Branson v Snowden; Branson v Gtech UK Corporation (a Body Corporate) and Rendine: CA 3 Jul 1997

The respective parties had been preparing competing bids for the National Lottery. One (Branson) alleged that the other had offerered a bribe. The other responded that the allegation was a lie, and each sued the other for defamation.
Held: The Lucas-Box defence could not be struck out. Litigious advantage resulting to one or other party from discovery and inspection is an aspect of securing fairness in disposal of the matter. The court refused leave to appeal against an order requiring disclosure of Mr Snowden’s statement as part of a mutual disclosure.


Lord Justice Butler-Sloss, Lord Justice Auld, Lord Justice Aldous


[1997] EWCA Civ 2021


England and Wales


CitedPrager v Times Newspapers Ltd CA 1988
The plaintiff claimed in libel, alleging certain meanings. The defendant sought to plead in justification to support certain defamatory meanings, but not those alleged.
Held: Where the words used were capable of being read by the judge to . .
CitedDe L’Isle v Times Newspapers CA 1988
A defendant who pleading justification may plead any reasonable meaning that a jury, properly directed, might find to be the real meaning. . .
CitedLucas-Box v News Group Newspapers Ltd; Polly Peck (Holdings) Plc v Trelford, Viscount De L’Isle v Times Newspapers Ltd CA 1986
Justification To be Clearly Set Out
The former practice which dictated that a defendant who wished to rely on a different meaning in support of a plea of justification or fair comment, did not have to set out in his defence the meaning on which he based his plea, was ill-founded and . .
CitedJones v Skelton PC 1963
(New South Wales) Lord Morris of Borth-y-Gest discussed how words subject to a claim in defamation should be read: ‘In deciding whether words are capable of conveying a defamatory meaning the court will reject those meanings which can only emerge as . .
CitedSlim v Daily Telegraph Ltd CA 1968
Courts to Settle upon a single meaning if disputed
The ‘single meaning’ rule adopted in the law of defamation is in one sense highly artificial, given the range of meanings the impugned words sometimes bear. The law of defamation ‘has passed beyond redemption by the courts’. Where in a libel action . .
CitedKirkup v British Rail Engineering Ltd CA 1983
Where interrogatories are administered they should be drafted with considerable rigour because if they are so widely drawn as to be vague they may be regarded as oppressive. . .
CitedMercer v Chief Constable of Lancashire CA 1991
When justifying a detention, the Chief Constable must prove it ‘was lawful minute by minute and hour by hour’. . .
CitedWallace Smith Trust v Deloitte Haskins and Sells CA 1997
If the party seeking discovery showed that the documents might be necessary for a fair disposal of the action, an order should normally only be refused after the court had examined the documents and considered them in the light of the material . .
CitedTaylor v Anderton (Police Complaints Authority Intervening) CA 19-Jan-1995
Reports, which had been prepared for the purposes of a police complaint procedure, could be entitled to protection from disclosure under a public interest immunity certificate. The court also considered the relationship between the documentation and . .

Cited by:

See AlsoGuy Snowden v Richard Branson CA 6-Jul-1999
. .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Defamation, Litigation Practice

Updated: 06 November 2022; Ref: scu.142418