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 Council’s decision had been attacked in the press by the applicant. The meaning of the statement was essentially that the Claimant had a cavalier attitude to the use of public funds and was a reckless, negligent or incompetent administrator: this was why the Council had refused the application.
Eady J said: ‘It seems to me that the matter can be put on both bases, that is to say the general duty/interest test and the ‘reply to an attack’ test. I prefer to place the matter on the more general footing by saying that this was a matter concerning public funding and decisions made in relation to it which were likely to have a considerable impact on the arts in South Wales. It seems to me to be clear that someone in [the second defendant’s] position had a duty to explain, as far as she could, the nature of the decision and, if pressed upon it, the reasons for the decision. That is particularly so in a case where the matter had been placed in the public domain very recently and had thereby become a matter of legitimate interest.’
Eady J
Unreported, 20 July 2000
England and Wales
Cited by:
Appeal fromAlexander v Arts Council of Wales CA 9-Apr-2001
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Updated: 12 February 2021; Ref: scu.460273