Berezovsky v Forbes Inc and Michaels; Glouchkov v Same: HL 16 May 2000

Plaintiffs who lived in Russia sought damages for defamation against an American magazine with a small distribution in England. Both plaintiffs had real connections with and reputations in England. A judgment in Russia would do nothing to repair the reputations in England, and accordingly the proper place to sue was in England. Under English law the publication of a defamatory article carries with it a presumption that the person defamed by it has suffered damage, without the need to prove that anyone knowing that person has read the article.
Lord Steyn referred to the case law and said: ‘Counsel accepted that he could not object to a proposition that the place where in substance the tort arises is a weighty factor pointing to that jurisdiction being the appropriate one. This illustrates the weakness of the argument. The distinction between a prima facie position and treating the same factor as a weighty circumstance pointing in the same direction is a rather fine one. For my part the Albaforth line of authority is well established, tried and tested, and unobjectionable in principle. I would hold that Hirst LJ correctly relied on these decisions.’
Lord Hope said: ‘In a defamation case the judge is not required to disregard evidence that publication has taken place elsewhere as well as in England. On the contrary, this feature of the case, if present, will always be a relevant factor. The weight to be given to it will vary from case to case, having regard to the plaintiff’s connection with this country in which he wishes to raise his action. The rule which applies to these cases is that the plaintiff must limit his claim to the effects of the publication in England: Diamond v. Sutton (1866) L.R. 1 Ex. 130; Schapira v. Ahronson [1999] E.M.L.R. 735; see also Eyre v. Nationwide News Pty. Ltd. [1967] N.Z.L.R. 851. Common sense suggests that the more tenuous the connection with this country the harder it will be for the claim to survive the application of this rule’.


Lord Steyn, Lord Nolan, Lord Hoffmann, Lord Hope of Craighead, Lord Hobhouse of Wood-borough


Times 16-May-2000, Gazette 31-May-2000, [2000] 1 WLR 1004, [2000] UKHL 25, [2000] 2 All ER 986


House of Lords, House of Lords, Bailii


England and Wales


Appeal fromBerezovsky and Another v Forbes Inc and Another CA 27-Nov-1998
Where a defamatory article was published in many jurisdictions, there is no rule preventing a plaintiff recovering in those jurisdictions where a remedy is given. Not confined by restriction to most appropriate jurisdiction. . .
See AlsoBerezovsky and Glouchkov v Forbes Inc and Michaels CA 31-Jul-2001
The claimant sought damages from the defendant for a magazine article claiming that he was involved in organised crime in Russia. The defendants appealed against the striking out of elements of the defence suggesting lesser meanings. Was meaning a . .
CitedSpiliada Maritime Corporation v Cansulex Ltd, The Spiliada HL 1986
Forum Non Conveniens Restated
The House reviewed the authorities on the principle of forum non conveniens and restated how to apply the principle where the defendant seeks a stay of proceedings on the ground that there is another more appropriate forum.
Held: ‘In the . .
CitedLadd v Marshall CA 29-Nov-1954
Conditions for new evidence on appeal
At the trial, the wife of the appellant’s opponent said she had forgotten certain events. After the trial she began divorce proceedings, and informed the appellant that she now remembered. He sought either to appeal admitting fresh evidence, or for . .
CitedDuke of Brunswick v Harmer QBD 2-Nov-1849
On 19 September 1830 an article was published in the Weekly Dispatch. The limitation period for libel was six years. The article defamed the Duke of Brunswick. Seventeen years after its publication an agent of the Duke purchased a back number . .
CitedDiamond v Sutton 1866
A plaintiff who seeks leave to serve out of the jurisdiction in respect of publication within the jurisdiction is guilty of an abuse if he seeks to include in the same action matters occurring elsewhere. . .
CitedRatcliffe v Evans CA 28-May-1892
The plaintiff was an engineer and boiler-maker. He alleged that a statement in the local newspaper that he had ceased business had caused him loss. The evidence that was given at trial consisted of general evidence of a downturn in trade; but the . .
CitedShevill and Others v Presse Alliance SA HL 26-Jul-1996
A libel case against a French paper was rightly brought in UK despite the small (250 copies nationally and 5 in the plaintiff’s local area (Yorkshire)) circulation here. The Brussels Convention allows a claim for defamation in UK though the main . .
CitedShevill, Ixora Trading Inc., Chequepoint SARL and Chequepoint International Ltd v Presse Alliance SA ECJ 7-Mar-1995
On a proper construction of the expression ‘place where the harmful event occurred’ in Article 5(3) of the Convention of 27 September 1968 on Jurisdiction and the Enforcement of Judgments in Civil and Commercial Matters as amended by the Convention . .
CitedLee v Wilson and Mackinnon 19-Dec-1934
(High Court of Australia) More than one person can be identified in a defamatory piece.
In determining the meaning in fact conveyed by the publication, the intention of the publisher is irrelevant, and it does not matter not whether the . .
CitedKroch v Rossell CA 1937
The plaintiff brought libel proceedings against the publishers of French and Belgian newspapers. He obtained permission to serve each defendant out of the jurisdiction on the ground that a small number of copies of each newspaper had been published . .
CitedCordoba Shipping Co Ltd v National State Bank, Elizabeth, New Jersey (The Albaforth) CA 1984
A negligent misrepresentation was made in a telex sent from the United States but received and acted upon in England. The judge had set aside leave to serve the document out of the jurisdiction.
Held: The appeal succeeded. The transmission was . .

Cited by:

CitedLewis and others v King CA 19-Oct-2004
The claimant sought damages for defamation for an article published on the Internet. The claimant Don King sued in London even though he lived in the US as did the defendants.
Held: A publication via the internet occurred when the material was . .
CitedDow Jones and Co Inc v Jameel CA 3-Feb-2005
Presumption of Damage in Defamation is rebuttable
The defendant complained that the presumption in English law that the victim of a libel had suffered damage was incompatible with his right to a fair trial. They said the statements complained of were repetitions of statements made by US . .
See AlsoBerezovsky and Glouchkov v Forbes Inc and Michaels CA 31-Jul-2001
The claimant sought damages from the defendant for a magazine article claiming that he was involved in organised crime in Russia. The defendants appealed against the striking out of elements of the defence suggesting lesser meanings. Was meaning a . .
CitedMardas v New York Times Company and Another QBD 17-Dec-2008
The claimant sought damages in defamation. The US publisher defendants denied that there had been any sufficient publication in the UK and that the court did not have jurisdiction. The claimant appealed the strike out of the claims.
Held: The . .
CitedMetropolitan International Schools Ltd. (T/A Skillstrain And/Or Train2Game) v Designtechnica Corp (T/A Digital Trends) and Others QBD 16-Jul-2009
The claimant complained that the defendant had published on its internet forums comments by posters which were defamatory of it, and which were then made available by the second defendant search engine. The court was asked what responsibility a . .
CitedFlood v Times Newspapers Ltd QBD 2-Oct-2009
The defendant had published a story in its newspaper. At that time it attracted Reynolds qualified privilege. After the circumstances changed, the paper offered an updating item. That offer was rejected as inadequate.
Held: The qualified . .
CitedVTB Capital Plc v Nutritek International Corp and Others SC 6-Feb-2013
The claimant bank said that it had been induced to create very substantial lending facilities by fraudulent misrepresentation by the defendants. They now appealed against findings that England was not clearly or distinctly the appropriate forum for . .
CitedAhuja v Politika Novine I Magazini Doo and Others QBD 23-Nov-2015
Action for misuse of private information and libel. Application to have set aside leave to serve out of the jurisdiction. The defendant published a newspaper in Serbian, in print in Serbia and online. Though in Serbian, the claimant said that online . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Defamation, Jurisdiction

Updated: 24 April 2022; Ref: scu.78349