Cairns v Modi: CA 31 Oct 2012

Three appeals against the levels of damages awards were heard together, and the court considered the principles to be applied.
Held: In assessing compensation following a libel, the essential question was how much loss and damage did the publication cause to its victim, and how was that to be reflected in monetary terms. The process of assessing damages is not quasi-scientific, and there was rarely a single ‘right’ answer. Even so, in most cases, the extent of publication as to the number of repetitions and readers. Nowadays, the repeated publication and consequent publicity on social media can make a substantial difference. There is however no need to seek a more analytical process for identifying different elements of the damage, as would be applied for example when looking at injured feelings compensation in discrimination cases.
A speedy publication of the withdrawal of the allegation, and publication of an apology with publicity comparable with the original defamation might do much. One consequence of modern communication systems, is that stories have the capacity to ‘go viral’ more widely and more quickly than before, and the scale of the problem of allegations of a scandalous nature percolating through underground channels has been immeasurably enhanced, especially for libel claimants who were already, for whatever reason, in the public eye. That percolation phenomenon was a legitimate factor to be taken into account in damages.
The judgments were varied or approved accordingly.
Orse KC v MGN Ltd
Lord Judge CJ, Lord Neuberger of Abbotsbury and Mr Justice Eady
[2012] WLR(D) 302, [2012] EWCA Civ 1382, Gazette 31-Oct-2012, [2013] EMLR 8, [2013] 1 WLR 1015
Bailii, WLRD
England and Wales
CitedJohn v MGN Ltd CA 12-Dec-1995
Defamation – Large Damages Awards
MGN appealed as to the level of damages awarded against it namely pounds 350,000 damages, comprising pounds 75,000 compensatory damages and pounds 275,000 exemplary damages. The newspaper contended that as a matter of principle there is no scope in . .
CitedCassell and Co Ltd v Broome and Another HL 23-Feb-1972
Exemplary Damages Award in Defamation
The plaintiff had been awarded damages for defamation. The defendants pleaded justification. Before the trial the plaintiff gave notice that he wanted additional, exemplary, damages. The trial judge said that such a claim had to have been pleaded. . .
CitedSlipper v British Broadcasting Corporation CA 1990
The plaintiff, a retired policeman was featured in a film about the Great Train Robbery. He sought to say that paper reviews of the film, and trailers worked to spread the libel, and should count in the assessment of damages against the defendant, . .
CitedRantzen v Mirror Group Newspapers (1986) Ltd and Others CA 1-Apr-1993
Four articles in the People all covered the same story about Esther Rantzen’s organisation, Childline, suggesting that the plaintiff had protected a teacher who had revealed to Childline abuses of children occurring at a school where he taught, by . .
CitedLillie and Reed v Newcastle City Council, Barker, Jones, Saradjian, Wardell QBD 30-Jul-2002
The applicants sought judicial review of a report prepared for the respondent. They had been accused of child abuse whilst working as nursery assistants.
Held: The report was fundamentally flawed, and almost deliberately designed to . .
CitedVento v The Chief Constable of West Yorkshire Police (No 2) CA 20-Dec-2002
The claimant had been awarded damages for sex discrimination, including a sum of andpound;25,000 for injury to feelings. The respondent appealed.
Held: The Court of Appeal looked to see whether there had been an error of law in the employment . .
CitedBray v Ford HL 1896
An appellate court’s power to order a new trial is conditional on ‘some substantial wrong or miscarriage’ being established.
Lord Hershell said: ‘It is an inflexible rule of the court of equity that a person in a fiduciary position, such as . .
CitedDingle v Associated Newspapers HL 1964
The plaintiff complained of an article written in the Daily Mail which included the reporting of a report of a Parliamentary select committee. The reporting of the select committee’s report was privileged under the Parliamentary Papers Act 1840. At . .
CitedCrampton v Nugawela 23-Dec-1996
(Supreme Court of New South Wales) Defamation – Damages – Aggravated and general damages – Economic loss with respect to professional standing – Principles relevant to assessment of damages for defamation – Relationship to damages for serious . .
CitedPurnell v Business Magazine Ltd CA 18-Apr-2007
The defendant appealed an award of damages for defamation. . .
Appeal fromKC v MGN Ltd QBD 5-Mar-2012
The claimant sought damages in defamation. His child had been murdered by his estranged former partner and her new man. In the course of extraordinarily intense publicity the defendant had wrongly described him as a convicted rapist. He was and . .
Appeal fromCairns v Modi QBD 26-Mar-2012
The claimant, an international cricketer, complained in defamation of a tweet issued by the defendant making allegations which he tried to justify at trial.
Held: The claim succeeded. The court awarded a sum of andpound;15,000 to reflect the . .

Cited by:
CitedCooke and Another v MGN Ltd and Another QBD 13-Aug-2014
The claimants made a television programme about the lives of people on benefits. The defendant published an article critical of many, and included a statement ‘Three more homes in the road where residents claim they have been portrayed as scroungers . .
CitedDhir v Saddler QBD 6-Dec-2017
Slander damages reduced for conduct
Claim in slander. The defendant was said, at a church meeting to have accused the client of threatening to slit her throat. The defendant argued that the audience of 80 was not large enough.
Held: ‘the authorities demonstrate that it is the . .
CitedTurley v Unite The Union and Another QBD 19-Dec-2019
Defamation of Labour MP by Unite and Blogger
The claimant now a former MP had alleged that a posting on a website supported by the first defendant was false and defamatory. The posting suggested that the claimant had acted dishonestly in applying online for a category of membership of the . .
CitedHijazi v Yaxley-Lennon (Orse Tommy Robinson) QBD 22-Jul-2021
No Valid Evidence to Support Serious Accusations
The claimant was filmed being assaulted in the school playground. The film was published on the internet, and the defendant right wing politician re-published it, but falsely said that the claimant had himself been violent.
Held: The . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.
Updated: 23 July 2021; Ref: scu.465472