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, and where the claimant has to prove malice to defeat a plea of qualified privilege, the claimant must plead that the defendant (or identified representatives of a corporation) either knew the meaning (defamatory of the claimant) that an ordinary, reasonable reader is likely to give to the publication, or was reckless as to whether or not his words were likely to be understood in that meaning.
The pleaded particulars must be more consistent with the existence of malice than with its non-existence.
The case pleaded in malice against the board here fell short of the high standard required to establish malice.
 EWHC 1263 (QB),  EMLR 12
England and Wales
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 – Alexander v Arts Council of Wales CA 9-Apr-2001
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 . .
Cited – Spencer v Sillitoe and Another CA 22-Oct-2002
Appeal from a decision of Morland J, who granted the defendants summary judgment under Civil Procedure Rule 24(2)(a)(2), finding that the claimant, Mr Spencer, had no real prospect of succeeding on his claim.
Held: Buxton LJ said: ‘Bearing in . .
Cited – Three Rivers District Council and Others v Governor and Company of The Bank of England (No 3) HL 22-Mar-2001
Misfeasance in Public Office – Recklessness
The bank sought to strike out the claim alleging misfeasance in public office in having failed to regulate the failed bank, BCCI.
Held: Misfeasance in public office might occur not only when a company officer acted to injure a party, but also . .
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 – 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 – Bonnick v Morris, The Gleaner Company Ltd and Allen PC 17-Jun-2002
(Jamaica) The appellant sought damages from the respondent journalists in defamation. They had claimed qualified privilege. The words alleged to be defamatory were ambiguous.
Held: The publishers were protected by Reynolds privilege. The court . .
Cited – B v N and Another QBD 31-Jul-2002
There was as allegation of defamation by one doctor against another.
Held: Eady J said: ‘To participate in a publication in such a way as to be liable in accordance with the law of defamation is not, I should emphasise, to be equated with . .
See also – Bray v Deutsche Bank Ag QBD 18-Jun-2009
Cited – Ajinomoto Sweeteners Europe Sas v Asda Stores Ltd CA 2-Jun-2010
The claimant sold a sweetener ingredient. The defendant shop advertised its own health foods range with the label ‘no hidden nasties’ and in a situation which, the claimant said, suggested that its ingredient was a ‘nasty’, and it claimed under . .
Cited – Greenstein v Campaign v Antisemitism CA 9-Jul-2021
Failure to plead decisive malice allegation
Appeal by the claimant against an order following a judgment striking out particulars of malice pleaded in the amended reply, among other determinations. Judgment was then entered in favour of the Campaign Against Antisemitsm in respect of a claim . .
These lists may be incomplete.
Updated: 12 July 2021; Ref: scu.270300