Bhatt v Chelsea and Westminster NHS Trust: QBD 16 Oct 1997

The defendant trust’s press officer had issued information to the press which was defamatory of the claimant in response to inquiries from the press indicating that articles based on the claimant’s criticisms of the trust were about to be published. The court heard an interlocutory appeal against the Master’s refusal to strike out the claimant’s case saying that it had the protection of qualified privilege.
Held: This form of qualified privilege extends to a statement in rebuttal of an anticipated attack. It would be bad law to treat a response to an attack as privileged but not ‘a pre-emptive press release intended to stop the mischief which would be done by publication’.


Sir Maurice Drake


Unreported, 16 October 1997

Cited by:

DoubtedBento v The Chief Constable of Bedfordshire Police QBD 1-Jun-2012
The claimant had been convicted of the murder of his girlfriend. On his acquittal on appeal, the police criticised the CPS decision not to retry the claimant, in effect, the claimant now said, continuing the accusation against him, and so defaming . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.


Updated: 04 May 2022; Ref: scu.460274