – Blackwell v News Group Newspapers Ltd and others QBD 21-Dec-2007
The claimant sought damages saying that a newspaper article published by the defendant was defamatory. He was the manager of Leeds United Football club, and was said to have lost the dressing room.
Held: The claimant was entitled to summary . .
Cited – Seray-Wurie v The Charity Commission of England and Wales QBD 23-Apr-2008
The defendant sought an order to strike out the claimant’s allegations of defamation and other torts. The defendants claimed qualified privilege in that the statements complained of were contained in a report prepared by it in fulfilment of its . .
Cited – Bray v Deutsche Bank Ag QBD 12-Jun-2008
A former employee of the defendant bank sued in defamation after the bank published a press release about its results which he said was critical of him.
Held: Where there is a real issue as to whether the words are defamatory of the claimant, . .
Cited – Henderson v London Borough of Hackney and Another QBD 5-Jul-2010
The claimant alleged defamation by the defendant in a referral letter sent to a third party. She had been dismissed from a non-teaching post after having been found using school computers to access pornography. The letter had reported the findings . .
Cited – Seray-Wurie v The Charity Commission of England and Wales CA 3-Feb-2009
The claimant appealed against the striking out of his claim for defamation in a reort prepared by the defendants criticising his actions as chairman of a CAB. The action had been struck out on the basis of qualified privilege, and the claimant’s . .
Cited – Khader v Aziz and Another QBD 31-Jul-2009
The defendant sought to strike out a claim in defamation. Acting on behalf of his client the solicitor defendant was said to have called a journalist and defamed the claimant. The words were denied.
Held: Assuming (which was denied) that the . .
Cited – Khader v Aziz and Others CA 23-Jun-2010
The claimant brought defamation proceedings after she had found and returned a valuable necklace belonging to the first respondent. The claim had been dismissed as an abuse of process.
Held: The claimant’s appeal failed: ‘there is such a . .
Cited – Ali v Associated Newspapers Ltd QBD 27-Jan-2010
The claimant sought damages in defamation, saying that a combination of publications identified him.
Held: Eady J briefly discussed the effect of hyperlinks in the context of a dispute about meaning or reference in a defamation case. . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.
Defamation, Litigation Practice
Updated: 31 October 2021; Ref: scu.147504