Abu v MGN Ltd: QBD 2003

There should be nothing in any sense ‘rough and ready’ about the assessment of the claimant’s reputation under the offer of amends procedure in the 1996 Act. If compensation is not agreed it should be determined by the court on the same principles as in defamation proceedings. The court will take account of a range of factors similar to those in a full action, such as the gravity of the allegations, the scale of publication and any relevant aggravating or mitigating factors particular to the case.
Eady J said: ‘The Neill Committee recommendation was primarily directed towards providing a fair and reasonable exit route for defendants confronted with unreasonable demands from such manipulative or powerful claimants, who felt no doubt sometimes that they had them ‘over a barrel’. Yet it was naturally hoped that the ‘offer of amends’ would help to focus minds on achieving realistic compromise, and thus reduce the cost, for a much wider range of litigants. Whether any such reform will succeed, however, must depend on whether the statutory provisions as drafted are attractive to use. In this instance, it must provide an incentive to defendants to make the offer and to claimants to accept. In either case, a rational decision can only be made if it is possible within reasonable limits to predict the range of outcomes to which one is committing oneself. For example, before making an offer a defendant needs to be able to assess the gravity of the impact of the libel upon the complainant’s reputation and feelings, and this will generally have to be done in the light of the particulars of claim and/or letter before action. It would not seem fair if an offer is made and accepted on one basis, and the complainant then reveals for the first time elements of pleadable damage not previously mentioned, such as for example that his marriage has broken down or that he has lost his employment.
It would only accord with most people’s sense of justice if the offer of amends is construed as relating to the complaint as notified. Such an approach would also accord with the modern ‘cards on the table’ approach to litigation generally and, more specifically, with the thinking behind the Defamation Pre-Action Protocol.’

Judges:

Eady J

Citations:

[2003] 1 WLR 2001

Statutes:

Defamation Act 1996 3(5)

Jurisdiction:

England and Wales

Cited by:

See AlsoAbu v MGN Ltd SCCO 19-Jul-2004
. .
CitedNail and Another v News Group Newspapers Ltd and others CA 20-Dec-2004
The claimant appealed the award of damages in his claim for defamation. The defendants had variously issued apologies. The claimant had not complained initially as to one publication.
Held: In defamation proceedings the damage to feelings is . .
CitedBowman v MGN Ltd QBD 26-Apr-2010
The claimant complained of an article on the defendant’s web-site. The defendant offered an unqualified offer of amends. The court was asked to settle an amount of compensation. Though the article was removed within a few hours and upon receipt of . .
CitedThornton v Telegraph Media Group Ltd QBD 26-Jul-2011
The claimant alleged defamation and malicious falsehood in an article published and written by the defendants. She complained that she was said to have fabricated an interview with the second defendant for her book. An interview of sorts had now . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Defamation, Damages

Updated: 26 May 2022; Ref: scu.220496

Branson v Bower: QBD 15 Jun 2001

Eady J considered that: ‘Mr Price argues that the objective test for fair comment cannot be fulfilled (at any point) if the facts pleaded by the Defendant might take on a different significance when set against other facts not referred to in the words complained of-at least if the Defendant either knew about or could have discovered them. This raises a new clutch of problems for analysis.
The simplest example would be where a man has been charged with child abuse and a newspaper article calls for him to be suspended from his teaching post for so long as this question mark remains over him. On the face of it, that would be a legitimate instance of fair comment if those facts stood alone. Suppose, however, that there are facts, not mentioned by the Defendant, which throw a different light on matters. For example, the proceedings had been dropped by the Crown Prosecution Service, or he has been acquitted at trial, because it transpired that it was a case of mistaken identity, or because he had an alibi, or because DNA testing excluded him as the culprit. In those circumstances, the underlying factual substratum of the comment (viz there are reasonable grounds to suspect that he may be guilty of child abuse) would have collapsed.
The existence of such extraneous circumstances would be relevant in dealing with the question of whether the facts were truly stated (question . . [para 43 [iii] above]). They would also be relevant if it turned out that the Defendant had suppressed the exculpatory evidence deliberately. That would be evidence of malice-if the case ever got that far (question . . [para 43 [vi] above]). Where I would part company with Mr Price is over the question of whether such extraneous facts could also be relevant for answering question . . [para 43 [v] above]. The question would simply be ‘Could someone honestly express the opinion that the Claimant should be suspended on the footing that he was currently facing charges of child abuse?’ The answer to that would almost certainly be in the affirmative. It does not need to be confused with the other two questions I have identified. This is because the objective test for fair comment is concerned with whether the Defendant is able to show that a hypothetical person could honestly express the relevant comment on the facts pleaded and/or proved by the Defendant. I do not understand Mr Price to challenge that as a proposition of law.
If the Claimant, by way of rebuttal, proves truly exculpatory circumstances which negate the suspicious circumstances raised by the Defendant, that will undermine the accuracy of the factual substratum for the comment. The Defendant would therefore fail at question 1 [para [iii] above].’

Judges:

Eady J

Citations:

[2001] EWHC QB 460, [2002] QB 737, [2002] 2 WLR 452, [2001] EMLR 33

Links:

Bailii

Jurisdiction:

England and Wales

Cited by:

CitedLowe v Associated Newspapers Ltd QBD 28-Feb-2006
The defendant sought to defend the claim for defamation by claiming fair comment. The claimant said that the relevant facts were not known to the defendant at the time of the publication.
Held: To claim facts in aid of a defence of fair . .
CitedCook v Telegraph Media Group Ltd QBD 29-Mar-2011
The claimant, an MP, complained in defamation of the defendant’s description of his rejected expenses claim regarding an assistant’s charitable donation. The paper pleaded a Reynolds defence. The claimant said that when published the defendant knew . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Defamation

Updated: 25 May 2022; Ref: scu.236714

Wakefield v Channel Four Television Corporation and Another: QBD 4 Nov 2005

The claimant alleged defamation. He was also to face disciplinary proceedings, and sought a stay of his own action pending the result of the disciplinary charges.
Held: The defendant was not party to the disciplinary proceedings and would not be bound by them. The adjournment would merely confirm the claimant in his attempt to stifle criticism. Refused.

Judges:

Eady J

Citations:

[2005] EWHC 2410 (QB)

Links:

Bailii

Jurisdiction:

England and Wales

Defamation

Updated: 25 May 2022; Ref: scu.235132

Safeway Stores Plc v Albert Tate: CA 18 Dec 2000

The respondent, a neighbour of the claimant, had fallen into dispute with the claimant, and issued a leaflet and signs alleging fraud. The claimants obtained an injunction, and in the absence of a substantive defence, judgement. He claimed that the judgement had deprived him of his right to a jury trial because the case involved an allegation of fraud.
Held: The rule was ultra vires section 1(3) of the Act. It was not for a judge to pre-empt a possibly perverse jury finding. The right is a fundamental, not a procedural right, and was outside the power of the Rules Committee. The right is guaranteed by statute, and cannot be taken away by a delegated legislation. The rule which allowed summary judgment to be entered in all cases was a denial of that right. However the rule, as amended, allowed an exception in cases of some compelling reason. The right to jury trial in defamation case was such a compelling reason. The Act provided exceptions to the otherwise absolute right to elect for jury trial, and the list of exceptions in the act was complete and exclusive. There was no power in delegated legislation to repeal such a fundamental right given by primary legislation.

Judges:

Lord Justice Otton, Lord Justice Mantell And Sir Ronald Waterhouse

Citations:

Times 26-Jan-2001, Gazette 22-Feb-2001, [2000] EWCA Civ 335

Links:

Bailii

Statutes:

Civil Procedure Rules Part 24.2(b), Defamation Act 1981, Supreme Court Act 1981 1(3) 69

Jurisdiction:

England and Wales

Citing:

CitedBroome v Agar CA 1928
The court discussed the differing responsibilities of the judge and jury in defamation cases: ‘It is not, however, open to the judge to say that the words do bear a defamatory meaning, that is for the jury, but the jury must have evidence upon which . .
CitedGoldsmith v Pressdram Ltd CA 1988
The court considered whether to order a defamation trial to be before a judge alone, or with a jury.
Held: The word ‘examination’ has a wide connotation, is not limited to the documents which contain the actual evidence in the case and . .

Cited by:

CitedAlexander 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 . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Defamation, Constitutional, Civil Procedure Rules

Updated: 23 May 2022; Ref: scu.135636

Grobbelaar v News Group Newspapers and Another: CA 18 Jan 2001

Citations:

[2001] EWCA Civ 1213

Links:

Bailii

Statutes:

Civil Procedure Rules 32

Jurisdiction:

England and Wales

Citing:

Appeal fromGrobbelaar v Sun Newspapers Ltd CA 9-Jul-1999
With the new Civil Procedure Rules, it was no longer correct that a court could not exclude evidence which was relevant, on the grounds that its probative value was outweighed by its prejudicial effect. The court now has full power and discretion to . .

Cited by:

Appealed toGrobbelaar v Sun Newspapers Ltd CA 9-Jul-1999
With the new Civil Procedure Rules, it was no longer correct that a court could not exclude evidence which was relevant, on the grounds that its probative value was outweighed by its prejudicial effect. The court now has full power and discretion to . .
Appeal fromGrobbelaar v News Group Newspapers Ltd and Another HL 24-Oct-2002
The claimant appealed against a decision of the Court of Appeal quashing the judgement in his favour for damages for defamation.
Held: The Court of Appeal was not able to quash a jury verdict as perverse, and the appeal succeeded. An appellate . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Litigation Practice, Defamation

Updated: 23 May 2022; Ref: scu.135615

Sheridan v News Group Newspapers Limited: SCS 11 Dec 2018

The pursuer had succeeded in his defamation claim with an award of substantial damages. The defender then failed in an application for a retrial, despite evidence undermining the award. The pursuer obtained an order for interest to be payable from the time it would have been calculated but for the appeal. The defender appealed.

Citations:

[2018] ScotCS CSIH – 76

Links:

Bailii

Jurisdiction:

Scotland

Defamation, Damages

Updated: 21 May 2022; Ref: scu.634462

McKenna v MGN Ltd: QBD 16 Jul 2007

Eady J considered the consequences in costs of a claimant’s assertion of malice in a failed defamation case: ‘There are numerous examples of libel actions in which the fact that malice has been pleaded causes delay and increased cost out of all proportion to its ultimate utility in furthering the overriding objective or arriving at a just result. There need to be available, therefore, in the modern era of civil litigation, suitable disciplinary mechanisms for discouraging unrealistic or tactical pleas of malice. People need to think carefully before alleging bad faith against journalists, newspapers groups or any other defendant just for the sake of it. If such allegations lead to additional cost, but ultimately do not stand up to scrutiny, it is quite right that this should be reflected in determining who should pay.’

Judges:

Eady J

Citations:

[2007] EWHC B12 (QB)

Links:

Bailii

Jurisdiction:

England and Wales

Citing:

See AlsoMcKenna v MGN Ltd QBD 28-Jul-2006
The claimant hypnotherapist said that the defendant had through its newspaper defamed him by accusing him of claiming a bogus PhD. . .

Cited by:

CitedWakefield (T/A Wills Probate and Trusts of Weybridge) v Ford and Another QBD 29-Jan-2009
The claimant, who advised in the preparation of wills, claimed in defamation against the defendant solicitors saying in a letter to another firm of solicitors that he had admitted negligence. There had been a ruling that the occasion had qualified . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Defamation, Costs

Updated: 21 May 2022; Ref: scu.261906

E v News International Ltd and others: QBD 22 Jul 2008

Application by person subject to civil proceeedings order for permission to bring claims for defamation and otherwise against the defendants.
Held: Leave was refused. The claims in relation to the hard copy articles have no real prospect of success and/or were an abuse of the process of the court, and claim in relation to the internet postings would fail for the same reasons, together with the additional reason that there is no evidence of publication.

Judges:

Coulson J

Citations:

[2008] EWHC 1390 (QB)

Links:

Bailii

Statutes:

Supreme Court Act 1981

Jurisdiction:

England and Wales

Litigation Practice, Defamation, Torts – Other

Updated: 21 May 2022; Ref: scu.271043

Al Amoudi v Brisard and Another: QBD 12 May 2006

In the context of allegations of Internet publication there is no presumption that the words published were actually read, and no presumption that a reader who has read one article on a blog will have read all the other articles. The burden is on the claimant in this respect, and there is no evidential presumption from the presence of a particular publication on the internet that publication will be substantial.
Gray J said: ‘I am unable to accept that under English law a claimant in a libel action on an Internet publication is entitled to rely on a presumption of law that there has been substantial publication.’

Judges:

Gray J

Citations:

[2006] EWHC 1062 (QB), [2006] 3 All ER 294, [2007] 1 WLR 113

Links:

Bailii

Jurisdiction:

England and Wales

Cited by:

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 . .
CitedBudu v The British Broadcasting Corporation QBD 23-Mar-2010
The defendant sought to strike out the claimant’s action in defamation. It had reported that the police had withdrawn an employment offer to claimant after doubting his immigration status.
Held: The claims should be struck out. The articles . .
CitedKaschke v Osler QBD 13-May-2010
The claimant sued in defamation as regards the defendant’s comments in his internet blog on her historical left wing political connections. She complained that they made a connection with terrorist activities. The defendant said that the article was . .
CitedTamiz v Google Inc Google UK Ltd QBD 2-Mar-2012
The claimant sought damages in defamation against the defendant company offering internet search facilities. The words complained of had been published in a blog, and in comments published on the blog.
Held: Jurisdiction should be declined. . .
CitedO’Dwyer v ITV Plc QBD 30-Nov-2012
The defendant sought to have struck out the claim for defamation based on the defendant’s ‘Homes from Hell’ TV programme.
Held: The pleaded meanings failed, and an application to amend the particulars was refused. The action was struck out.
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Defamation

Updated: 21 May 2022; Ref: scu.242706

Fallon v MGN Ltd: QBD 10 Apr 2006

The claimant sought damages in defamation.
Held: Questions as to what inferences can be drawn from betting patterns when assessing a jockey’s motives are not within the expertise of a racing-riding expert witness.

Judges:

Eady J

Citations:

[2006] EWHC 783 (QB), [2006] EMLR 19

Links:

Bailii

Jurisdiction:

England and Wales

Citing:

CitedChase v Newsgroup Newspapers Ltd CA 3-Dec-2002
The defendant appealed against a striking out of part of its defence to the claim of defamation, pleading justification.
Held: The Human Rights Convention had not itself changed the conditions for a plea of justification based upon reasonable . .

Cited by:

CitedMcKeown v British Horseracing Authority QBD 12-Mar-2010
The jockey claimant challenged disciplinary proceedings brought against him by the defendant authority.
Held: The findings were upheld in part but remitted for consideration of giving the claimant opportunity to challenge certain evidence. . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Defamation, Evidence

Updated: 21 May 2022; Ref: scu.240425

Prince Radu of Hohenzollern v Houston and Another: QBD 7 Mar 2006

The claimant resided in Romania, and sought damages for libel. The magazine had obtained an order for security for costs. An offer had been made to cover the sum ordered, and no stifling could now happen.
Held: Any order for security costs in such a situation should be limited to a sum to represent the additional cost which will be incurred in the process of enforcement. Romania’s accession to the European Union, which would ease collection of any award, was not yet concluded. The proper level of security to be requested was andpound;80,000.

Judges:

Eady J

Citations:

[2006] EWHC 231 (QB)

Links:

Bailii

Jurisdiction:

England and Wales

Citing:

CitedM V Yorke Motors v Edwards HL 1982
A sale of a second hand Rolls Royce had gone wrong. The plaintiff was claiming damages of 23,250 pounds. The plaintiff sought Order 14 summary judgment. That was refused, and the Master gave leave to defend without any conditions. The plaintiff . .
CitedNasser v United Bank of Kuwait CA 21-Dec-2001
The claimant appealed against a decision to strike out her claim for want of prosecution, and a failure to pay a sum ordered as security for costs. She had put jewelry with the defendants for safe keeping, and alleged it had been stolen. The lock on . .
CitedAl-Koronky and Another v Time Life Entertainment Group Ltd and Another QBD 29-Jul-2005
The defendant to the defamation claim sought security for costs. There had been allegations of dishonesty on either side.
Held: The court should not, upon such an application, enter into the merits of the case in any detail, save in the . .
CitedTexuna International Ltd v Cairn Energy Plc ComC 17-May-2004
Where the court concludes that it may be effectively impossible to enforce an order for payment of costs, then this situation would provide ‘an objective justification for the court exercising its discretion to make an order for payment of the full . .
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 . .
CitedHammond Suddard, Solicitors v Agrichem International Holdings Limited CA 18-Dec-2001
The appellant sought staying the order for him to pay costs pending the results of an appeal, and the respondent sought security for costs in fighting the appeal, and a striking out in default of payment, and for security for payment of the . .
CitedContract Facilities Ltd v Estate of Rees(dec’d) and others CA 23-Jul-2003
Where a stay is sought, all the circumstances must be considered. The court must consider whether the appeal would be stifled. One must not only look at the means of the appellant himself but also consider whether the money could be raised from . .

Cited by:

Appeal fromRadu, Prince of Hohenzollern v Houston and Another CA 27-Jul-2006
. .
See AlsoPrince Radu of Hohenzollern v Houston and Another QBD 12-Oct-2007
. .
See AlsoPrince Radu of Hohenzollern v Houston and Another QBD 23-Nov-2007
. .
See AlsoPrince Radu of Hohenzollern v Houston and Another CA 15-Jul-2008
The defendant appealed from a decision that the occasion of publication was not privileged. He sought Reynolds protection.
Held: Appeal dismissed. . .
See AlsoPrince Radu of Hohenzollern v Houston and Another (No 4) QBD 4-Mar-2009
Orders were sought to strike out part of the defendants defence of justification to an allegation of defamation.
Held: Where there remains the possibility of a jury trial, it becomes especially important to identify the issues the jurors are . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Defamation, Litigation Practice

Updated: 21 May 2022; Ref: scu.238934

Tolstoy Miloslavsky v United Kingdom: ECHR 19 Jul 1995

The applicant had been required to pay andpound;124,900 as security for the respondent’s costs as a condition of his appeal against an award of damages in a defamation case.
Held: It followed from established case law that article 6(1) did not guarantee a right of appeal. It was not disputed that the security for costs order pursued the legitimate aim of protecting the respondent from being faced with an irrecoverable bill for legal costs if the applicant was unsuccessful in his appeal. In such circumstances the order did not impair the very essence of the applicant’s right of access to the court, bearing in mind that the applicant had already enjoyed full access to the court in the proceedings at first instance.
A damages award of andpound;1.5m was breach of article 10 of European Human rights convention. The lack of control over libel damages, in this case allowing an award of andpound;1.5 million was a breach of the right of free expression. The right of access to the courts secured by article 6(1) may be subject to limitations in the form of regulation by the State. In this respect the State enjoys a certain margin of appreciation. However, the Court must be satisfied, firstly, that the limitations applied do not restrict or reduce the access left to the individual in such a way or to such an extent that the very essence of the right is impaired. Secondly, a restriction must pursue a legitimate aim and there must be a reasonable relationship of proportionality between the means employed and the aim sought to be achieved.’=

Citations:

Times 19-Jul-1995, Independent 22-Sep-1995, (1995) 20 EHRR 442, 18139/91, [1995] ECHR 25

Links:

Worldlii, Bailii

Statutes:

European Convention on Human Rights art 10

Citing:

See AlsoWatts v Aldington, Tolstoy v Aldington CA 15-Dec-1993
There had been a settlement of proceedings for libel brought by Lord Aldington against Mr Nigel Watts and Count Nikolai Tolstoy. Lord Aldington had obtained judgment for andpound;1.5 million in damages against both defendants following a trial. . .
See AlsoTolstoy-Miloslavsky v Aldington CA 27-Dec-1995
Solicitors who unreasonably commence proceedings may be subject to a wasted costs order, but there should be no award of costs against a solicitor solely because he acted without a fee. An award of costs should not be made against a solicitor who . .

Cited by:

CitedGleaner Company Ltd and Another v Abrahams PC 14-Jul-2003
Punitive Defamation Damages Order Sustained
(Jamaica) The appellants challenged a substantial award of damages for defamation. They had wrongfully accused a government minister of corruption. There was evidence of substantial financial loss. ‘For nearly sixteen years the defendants, with all . .
CitedNail v Jones, Harper Collins Publications Ltd; Nail v News Group Newspapers Ltd, Wade etc QBD 26-Mar-2004
The claimant was upset by an article published by the defendant making false allegations that he had behaved in a sexually profligate manner many years earlier. When it was substantially repeated he sued.
Held: The words were defamatory. An . .
See AlsoWatts v Aldington, Tolstoy v Aldington CA 15-Dec-1993
There had been a settlement of proceedings for libel brought by Lord Aldington against Mr Nigel Watts and Count Nikolai Tolstoy. Lord Aldington had obtained judgment for andpound;1.5 million in damages against both defendants following a trial. . .
See AlsoTolstoy-Miloslavsky v Aldington CA 27-Dec-1995
Solicitors who unreasonably commence proceedings may be subject to a wasted costs order, but there should be no award of costs against a solicitor solely because he acted without a fee. An award of costs should not be made against a solicitor who . .
CitedGeorge Galloway MP v Telegraph Group Ltd QBD 2-Dec-2004
The claimant MP alleged defamation in articles by the defendant newspaper. They claimed to have found papers in Iraqi government offices after the invasion of Iraq which implicated the claimant. The claimant said the allegations were grossly . .
CitedCollins Stewart Ltd and Another v The Financial Times Ltd QBD 20-Oct-2004
The claimants sought damages for defamation. The claimed that the article had caused very substantial losses (andpound;230 million) to them by affecting their market capitalisation value. The defendant sought to strike out that part of the claim. . .
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 . .
CitedNail and Another v News Group Newspapers Ltd and others CA 20-Dec-2004
The claimant appealed the award of damages in his claim for defamation. The defendants had variously issued apologies. The claimant had not complained initially as to one publication.
Held: In defamation proceedings the damage to feelings is . .
CitedSteel and Morris v United Kingdom ECHR 15-Feb-2005
The applicants had been sued in defamation by McDonalds. They had no resources, and English law precluded legal aid for such cases. The trial was the longest in English legal history. They complained that the non-availablility of legal aid infringed . .
CitedCampbell v MGN Ltd (No 2) HL 20-Oct-2005
The appellant sought to challenge the level of costs sought by the claimant after she had succeeded in her appeal to the House. Though a relatively small sum had been awarded, the costs and success fee were very substantial. The newspaper claimed . .
CitedCampbell v MGN Ltd (No 2) HL 20-Oct-2005
The appellant sought to challenge the level of costs sought by the claimant after she had succeeded in her appeal to the House. Though a relatively small sum had been awarded, the costs and success fee were very substantial. The newspaper claimed . .
CitedAl-Koronky and Another v Time-Life Entertainment Group Ltd and Another CA 28-Jul-2006
The claimants sought damages after publication of articles alleging severe mistreatment of a servant. One defendant had settled and apologised, but the defendant publisher and author had persisted with the allegation. The claimants who lived in . .
CitedMosley v News Group Newspapers Ltd QBD 24-Jul-2008
The defendant published a film showing the claimant involved in sex acts with prostitutes. It characterised them as ‘Nazi’ style. He was the son of a fascist leader, and a chairman of an international sporting body. He denied any nazi element, and . .
CitedMGN Limited v United Kingdom ECHR 18-Jan-2011
The applicant publisher said that the finding against it of breach of confidence and the system of success fees infringed it Article 10 rights to freedom of speech. It had published an article about a model’s attendance at Narcotics anonymous . .
CitedLukaszewski v The District Court In Torun, Poland SC 23-May-2012
Three of the appellants were Polish citizens resisting European Arrest Warrants. A fourth (H), a British citizen, faced extradition to the USA. An order for the extradition of eachhad been made, and acting under advice each filed a notice of appeal . .
CitedMcGrath v Independent Print Ltd QBD 26-Jul-2013
The claimant alleged defamation in an article on the defendant’s web-site discussing a failure of his earlier defamation action. He now sought directions for a jury trial. . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Defamation, Human Rights, Media, Litigation Practice

Updated: 20 May 2022; Ref: scu.89909

S v Newham London Borough Council: CA 24 Feb 1998

A Local Authority which was relaying the facts underlying a list of people it felt were unsuitable to work with children to the minister has no immunity from a defamation action.

Judges:

Lord Woolf MR

Citations:

Times 05-Mar-1998, Gazette 18-Mar-1998, [1998] 1 FLR 1061, [1998] EWCA Civ 339, [1998] EMLR 583

Links:

Bailii

Jurisdiction:

England and Wales

Cited by:

CitedW v Westminster City Council and Others QBD 9-Dec-2004
The claimant sought to bring an action for defamation based upon communications made in a child protection conference. The reference was in a Report for Conference to be held pursuant to the duties imposed on local authorities by the Children Act . .
CitedSeray-Wurie v The Charity Commission of England and Wales QBD 23-Apr-2008
The defendant sought an order to strike out the claimant’s allegations of defamation and other torts. The defendants claimed qualified privilege in that the statements complained of were contained in a report prepared by it in fulfilment of its . .
CitedSeray-Wurie v The Charity Commission of England and Wales CA 3-Feb-2009
The claimant appealed against the striking out of his claim for defamation in a reort prepared by the defendants criticising his actions as chairman of a CAB. The action had been struck out on the basis of qualified privilege, and the claimant’s . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Defamation, Local Government, Children

Updated: 20 May 2022; Ref: scu.88948

Hartt v Newspaper Publishing PLC: CA 26 Oct 1989

The possible variety of meanings of the words complained of in a defamation action is already factored into the single meaning rule. Neill LJ said: ‘The court should give to the material complained of the natural and ordinary meaning which it would have conveyed to the ordinary reasonable viewer watching the programme once in 1985 . . The hypothetical reasonable reader . . is not naive but he is not unduly suspicious. He can read between the lines. He can read an implication more readily than a lawyer, and may indulge in a certain amount of loose thinking. But he must be treated as being a man who is not avid for scandal and someone who does not, and should not, select one bad meaning where other non-defamatory meanings are available.’

Judges:

Neill LJ

Citations:

Transcript No. 1015, Unreported, 26 October 1989

Jurisdiction:

England and Wales

Cited by:

CitedSkuse v Granada Television CA 30-Mar-1993
The claimant complained that the defendant had said in a television programme that he had failed to act properly when presenting his expert forensic evidence in court in the trial of the Birmingham Six.
Held: The court should give to the . .
CitedArmstrong v Times Newspapers Ltd QBD 30-Jun-2006
The claimant, a professional cyclist, sought damages in defamation, saying that the defendant newspaper had implied that he had taken performance enhancing drugs. The case was to be heard by judge alone. The court considered how to deal with the . .
CitedSkuse v Granada Television CA 30-Mar-1993
The claimant complained that the defendant had said in a television programme that he had failed to act properly when presenting his expert forensic evidence in court in the trial of the Birmingham Six.
Held: The court should give to the . .
CitedAjinomoto 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 . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Defamation

Updated: 20 May 2022; Ref: scu.244198

Lonhro Plc and Others v Fayed and Others (No 5): CA 6 Oct 1993

The plaintiff sought to amend a conspiracy claim, based on arrangements to publish defamatory statements, by adding a claim for damage to reputation and feelings.
Held: Such a claim could not be made in conspiracy. A Plaintiff’s motives in commencing proceedings, as to whether they constituted an abuse of process, are only assessable by the judge at trial, and not on an interlocutory application. The action was re-instated. ‘[N]o one has a right to a reputation which is unmerited. Accordingly one can only suffer an injury to reputation if what is said is false. In defamation the falsity of the libel or slander is presumed; but justification is a complete defence.’
Dillon LJ said: ‘In my judgment, if the plaintiffs want to claim damages for injury to reputation or injury to feelings, they must do so in an action for defamation, not in this very different form of action. Injury to reputation and to feelings is, with very limited exceptions, a field of its own and the established principles in that field are not to be side-stepped by alleging a different cause of action. Justification, truth, is an absolute defence to an action for defamation and it would, in my judgment, be lamentable if a plaintiff could recover damages against defendants who had combined to tell the truth about the plaintiff and so had destroyed his unwarranted reputation. But that would be the consequence if damages for injury to reputation and injury to feelings could be claimed in a ‘lawful means’ conspiracy action. To tell the truth would be wrongful. I see no difference in this regard between general reputation and commercial or business reputation.’

Judges:

Stuart-Smith, Dillon LJ

Citations:

Gazette 06-Oct-1993, Gazette 29-Sep-1993, [1993] 1 WLR 1489

Jurisdiction:

England and Wales

Citing:

CitedFoaminol Laboratories Ltd v British Artide Plastics Ltd 1941
There is no justification for artificially excising from the damages recoverable for breach of contract that part of the financial loss which might or might not be the subject of a successful claim in defamation. A claim for mere loss of reputation . .

Cited by:

CitedGreene v Associated Newspapers Ltd CA 5-Nov-2004
The claimant appealed against refusal of an order restraining publication by the respondent of an article about her. She said that it was based upon an email falsely attributed to her.
Held: ‘in an action for defamation a court will not impose . .
CitedAshley and Another v Sussex Police CA 27-Jul-2006
The deceased was shot by police officers raiding his flat in 1998. The claimants sought damages for his estate. They had succeeded in claiming damages for false imprisonment, but now appealed dismissal of their claim for damages for assault and . .
CitedHannon and Another v News Group Newspapers Ltd and Another ChD 16-May-2014
The claimants alleged infringement of their privacy, saying that the defendant newspaper had purchased private information from police officers emplyed by the second defendant, and published them. The defendants now applied for the claims to be . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Litigation Practice, Defamation, Torts – Other

Updated: 19 May 2022; Ref: scu.83189

Hamilton v Al-Fayed and Others (No 3): QBD 13 Jul 2001

Where a person funded another’s court action as an act of charity, it should be exceptional to order that third party to contribute to the costs of the successful opponent. Nevertheless there could be no absolute rule against such orders. There is a clear distinction between those who act in this way as pure funders, and those who funded litigation from some contractual obligation. Another relevant consideration was whether the funder had information to suggest that the claimant had a reasonable prospect of success, or whether he acted as some quixotic philanthropist.

Judges:

The Hon Mr Justice Morland

Citations:

Times 25-Jul-2001, [2001] EWHC QB 389

Links:

Bailii

Statutes:

Courts and Legal Services Act 1990 4(1)

Costs, Defamation, Litigation Practice

Updated: 19 May 2022; Ref: scu.81197

Fraser v Mirza: HL 29 Mar 1993

A complaint made against a police officer may be libellous if it was made with an improper motive: ‘The motive with which a person made a defamatory communication can only be ascertained from an examination of his state of mind at the time he made it, which, as Lord Diplock said, can only be inferred from what he did or said or knew . . In the circumstances I am of the opinion that the respondent’s intentions in respect of what he was trying to convey by the letter are properly to be taken into account for the purpose of ascertaining what was the dominant motive operating on his mind at the time he wrote it . . Absent of belief in the truth of a defamatory allegation actually conveyed is, as Lord Diplock said [in Horrocks v Lowe], usually conclusive evidence of improper motive amounting to express malice. There is no valid reason for not holding that the same inference is necessarily to be drawn where the maker of the communication is proved to have intended by it to convey a defamatory allegation in the truth of which he did not believe, but which on a proper construction of the communication it is found not to bear.’

Judges:

Lord Keith of Kinkel

Citations:

Ind Summary 29-Mar-1993, [1993] SC (HL) 27, [1993] UKHL 14, 1993 SLT 527

Links:

Bailii

Citing:

CitedHorrocks 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 . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Defamation, Police, Scotland

Updated: 19 May 2022; Ref: scu.80667

C v Mirror Group Newspapers and Others: CA 21 Jun 1996

Husband and wife were involved in a custody dispute. The father made serious but false allegations to the press. She now claimed in defamation, but he relied upon limitation. She said the facts had only become known to her much later.
Held: ‘Facts relevant to cause’ referred to those facts necessary to be pleaded but not in rebuttal.

Judges:

Neill, Morritt, Pill LJJ

Citations:

Times 15-Jul-1996, [1996] EMLR 518, [1997] 1 FCR 556, [1996] 2 FLR 532, [1996] 4 All ER 511, [1996] Fam Law 671, [1996] EWCA Civ 1290, [1997] 1 WLR 131

Links:

Bailii

Statutes:

Limitation Act 1980 32A

Jurisdiction:

England and Wales

Cited by:

CitedCollins v Brebner CA 19-Jun-1997
The defendant solicitor appealed refusal of an order to strike out the claim. The claimant alleged breach of trust. The claimant asserted a fraudulent witholding of information to suggest that any breach of trust had happened. The defendant said . .
CitedKhader v Aziz and Another QBD 31-Jul-2009
The defendant sought to strike out a claim in defamation. Acting on behalf of his client the solicitor defendant was said to have called a journalist and defamed the claimant. The words were denied.
Held: Assuming (which was denied) that the . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Defamation, Media, Limitation

Updated: 19 May 2022; Ref: scu.78809

Case VII 5 Jac Cr 162, Dame Morison’s Case Slander, Report: 1220

That Arscott reported that he had the use of the plaintiff’s body; whereas Arscott never said so, nor ever had; by which words she lost her marriage with one A. then suitor to her, who desisted by reason of this slander. Judged actionabie, affirmed in error.

Citations:

[1220] EngR 572, (1220-1623) Jenk 316, (1220) 145 ER 230 (C)

Links:

Commonlii

Defamation

Updated: 18 May 2022; Ref: scu.461484

CASE LXXX Tr 28 El Mercer’s Case Slanders, Implication, Intendment: 1220

An action on the case was brought for scandalous words, and the word malitiose was wanting in the declaratiori : yet adjudged good and affirmed in error. For since they are scandalous they are eo ipso malicious.

Citations:

[1220] EngR 792, (1220-1623) Jenk 268, (1220) 145 ER 192 (C)

Links:

Commonlii

Defamation

Updated: 18 May 2022; Ref: scu.461704

Stopforth v Goyer: 1978

(High Court of Ontario) A claim was made for defamation in remarks made by the defendant about the plaintiff to media representative who were present in parliament, just after he left the Ottawa chamber at the conclusion of the question period. The plaintiff had been a senior member of a team having conduct of the delivery of weapons systems to the government. The defendant had been the relevant minister. It was accepted that the defendant was taken to assume that his acceptedly defamatory words would be repulished by the media. The defendant claimed qualified privilege.
Held: The defence was not made out. There was no duty falling on him at the time to utter the words he did, and nor was there a reciprocal duty in the press to receive the statement.

Judges:

Lief J

Citations:

(1978) 87 DLR (3d) 373, (1978) 4 CCLT 265

Cited by:

CitedChaytor and Others, Regina v SC 1-Dec-2010
The defendants faced trial on charges of false accounting in connection in different ways with their expenses claims whilst serving as members of the House of Commons. They appealed against rejection of their assertion that the court had no . .
CitedMakudi v Baron Triesman of Tottenham CA 26-Feb-2014
Appeal against strike out of claims for defamation and malicious falsehood. The defendant had given evidence to the Culture Media and Sport Select Committee of the House of Commons with material highly critical of the claimant, a member of FIFA’s . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Commonwealth, Constitutional, Defamation, Media

Updated: 18 May 2022; Ref: scu.427747

Brittridge’s Case: 1602

Mr. B. is a perjured old knave, arid that is to be proved by a stake parting the land of H Martin and Mr Wright,’ held not actionable, for the subsequent words qualify the first words so as to make them not actionable.
Adjective words are actioaable, if they import an act done : secus, if they import an inclination only. So words spoken adjectively are actionabIe, if they slander one in his office or trade, andc. ; as to say of a Judge, he is corrupt ; – of a clergyman, he has made a seditious sermon ; or of a merchant, he is a bankrupt knave, andc
Words prima facie imputing a felony are not actionable, if explained by subsequent words,

Citations:

[1602] EngR 6, (1602) 4 Co Rep 18, (1602) 76 ER 905

Links:

Commonlii

defamation

Updated: 18 May 2022; Ref: scu.424424

Evans v John Fairfax Group Pty Ltd: 12 Feb 1993

(Supreme Court of the Australian Capital Territory) It was not defamatory to say of a career civil servant that his career had been aided by patronage of senior politicians, since it did not impute any active or improper seeking of favours on the plaintiff’s part: The question is, however, whether to say of a person that he has been the beneficiary of such a system, with the capacity to be used to favour the less well qualified candidates, defames the candidate . . In Renouf [(1977) 17 ACTR 35] (supra), Blackburn CJ accepted that it was defamatory of a senior public servant . . ‘to say that he publicly demonstrated his sympathy with a political party with a view to receiving a higher appointment from the Government formed by that party’. . That imputation was accepted as defamatory by reason of the implication that the plaintiff had attempted to openly demonstrate his political acceptability to the Government. That allegation assumed, of course, that the Government in question made such appointments on the ground of political acceptability . . In the present case, the article depicts the plaintiff as a favoured recipient of preferment. It is not suggested he improperly sought it, as was the defamatory allegation in Fairbairn v John Fairfax and Sons Ltd (1977) 21 ACTR 1 . . The article did not over-state the role of the Prime Minister in the plaintiff’s career advancement, but it did not impute any unfair or improper conuct to him nor suggest he did not merit such advancement. It did not convey the imputation pleaded. That would require the article to assert that the plaintiff’s qualifications and experience were less important than the favour of the Pdrime Minister. It clearly does not do that.’

Judges:

Higgins J

Citations:

[1993] ACTSC 7

Links:

Austlii

Cited by:

CitedMiller v Associated Newspapers Ltd QBD 31-Mar-2010
The claimant sought damages in defamation, saying that the defendant newspaper (Daily Mail) had implied abuse of his friendship with a Police Commissioner to obtain contracts. The defendant denied any meaning defamatory of the claimant.
Held: . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Commonwealth, Defamation

Updated: 18 May 2022; Ref: scu.406675

Wright and Advertiser Newspapers Limited v Lewis: 1990

(Supreme Court of South Australia) L, a member of the South Australia House of Assembly, alleged in the House that W had obtained an advantage from his close association with a former Government. W wrote to the newspaper, which published it, accusing L of abusing parliamentary privilege and of cheap political opportunism. L said the letter was libelous. W pleaded justification, qualified privilege and fair comment. L’s integrity in making statements in the House was determinative of the action: the letter was plainly defamatory and unless the defendants could challenge the truthfulness of what the plaintiff had said in Parliament, they had no defence.
Held: King CJ set out the result of allowing the action without such evidence: ‘It must be observed at the outset that if the view argued for by counsel for the Attorney-General and the plaintiff is correct, the result is remarkable. A Member of Parliament could sue for defamation in respect of criticism of his statements or conduct in the Parliament. The defendant would be precluded, however, from alleging and proving that what was said by way of criticism was true. This would amount to a gross distortion of the law of defamation in its application to such a situation. Defamation in law is by definition an untrue imputation against the reputation of another. . . If the defendant were precluded from proving the truth of what is alleged, the Member of Parliament would be enabled to recover damages, if no other defence applied, for an imputation which was perfectly true. Moreover the defence of fair comment would often be unavailable, as in the present case, because it would not be permissible to prove the factual foundation for the expression of opinion. The defence of qualified privilege might be seriously inhibited because the defendant would be prevented from answering an allegation of express malice by proving the facts as known to him. If this is the true legal position, it is difficult to envisage how a court could apply the law of defamation in a rational way to an action by a Member of Parliament in respect of an imputation relating to his statements or conduct in the House, or could try such an action fairly or adjudicate upon it justly.
If on the other hand such an action is not justiciable, other difficulties and injustices arise.
. . A Member of Parliament would be deprived of the ordinary right of a citizen to obtain damages for defamation in such circumstances notwithstanding , the privilege being that of the Parliament not of the member, that he might be quite willing to have all the ordinary defences put forward and adjudicated upon by the court.’
The Court held limited parliamentary privilege does to exclude challenges to the truth or bona fides of statements made in Parliament where the maker of the statements himself initiates the proceedings. Such a limitation on normal parliamentary privilege would not inhibit the member from exercising his freedom of speech ‘because he would be aware that his actions and motives could not be examined in court unless he instituted the proceedings which rendered such examination necessary’.

Judges:

King CJ

Citations:

(1990) 53 SASR 416, [1990] Aust Torts Reports 81-026

Jurisdiction:

Australia

Cited by:

Not followedPrebble v Television New Zealand Ltd PC 27-Jun-1994
(New Zealand) The plaintiff, an MP, pursued a defamation case. The defendant wished to argue for the truth of what was said, and sought to base his argument on things said in Parliament. The plaintiff responded that this would be a breach of . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Commonwealth, Constitutional, Defamation

Updated: 18 May 2022; Ref: scu.409975

Stuart v Bell: CA 1891

Lindley LJ suggested that a moral or social duty meant ‘a duty recognised by English people of ordinary intelligence and moral principle, but at the same time not a duty enforceable by legal proceedings, whether civil or criminal’.
The defendant’s belief that he had an interest or duty in making the statement or communicating the information is irrelevant to the question whether the occasion is privileged.

Judges:

Lindley LJ

Citations:

[1891] 2 QB 341, (1891) 7 TLR 502

Cited by:

CitedClift v Slough Borough Council and Another QBD 6-Jul-2009
The claimant sought damages for defamation. The council had decided that she had threatened a member of staff and notified various people, and entered her name on a violent persons register. She alleged malice, the council pleaded justification and . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Defamation

Updated: 18 May 2022; Ref: scu.347446

Chalmers v Shackell And Others: 4 Jul 1834

In an action for libel, to support a plea of justification stating that the plaintiff had forged and uttered, knowing it to be forged, a certain bill of exchange, to justify a verdict for the defendant, the same evidence must be given as would be necessary to convict the plaintiff If he were on trial for those offences ; but if the evidence falls short of satisfying the jury that the strict legal offence was committed, they may take the facts proved into their consideration in estimating the damages. If the declaration in case for a libel state, inter alia, that at a certain place certain meetings for the promotion of seclition and blasphemy had been held, and that the deferidant published of and concerning the plaintiff, and of and concerning the other matters, and of and concerning the said meetings, a libel charging him among other things with having taken the chair at the said place, but not saying anything of the character of the meetirigs there, it will not be ground of nonsuit should the plaintiff at the trial fail to prove that the meetings were such as he described in his inducement.

Citations:

[1834] EngR 898, (1834) 6 Car and P 475, (1834) 172 ER 1326

Links:

Commonlii

Jurisdiction:

England and Wales

Cited by:

CitedTurner v News Group Newspapers Ltd and Another CA 16-May-2006
Application to determine compensation for admitted defamation.
Keene LJ considered both Pamplin and Burstein as bases for reliance upon other ‘misconduct’ of a claimant to reduce damages: ‘it needs to be borne in mind that the principle of . .
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 . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Defamation

Updated: 18 May 2022; Ref: scu.317574

Joseph Le Fanu, And Edward Bull v Joseph Malcomson And Others: HL 27 Jun 1848

Though defamatory matter may appear only to apply to a class of individuals, yet if the descriptions in such matter are capable of being, by inuendo, shown to be directly applicable to any one individual of that class, an action may be maintained by such individual in respect of the publication of such matter.
In such a case the innuendo does not extend the sense of the defamatory matter, but merely points out the particular individual to whom matter, in itself defamatory, does in fact apply.
Therefore, after verdict, a declaration which recited that the plaintiff was owner of a factory in Ireland, and charged that the defendant published of him and of the said factory a libel, imputing that ‘in some of the Irish factories (meaning thereby the plaintiffs’ factory) cruelties were practised, though there was no allegation otherwise connecting the libel with the plaintiff, was held good.
A and B may join in an action for a libel containing imputations injurious to a trade carried on by them jointly as partners.
Lord Chancellor Cottenham said: ‘if a party can publish a libel so framed as to describe individuals, though not naming them, and not specifically describing them by any express form of words, but still so describing them that it is known who they are, as the jurors have found it to be here, and if those who must be acquainted with the circumstances connected with the party described may also come to the same conclusion, and may have no doubt that the writer of the libel intended to mean those individuals, it would be opening a very wide door to defamation, if parties suffering all the inconvenience of being libelled were not permitted to have that protection which the law affords.’

Judges:

Lord Chancellor Cottenham and Lord Campbell

Citations:

[1848] EngR 663, (1848) 1 HLC 637, (1848) 9 ER 910

Links:

Commonlii

Jurisdiction:

England and Wales

Cited by:

CitedKnuppfer v London Express Newspaper Ltd HL 3-Apr-1944
The plaintiff complained that the defendant’s article was defamatory in implying that he was an agent of Hitler. He was representative in Great Britain of a political party of Russian emigres known as Mlado Russ or Young Russia. The total membership . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Defamation

Updated: 18 May 2022; Ref: scu.300213

Anderson v New York Telephone Co: 1974

(New York) The court considered the role of a telephone company in a defamation action and said that ‘the telephone company’s role is merely passive.’ There was no liability for the phone company in having furnished a service to someone who used the connection to play a defamatory recording to all callers.

Citations:

(1974) 35 NY 2d 746, 361 NYS2d 913, 320 NE2d 647

Jurisdiction:

United States

Cited by:

CitedGodfrey v Demon Internet Limited QBD 26-Mar-1999
An Internet Service Provider who was re-distributing Usenet postings it had received, to its users in general, remained a publisher at common law, even though he was not such within the definitions of the Act, and it was therefore liable in . .
CitedBunt v Tilley and others QBD 10-Mar-2006
The claimant sought damages in defamation in respect of statements made on internet bulletin boards. He pursued the operators of the bulletin boards, and the court now considered the liability of the Internet Service Providers whose systems had . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

International, Media, Defamation

Updated: 18 May 2022; Ref: scu.277102

Alexandrovic v Khan: QBD 2008

The public policy priority is that those who have complaints should be free to make them to the police without fear that they will be challenged in later proceedings even if those who are malicious obtain the benefit of such protection, since the primary interest to be protected is the due administration of criminal justice.

Judges:

Pitchford J

Citations:

[2008] EWHC 594 (QB)

Jurisdiction:

England and Wales

Citing:

ApprovedWestcott v Westcott QBD 30-Oct-2007
The claimant said that his daughter in law had defamed him. She answered that the publication was protected by absolute privilege. She had complained to the police that he had hit her and her infant son.
Held: ‘the process of taking a witness . .
CitedBuckley v Dalziel QBD 3-May-2007
There was a heated dispute between neighbours, culminating in some generous or perhaps over-generous pruning by the claimant of the defendant’s trees and shrubs on the boundaries. The defendants reported the matter to the police. Both Mr and Mrs . .

Cited by:

CitedWestcott v Westcott CA 15-Jul-2008
The defendant was the claimant’s daughter in law. In the course of a bitter divorce she made allegations to the police which were investigated but did not lead to a prosecution. The claimant appealed dismissal of his claim for defamation on the . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Defamation

Updated: 18 May 2022; Ref: scu.270828

Marrinan v Vibert: CA 2 Jan 1963

A tortious conspiracy was alleged in the conduct of a civil action. The plaintiff appealed against rejection of his claim.
Held: The appeal failed as an attempt to circumvent the immunity of a wirness in defamation by framing a claim in conspiracy. Sellers LJ considered whether a complaint was privileged: ‘Whatever form of action is sought to be derived from what was said or done in the course of judicial proceedings must suffer the same fate of being barred by the rule which protects witnesses in their evidence given before the court and in the preparation of the evidence which is to be so given.’
Sellers LJ said: ‘It has been sought in this case to draw a difference between the action of libel and slander, the action of defamation, and that which is set up in this case, one of conspiracy. I can see no difference in the principles of the matter at all. Whatever form of action is sought to be derived from what was said or done in the course of judicial proceedings must suffer the same fate of being barred by the rule which protects witnesses in their evidence before the court and in the preparation of the evidence which is to be so given.’

Judges:

Sellers LJ

Citations:

[1963] 1 QB 528

Citing:

Appeal fromMarrinan v Vibert QBD 1963
The plaintiff brought an action claiming damages for conspiracy against two police officers alleging they had conspired together to make false statements defamatory of him as a barrister.
Held: The claim was struck out. Even a conspiracy to . .
ApprovedCabassi v Vila 12-Dec-1940
High Court of Australia – The claim sought to sidestep the rule giving immuity to witnesses before a court by alleging a conspiracy to give false evidence.
Held: Starke J said: ‘But it does not matter whether the action is framed as an action . .

Cited by:

CitedWestcott v Westcott CA 15-Jul-2008
The defendant was the claimant’s daughter in law. In the course of a bitter divorce she made allegations to the police which were investigated but did not lead to a prosecution. The claimant appealed dismissal of his claim for defamation on the . .
CitedSilcott v Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis CA 24-May-1996
The claimant had been convicted of the murder of PC Blakelock. The only substantial evidence was in the form of the notes of interview he said were fabricated by senior officers. His eventual appeal on this basis was not resisted. He now appealed . .
CitedSingh v Moorlands Primary School and Another CA 25-Jul-2013
The claimant was a non-white head teacher, alleging that her school governors and local authority had undermined and had ‘deliberately endorsed a targeted campaign of discrimination, bullying, harassment and victimisation’ against her as an Asian . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Torts – Other, Defamation

Updated: 18 May 2022; Ref: scu.270827

D and L Caterers Ltd v D’Ajou: 1945

Damages in favour of a corporate body in defamation cases are limited to financial damage.

Citations:

[1945] KB 364

Cited by:

CitedAdelson and Another v Associated Newspapers Ltd QBD 19-Dec-2007
Applications were launched with in defamation proceedings to seek to recover damages for parties who had not previously been part of the proceedings.
Held: The amendments were refused. The new claimants were now out of time, and it was clear . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Defamation, Damages

Updated: 17 May 2022; Ref: scu.263552

Joynt v Cycle Trade Publishing Co: 1904

Kennedy J: ‘To sum it up, no doubt very imperfectly, it represents to my mind this – that the comment must be such that a fair mind would use under the circumstances, and it must not misstate facts, because a comment cannot be fair which is built upon facts which are not truly stated, and further, it must not convey imputations of an evil sort, except so far as the facts truly stated warrant the imputation’.

Judges:

Kennedy J

Citations:

[1904] 2KB 292

Citing:

CitedCampbell v Spottiswoode 1863
The plaintiff, a dissenting Protestant minister, sought to advance Christianity in China by promoting a newspaper with letters emphasising its importance. The defendant attacked him in a rival newspaper, saying his motive was not to take the gospel . .

Cited by:

CitedLowe v Associated Newspapers Ltd QBD 28-Feb-2006
The defendant sought to defend the claim for defamation by claiming fair comment. The claimant said that the relevant facts were not known to the defendant at the time of the publication.
Held: To claim facts in aid of a defence of fair . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Defamation

Updated: 17 May 2022; Ref: scu.240316

S and M v United Kingdom: ECHR 1993

The defendants to an action in defamation by McDonalds, who were acting in person, sought to make a complaint to the Strasbourg Court that the proceedings infringed their Article 10 rights of freedom of expression. One ground was that the law of the United Kingdom did not place ‘restrictions on damages’ which might be awarded.
Held: The complaint was ‘manifestly ill-founded’: ‘ . . the freedom conferred by Article 10 of the Convention is not of an absolute, unfettered nature. It does not authorise the publication of defamatory material. On the contrary, the second paragraph of Article 10 offers specific protection for the ‘reputation or rights of others’. McDonalds are, therefore, entitled to seek the determination of their civil rights to a good reputation and, if successful, the protection of that reputation against an alleged libel. Similarly the applicants are entitled to defend themselves against McDonald’s writ in the determination of their civil right to free speech and fair comment in matters of public interest. . . . The Commission does not find that the matters which may involve the responsibility of the respondent Government under the Convention, namely a lack of legal aid, simplified procedures or restrictions on damages, essentially interfere with the applicants’ freedom of expression. They have published their views, upon which there was no prior restraint, and, if those views are subsequently found to be libellous, any ensuing sanctions would in principle be justified for the protection of the reputation and rights, within the meaning of Article 10(2) of the Convention.’

Citations:

(1993) 18 EHRR CD 172

Jurisdiction:

Human Rights

Cited by:

CitedJameel and Another v Wall Street Journal Europe Sprl (No 2) CA 3-Feb-2005
The claimant sought damages for an article published by the defendant, who argued that as a corporation, the claimant corporation needed to show special damage, and also that the publication had qualified privilege.
Held: ‘It is an established . .
CitedJameel v Wall Street Journal Europe Sprl HL 11-Oct-2006
The House was asked as to the capacity of a limited company to sue for damage to its reputation, where it had no trading activity within the jurisdiction, and as to the extent of the Reynolds defence. The defendants/appellants had published an . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Human Rights, Defamation

Updated: 16 May 2022; Ref: scu.223402

Herbage v Times Newspapers Ltd: CA 30 Apr 1981

The principles in American Cyanamid did not affect the rule in Bonnard v Perryman. Sir Denys Buckley saiod: ‘the question what meaning the words complained of bore was primarily one for the jury. Suppose the words bore the second meaning alleged and an injunction were granted restraining further publication, if application were made to commit the defendants for contempt of court for breach of that injunction, the judge hearing the application would have to form a view as to whether there had been a breach of the injunction and decide whether the words used implied that Mr Herbage had been made bankrupt and discharged without paying his debts in full. It could not be right in a defamation action to grant an action of that kind. There were special circumstances in defamation actions.’

Judges:

Lord Denning MR, Sir Denys Buckley

Citations:

Times 30-Apr-1981

Jurisdiction:

England and Wales

Citing:

CitedBonnard v Perryman CA 2-Jan-1891
Although the courts possessed a jurisdiction, ‘in all but exceptional cases’, they should not issue an interlocutory injunction to restrain the publication of a libel which the defence sought to justify except where it was clear that that defence . .
CitedAmerican Cyanamid Co v Ethicon Ltd HL 5-Feb-1975
Interim Injunctions in Patents Cases
The plaintiffs brought proceedings for infringement of their patent. The proceedings were defended. The plaintiffs obtained an interim injunction to prevent the defendants infringing their patent, but they now appealed its discharge by the Court of . .

Cited by:

CitedGreene v Associated Newspapers Ltd CA 5-Nov-2004
The claimant appealed against refusal of an order restraining publication by the respondent of an article about her. She said that it was based upon an email falsely attributed to her.
Held: ‘in an action for defamation a court will not impose . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Defamation

Updated: 16 May 2022; Ref: scu.219255

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 characteristics of such complication and subtlety that I wonder whether a jury on retiring can readily distinguish their heads from their heels.’

Judges:

Sellers, Davies and Russell L.JJ

Citations:

[1965] 1 WLR 805

Citing:

AppliedRookes v Barnard (No 1) HL 21-Jan-1964
The court set down the conditions for the award of exemplary damages. There are two categories. The first is where there has been oppressive or arbitrary conduct by a defendant. Cases in the second category are those in which the defendant’s conduct . .

Cited by:

CitedAlexander 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 . .
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. . .
CitedTelnikoff 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 . .
CitedBray v Deutsche Bank Ag QBD 12-Jun-2008
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, . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Defamation, Damages, Company

Updated: 16 May 2022; Ref: scu.194318

Williams v Reason: 1988

An allegation that the plaintiff had broken the code of Rugby Union in writing a book for money was held reasonably capable of bearing the wider meaning of a charge of ‘shamateurism’ and hence evidence that the plaintiff had taken ‘boot money’ could be adduced by way of justification.

Citations:

[1988] 1 WLR 96

Jurisdiction:

England and Wales

Cited by:

CitedLoveless v Earl; Capital and Counties (Financial Services) Limited CA 4-Nov-1998
When a defendant claimed qualified privilege and the Plaintiff alleged that the words complained of were issued with malice, the defendant will not prevented from reliance on qualified privilege if it can show that the words have an honestly . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Defamation

Updated: 16 May 2022; Ref: scu.194333

X Ltd and Y Ltd v United Kingdom: ECHR 1982

The Commission considered the common law offence of blasphemous libel as an offence defined under common law rather than statute law.
Held: ‘The Commission considers that the same principles also apply to the interpretation and application of the common law. Whilst this branch of the law presents certain particularities for the very reason that it is by definition law developed by the courts, it is nevertheless subject to the rule that the law making function of the courts must remain within reasonable limits. In particular in the area of the criminal law it is excluded, by virtue of Article 7(1) of the Convention, that any acts not previously punishable should be held by the courts to entail criminal liability, or that existing offences should be extended to cover facts which previously clearly did not constitute a criminal offence. This implies that constituent elements of an offence such as e.g. the particular form of culpability required for its completion may not be essentially changed, at least not to the detriment of the accused, by the case law of the courts. On the other hand it is not objectionable that the existing elements of the offence are clarified and adapted to new circumstances which can reasonably be brought under the original concept of the offence.’

Citations:

(1982) 28 DR 77

Cited by:

CitedGoldstein, Rimmington v Regina CACD 28-Nov-2003
Two defendants appealed in respect of alleged offences under common law of causing a public nuisance. One had sent race hatred material, and the other bomb hoaxes, through the post. Both claimed that the offence was so ill defined as to be an . .
CitedRegina v Rimmington; Regina v Goldstein HL 21-Jul-2005
Common Law – Public Nuisance – Extent
The House considered the elements of the common law offence of public nuisance. One defendant faced accusations of having sent racially offensive materials to individuals. The second was accused of sending an envelope including salt to a friend as a . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Human Rights, Defamation

Updated: 16 May 2022; Ref: scu.188886

Houston v Smith: CA 16 Dec 1993

Doctors operated within the same building. The defendant falsely accused the plaintiff of harassing her and her staff, groping them and fondling them sexually. The allegation was made in the hearing of several of the plaintiff’s patients in the doctors’ joint waiting room. The defendant denied having suggested impropriety with her staff but sought to justify her allegation of personal harassment, alleging that the plaintiff had brushed up against her deliberately. The allegation of sexual harassment was plainly a matter of the utmost gravity for a general practitioner, there were aggravating features and there had been no apology. The publication, however, had been only to a very small number of people. The Court of Appeal reduced the jury’s award of andpound;150,000 to andpound;50,000. If a prompt apology had been published the appropriate award would have been a very small fraction that sum.

Judges:

Hirst LJ

Citations:

Unreported, 16 December 1993

Jurisdiction:

England and Wales

Cited by:

CitedKiam v MGN Ltd CA 28-Jan-2002
Where a court regards a jury award in a defamation case as excessive, a ‘proper’ award can be substituted for it is not whatever sum court thinks appropriate, wholly uninfluenced by jury’s view, but the highest award which a jury could reasonably . .
CitedNail and Another v News Group Newspapers Ltd and others CA 20-Dec-2004
The claimant appealed the award of damages in his claim for defamation. The defendants had variously issued apologies. The claimant had not complained initially as to one publication.
Held: In defamation proceedings the damage to feelings is . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Defamation, Damages

Updated: 16 May 2022; Ref: scu.184742

Rothermere v Times Newspapers Ltd: CA 1973

The court considered whether to order a defamation trial to be heard by judge alone, rather than before a jury.
Held: The criterion that the trial requires a prolonged examination of documents is basic and must be strictly satisfied, and it is not enough merely to show that the trial will be long and complicated.
Lord Denning MR said: ‘Looking back on our history, I hold that, if a newspaper has criticised in its columns the great and the powerful on a matter of large public interest — and is then charged with libel — then its guilt or innocence should be tried with a jury, if the newspaper asks for it, even though it requires the prolonged examination of documents.’ and ‘the right given by our constitution to a Defendant who is charged with libel, either in criminal or civil proceedings. Every Defendant has a constitutional right to have his guilt or innocence determined by a jury. This right is of the highest importance, especially when the Defendant has ventured to criticise the government of the day, or those who hold authority or power in the state’.

Judges:

Lord Denning MR

Citations:

[1973] 1 WLR 448

Statutes:

Administration of Justice (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1933

Cited by:

CitedRight Hon Aitken MP and Preston; Pallister and Guardian Newspapers Ltd CA 15-May-1997
The defendants appealed against an order that a defamation trial should proced before a judge alone.
Held: ‘Where the parties, or one of them, is a public figure, or there are matters of national interest in question, this would suggest the . .
CitedJoyce v Sengupta and Another CA 31-Jul-1992
The defendant published an article accusing the plaintiff of theft. Not having funds to launch a claim in libel, the plaintiff obtained legal aid to claim in malicious falsehood. She now appealed against a strike out of that claim.
Held: A . .
CitedCook v Telegraph Media Group Ltd QBD 29-Mar-2011
The claimant, an MP, complained in defamation of the defendant’s description of his rejected expenses claim regarding an assistant’s charitable donation. The paper pleaded a Reynolds defence. The claimant said that when published the defendant knew . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Defamation, Litigation Practice, Constitutional

Updated: 16 May 2022; Ref: scu.184760

McCarey v Associated Newspapers Ltd (No 2): CA 1965

References to damages awards in personal injury actions were legitimate in directing a defamation jury on quantum.

Judges:

Pearson, Willmer and Diplock LJJ

Citations:

[1965] 2 QB 86

Jurisdiction:

England and Wales

Citing:

AppliedRookes v Barnard (No 1) HL 21-Jan-1964
The court set down the conditions for the award of exemplary damages. There are two categories. The first is where there has been oppressive or arbitrary conduct by a defendant. Cases in the second category are those in which the defendant’s conduct . .

Cited by:

DisapprovedRantzen 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 . .
DisapprovedJohn 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 . .
CitedGleaner Company Ltd and Another v Abrahams PC 14-Jul-2003
Punitive Defamation Damages Order Sustained
(Jamaica) The appellants challenged a substantial award of damages for defamation. They had wrongfully accused a government minister of corruption. There was evidence of substantial financial loss. ‘For nearly sixteen years the defendants, with all . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Damages, Defamation

Updated: 16 May 2022; Ref: scu.184739

Bradford Savings and Loan Ltd and Another v Barclays Bank Plc: ComC 30 Mar 1994

cw Banking – breach of contract to make loan – refusal to advance money within the terms of the facility contract – obligation not terminated – remoteness, mitigation and quantum of damages – Banking – returned cheques as defamatory statements

Judges:

HHJ Kershaw

Citations:

Unreported 30 March 1994

Jurisdiction:

England and Wales

Banking, Defamation

Updated: 16 May 2022; Ref: scu.182566

Spill v Maule: CEC 1869

Complaint was made about the defamatory contents of a letter written on an occasion of privilege. It was said that the privilege was defeated by malice.
Held: The court could look to the surrounding circumstances to assess whether the language of the letter was so much too violent as to allow an inference of malice and to defeat the privilege. Extravagant language can be evidence of an intention to injure the plaintiff.

Citations:

38 LJEx 138, (1869) LR 4 Exch 232, 20 LT 675, 17 WR 805

Cited by:

ApprovedAlfred Nelson Laughton v The Hon And Right Reverend The Lord Bishop of Sodor And Man PC 15-Nov-1872
LaughtonSodor1872
(Isle of Man) The Bishop of Sodor and Man, in a charge to his Clergy in Convocation, commented on a speech made by a Barrister in his character of an Advocate instructed to oppose a Bill before the House of Keys, promoted by the Government, vesting . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Defamation

Updated: 15 May 2022; Ref: scu.549441

Cowley v Pulsifer: 1884

(United States – Supreme Court of Massachusetts) The court discussed the advantage nevertheless of having proceedings in public. Holmes J said: ‘The general advantage to the country in having these proceedings made public more than counterbalances the inconveniences to the private persons whose conduct may be the subject of such proceedings.
. . The chief advantage to the country to which we can discern, and that which we understand to be intended by the foregoing passage, is the security which publicity gives for the proper administration of justice.
. . It is desirable that the trial of causes should take place under the public eye, not because the controversies of one citizen with another are of public concern, but because it is of the highest moment that those who administer justice should act under the sense of public responsibility, and that every citizen should be able to satisfy himself with his own eyes as to the mode in which a public duty is performed.’
and ‘If these [the principles of open justice] are not the only grounds upon which fair reports of judicial proceedings are privileged, all will agree that they are not the least important ones. And it is clear that they have no application whatever to the contents of a preliminary written statement of a claim or charge. These do not constitute a proceeding in open court. Knowledge of them throws no light upon the administration of justice. Both form and contents depend wholly on the will of a private individual, who may not be even an officer of the court. It would be carrying privilege farther than we feel prepared to carry it, to say that by the easy means of entitling and filing it in a cause, a sufficient foundation may be laid for scattering any libel broadcast with impunity.’
and . . ‘It may be objected that our reasoning tacitly assumes that papers properly filed in the clerk’s office are not open to the inspection of the public. We do not admit that this is true, or that the reasons for the privilege accorded to the publication of proceedings in open court would apply to the publication of such papers, even if all the world had access to them. But we do not pause to discuss the question, because we are of opinion that such papers are not open to public inspection.’

Judges:

Holmes J

Citations:

(1884) 137 Mass 392

Cited by:

CitedFlood v Times Newspapers Ltd SC 21-Mar-2012
The defendant had published an article which was defamatory of the claimant police officer, saying that he was under investigation for alleged corruption. The inquiry later cleared him. The court was now asked whether the paper had Reynolds type . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

International, Defamation

Updated: 15 May 2022; Ref: scu.452427

Vaidya v General Medical Council: QBD 2010

Sir Charles Gray said: ‘It appears to me to be clear beyond argument that this letter is protected by absolute privilege since it was written to an official of an investigatory body (the GMC) in order to complain about the conduct of Dr Vaidya.’

Judges:

Sir Charles Gray

Citations:

[2010] EWHC 984 (QB)

Citing:

See alsoVaidya v General Medical Council Admn 18-Sep-2008
The claimant sought, and was refused, permission to pursue judicial review of the defendant’s disciplinary proceedings against him. . .
CitedWestcott v Westcott QBD 30-Oct-2007
The claimant said that his daughter in law had defamed him. She answered that the publication was protected by absolute privilege. She had complained to the police that he had hit her and her infant son.
Held: ‘the process of taking a witness . .

Cited by:

See AlsoVaidya v General Medical Council QBD 16-Nov-2010
Adjourned application to set aside a general civil restraint order. One issue was as to a claim brought upon a letter to the GMC. The judge said: ‘It appears to me to be clear beyond argument that this letter is protected by absolute privilege since . .
CitedWhite v Southampton University Hospitals NHS Trust and Another QBD 1-Apr-2011
The claimant doctor sued in defamation for letters written by the defendants to the Fitness to Practice Directorate. She now sought to appeal against a finding that she could not rely upon one letter which had come to her attention through . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Defamation

Updated: 15 May 2022; Ref: scu.431720

Aga Khan v Times Publishing Co: CA 1924

Judges:

Bankes and Scrutton LJJ

Citations:

[1924] 1 KB 675

Cited by:

PuzzlingSpiller and Another v Joseph and Others SC 1-Dec-2010
The defendants had published remarks on its website about the reliability of the claimant. When sued in defamation, they pleaded fair comment, but that was rejected by the Court of Appeal.
Held: The defendants’ appeal succeeded, and the fair . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Defamation

Updated: 15 May 2022; Ref: scu.427743

Myroft v Sleight: 1921

The plaintiff, a trawler skipper sailing out of Grimsby, was a member of the Grimsby Fishermens’ Trades Union. A committee member was the defendant. The plaintiff was among those voting for a strike, and an unofficial strike was called. The defendant was said to have visited the owner’s offices asking for a ship to go to sea and to break the strike.
Held: The words were defamatory. McCardie J said: ‘It seems curious at first sight that the plaintiff should assert the words to be defamatory. He was a free citizen. He was entitled to earn his living and to pursue his calling as a skipper. All that the defendant had alleged was that the plaintiff had been to the docks (which were a perfectly lawful thing to do) and had asked for a ship . . Yet I conceive that an ordinary member of a trade union may claim that the duty of honesty and loyalty rests upon him . . I imagine that it would not be defamatory merely to say of an ordinary trade unionist that he had left his union or that he had openly acted against the wishes of his union. It should not be held defamatory to charge a man with independence of thought or courage of opinion or speech . . But a charge of trickery or of underhand disloyalty or of hypocrisy is a very different matter . . Hence I find that the words here spoken by the defendant were upon the circumstances of this case defamatory. They were spoken of a man who had voted for the strike and supported the strike . . The slander was regarded by all who heard it as an imputation on the plaintiff’s honour as a straightforward man’
and ‘A person is defamed . . when words have been spoken or written which injure or tend to injure that person’s reputation or to bring him into odium, ridicule, or contempt . . But . . in what minds is it that the reputation must have been diminished? To what persons is it that the plaintiff must have been brought into odium, ridicule or contempt?’
After citing Clay v Roberts and other cases, he continued: ‘These cases seem to show that the words complained of must be such as would injure the plaintiff’s reputation in the minds of ordinary, just and reasonable citizens’.

Judges:

McCardie J

Citations:

(1921) 90 LJKB 883

Cited by:

CitedThornton v Telegraph Media Group Ltd QBD 16-Jun-2010
The claimant said that a review of her book was defamatory and a malicious falsehood. The defendant now sought summary judgment or a ruling as to the meaning of the words complained of.
Held: The application for summary judgment succeeded. The . .
CitedModi and Another v Clarke CA 29-Jul-2011
The claimants, organisers of the Indian Premier cricket League, met with organisations in England seeking to establish a similar league in the Northern Hemisphere. A copy of a note came to the defendant, chairman of the England and Wales Cricket . .
CitedRufus v Elliott QBD 1-Nov-2013
The parties were former footballers involved in charitable works. The claimant said that an allegation by the defendant that he the claimant had released for publication a text message in which the the defendant was said to have used extremely . .
CitedElliott v Rufus CA 20-Feb-2015
The parties were former footballers and business partners they fell out and the defendant was said to have sent and extremely offensive text message. After a copy was published, the defendant published a press release which the claimant now said was . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Defamation

Updated: 15 May 2022; Ref: scu.416809

Hoeppner v Dunkirk Printing: 1929

It was held to be defamatory to impute incompetence to a football coach: ‘While the articles complained of fail to charge the plaintiff with the commission of any crime, or to attack his moral character, the fair inference to be drawn from the language used is that the plaintiff is an inefficient coach, and has failed to properly instruct the team in modern play and in the technique of the game, so that they could successfully meet and compete with other teams in their class . . The law recognises one’s right to live and that the majority of people are compelled to earn a living.’

Citations:

227 NYAD 130 (1929)

Cited by:

CitedDee v Telegraph Media Group Ltd QBD 28-Apr-2010
The newspaper sought summary judgment in its defence of the defamation claim. The article labelled the claimant as the world’s worst professional tennis player. The paper said he had no prospect of succeeding once the second article in the same . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

International, Defamation

Updated: 15 May 2022; Ref: scu.408775

O’Brien v Marquis of Salisbury: QBD 1889

The court considered the jury’s verdict as to the meaning of the words complained of. Field J said: ‘If, therefore, as I think, the jury had only relevant evidence submitted to them and were properly directed as to the use they were to make of it, the only remaining question is whether the verdict ought to be set aside as being unreasonable. The limits within which this jurisdiction of the court ought to be exercised in an action like this are thus laid down by Chief Justice Tindal in Broome v Gosden (1 CB 731): – ‘unless the jury are manifestly wrong in not finding the alleged libel to bear the meaning that the plaintiff has thought fit to put upon it by the innuendo (or now any defamatory meaning), and unless the court can say with certainty that there has been a miscarriage of justice, no new trial will be granted.’ In other words the jury are the appointed tribunal for the decision of the question of libel or no libel, and the court ought not to invade their province unless it can be plainly seen that the verdict is perverse or so unreasonable as to lead to the conclusion that the jury have not honestly taken the facts into their consideration.’

Judges:

Field J

Citations:

(1889) 6 TLR 137, (1889) 54 JP 215

Jurisdiction:

England and Wales

Cited by:

CitedGrobbelaar v News Group Newspapers Ltd and Another HL 24-Oct-2002
The claimant appealed against a decision of the Court of Appeal quashing the judgement in his favour for damages for defamation.
Held: The Court of Appeal was not able to quash a jury verdict as perverse, and the appeal succeeded. An appellate . .
CitedGrobbelaar v News Group Newspapers Ltd and Another CA 18-Jan-2001
The claimant had been awarded andpound;85,000 damages in defamation after the defendant had wrongly accused him of cheating at football. The newspaper sought to appeal saying that the verdict was perverse and the defence of qualified privilege . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Defamation

Updated: 15 May 2022; Ref: scu.272785

Shufflebottom v Allday: 1857

The defendant had been robbed. He described the robber to a constable who arrested the plaintiff. Seeing him in custody, the defendant said: ‘That is the man’. After having been remanded in custody for two days, the plaintiff was then acquitted because the defendant failed to appear at his trial. The defendant procured a new warrant for the apprehension of the plaintiff on the same charge. The plaintiff was brought before the magistrates but the defendant again failed to appear and the plaintiff was again discharged. The defendant issued yet a third warrant for the plaintiff’s arrest, but the agreed not to proceed. The plaintiff brought an action for false imprisonment, slander and malicious prosecution. His action succeeded at the trial, the trial judge holding that what the defendant said to the constable was not privileged. The defendant appealed.
Held: The occasion was privileged.
Pollock CB thought the verdict on the second count (slander) should be entered for the defendant, saying: ‘This case differs entirely from that which was cited, Toogood v Spyring, where the person to whom the defendant stated he had been robbed by the plaintiff was a perfect stranger to the transaction, and there was no duty or authority for communicating the party’s suspicions to him. The defendant having been robbed, had a perfect right to say, acting on his belief, that the person in custody was the man. If he had sought to load him with obloquy, as for example, if he had said that he had been robbed by him on other occasions, that would have been merely gratuitous, and no privilege would have applied to it.’
Martin B thought the occasion was privileged: ‘The statement was made to an officer of the law, and was one the defendant was entitled to make. In Toogood v Spyring Park, B., said that ‘If fairly warranted by any reasonable occasion or exigency and honestly made, such communications are protected for the common convenience and welfare of society; and the law has not restricted the right to make them within narrow limits.’

Judges:

Pollock CB, Martin B

Citations:

(1857) 5 WR 315

Cited by:

CitedWestcott v Westcott CA 15-Jul-2008
The defendant was the claimant’s daughter in law. In the course of a bitter divorce she made allegations to the police which were investigated but did not lead to a prosecution. The claimant appealed dismissal of his claim for defamation on the . .
CitedHasselblad (GB) Ltd v Orbison CA 1985
In the course of proceedings brought by the European Commission against Hasselblad, Mr Orbison wrote a letter to the Commission upon which the appellant then sued for damages for libel. The court considered the dangers of national and European . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Defamation

Updated: 15 May 2022; Ref: scu.270826

Chakravarti v Advertiser Newspapers: 1998

(High Court of Australia ) Kirby J discussed the availability of fair comment as a defece to defamation and said that: ‘Excessive commentary or misleading headlines which amount to commentary run the risk of depriving the text of the quality of fairness essential to attract the privilege.’

Judges:

Kirby J

Citations:

(1998) 193 CLR 519

Cited by:

CitedCuristan v Times Newspapers Ltd CA 30-Apr-2008
The court considered the availability of qualified privilege for reporting of statements made in parliament and the actionable meaning of the article, which comprised in part those statements and in part other factual material representing the . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Commonwealth, Defamation

Updated: 15 May 2022; Ref: scu.270511

Cookson v Harewood: CA 1932

In defamation, a defendant cannot escape liabiity by saying that he is only repeating the words of others. Greer LJ said: ‘If you repeat a rumour, you cannot say it is true by proving that the rumour in fact existed; you have to prove that the subject matter of the rumour is true.’

Judges:

Greer LJ

Citations:

[1932] 2 KB 478

Jurisdiction:

England and Wales

Citing:

ApprovedWatkin v Hall 1868
The plaintiff was chairman of a railway company. He claimed in defamation after the defendant said there was a rumour of his having failed, thus explaining the fall in the company’s share value.
Held: It was no defence to say that it was true . .

Cited by:

CitedCuristan v Times Newspapers Ltd CA 30-Apr-2008
The court considered the availability of qualified privilege for reporting of statements made in parliament and the actionable meaning of the article, which comprised in part those statements and in part other factual material representing the . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Defamation

Updated: 15 May 2022; Ref: scu.270508

Skrine and Co (a Firm) and others v Euromoney Publications plc and others: QBD 10 Nov 2000

The court was asked to strike out parts of a defemation pleading alleging that (i) the Malaysian Prime Minister had acted in a manner intended and/or calculated to interfere with the independent judiciary; (ii) Malaysian judges applied the law of defamation to penalise dissent and stifle freedom of expression; and (iii) the claimants’ insurers only paid the original plaintiffs ‘exorbitant sums by way of ostensible damages and costs because they apprehended that the claimants would not have received a fair trial at the hands of Malaysia’s internationally discredited legal system.’
Held: An English court should not be asked to judge the propriety of the actions of the judiciary of a friendly foreign state. This would put such friendly relations at risk and an English judge could have no way of making such a judgment. It was not a breach of an applicant’s civil rights to enforce a properly made contribution order made there against a citizen here, since under the Act only an award which was just and equitable in all the circumstances could be made. The defence of fair comment could still be tried fairly.

Judges:

Morland J

Citations:

Times 10-Nov-2000, Gazette 23-Nov-2000, [2001] EMLR 16

Statutes:

Civil Liability (Contributions) Act 1978

Jurisdiction:

England and Wales

Citing:

CitedButtes Oil and Gas Co v Hammer (No 3) HL 1982
The House considered a dispute between two Us oil companies about the right to exploit an oil field in the Gulf. Each claimed to have a concession granted by the ruler of a Gulf state. Each state claimed that the oil field was within its territorial . .

Cited by:

CitedAl-Koronky and Another v Time-Life Entertainment Group Ltd and Another CA 28-Jul-2006
The claimants sought damages after publication of articles alleging severe mistreatment of a servant. One defendant had settled and apologised, but the defendant publisher and author had persisted with the allegation. The claimants who lived in . .
CitedKorea National Insurance Company v Allianz Global Corporate and Specialty Ag ComC 18-Nov-2008
The claimant sought to enforce a judgment for payment of a sum under a policy of insurance. The defendant sought to refuse saying that the policy had been instigated by a fraud perpetrated by the state of North Korea, and or that the judicial system . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

International, Human Rights, Defamation

Updated: 15 May 2022; Ref: scu.89300

Australian Consolidated Press Limited v Uren: PC 24 Jul 1967

The Board declined to interfere with the decision of the High Court of Australia not to review its jurisprudence on exemplary damages: ‘[I]n a sphere of law where its policy calls for decision and where its policy in a particular country is fashioned so largely by judicial opinion it became a question for the High Court to decide whether the decision in Rookes v Barnard compelled a change in what was a well settled judicial approach in the law of libel in Australia. Their Lordships are not prepared to say that the High Court were wrong in being unconvinced that a changed approach in Australia was desirable.’
(Australia)

Judges:

Lord Morris of Borth-y-Gest

Citations:

[1969] 1 AC 590, [1967] UKPC 19, [1967] 3 WLR 1338, [1967] 3 All ER 523

Links:

Bailii

Jurisdiction:

Australia

Citing:

CitedRookes v Barnard (No 1) HL 21-Jan-1964
The court set down the conditions for the award of exemplary damages. There are two categories. The first is where there has been oppressive or arbitrary conduct by a defendant. Cases in the second category are those in which the defendant’s conduct . .
Appeal fromUren v John Fairfax and Sons Pty Ltd 2-Jun-1966
(High Court of Australia) ‘It seems to us that, in a case where there is no qualified privilege to report or repeat the defamatory statements of others, the whole cohesion of the law of defamation would be destroyed, if it were permissible merely to . .
Appeal fromAustralian Consolidated Press Ltd v Uren 2-Jun-1966
(High Court of Australia) . .

Cited by:

CitedGleaner Company Ltd and Another v Abrahams PC 14-Jul-2003
Punitive Defamation Damages Order Sustained
(Jamaica) The appellants challenged a substantial award of damages for defamation. They had wrongfully accused a government minister of corruption. There was evidence of substantial financial loss. ‘For nearly sixteen years the defendants, with all . .
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. . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Damages, Defamation

Updated: 15 May 2022; Ref: scu.445077

Cassell and Co Ltd v Broome and Another: CA 24 Mar 1971

Judges:

Denning MR, Salmon and Phillimore LJJ

Citations:

[1971] 2 QB 354, [1971] 1 All ER 262

Jurisdiction:

England and Wales

Cited by:

CitedBrugger v Medic-Aid Ltd PatC 1996
The defendant had admitted copying B’s drawings and designs for the creation of a nebulizer. To assist its election on damages, B sought preparation of details of the sales including costs and sale prices. When B also sought statutory damages, M . .
Appeal fromCassell 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. . .
See AlsoCassell and Co Ltd v Broome (No 2) HL 24-Feb-1972
Their Lordships varied an order for costs already made by the House in circumstances where the parties had not had a fair opportunity to address argument on the point. As the ultimate court of appeal, the House has power to correct any injustice . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Damages, Defamation

Updated: 15 May 2022; Ref: scu.420017

Chernesky v Armadale Publishers Ltd: 1978

(Supreme Court of Canada) The defendants were the editor and the owner and publisher of a newspaper which had published a letter to the editor in which the writers accused the plaintiff of holding racist views. The writers of the letter did not give evidence, but the defendants in their evidence made it clear that the letter complained of did not represent the honest expression of their own views. The trial judge refused to leave the defence of fair comment to the jury.
Held: (by a majority of six to three) The judge was correct.

Judges:

Lloyd LJ

Citations:

(1978) 90 DLR (3rd) 321

Cited by:

CitedTelnikoff 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 . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Commonwealth, Defamation

Updated: 14 May 2022; Ref: scu.253573

Watt v Longsdon: 1930

Citations:

[1930] 1 KB 130

Cited by:

CitedJameel v Wall Street Journal Europe Sprl HL 11-Oct-2006
The House was asked as to the capacity of a limited company to sue for damage to its reputation, where it had no trading activity within the jurisdiction, and as to the extent of the Reynolds defence. The defendants/appellants had published an . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Defamation

Updated: 14 May 2022; Ref: scu.245339

Watson v Daily Record Ltd: CA 1907

The court considered what was necessary to justify the court taking jursdiction against a non-resident defendant in a defamation action.
Cozens-Hardy LJ said: ‘Now it seems plain that the Court has a discretion, and that a plaintiff cannot acquire a right to serve a defendant out of the jurisdiction by the mere fact that his writ claims an injunction. The Court must at least be satisfied that the claim for an injunction is made in good faith. This was decided by the Divisional Court in De Bernales v. New York Herald, where Lopes LJ. said: ‘I do not believe the claim for an injunction is made bona fide, but merely to bring the case within Order XI. There is no evidence of any apprehended repetition of the libel, and indeed, having regard to the circumstances, it is most improbable that it will be repeated . . The giving leave to serve notice of writs out of the jurisdiction is a matter of judicial discretion.’ It must not be inferred from the language used by Lopes LJ in that case that want of good faith is a complete or exhaustive statement of the grounds for refusing to order service out of the jurisdiction. If the Court is satisfied that, even assuming the plaintiff to have a good cause of action, there is no reasonable probability that he will obtain an injunction, the Court ought not to consider the insertion of a claim for an injunction as sufficient to justify service on a person resident out of the jurisdiction. The Court is bound to consider all the circumstances disclosed by the affidavits, and to take care that a Scotchman, or it may be a foreigner, is not improperly made amenable to the orders of an English tribunal.’

Judges:

Cozens-Hardy LJ

Citations:

[1907] 1 KB 853

Cited by:

CitedAshton Investments Ltd. and Another v OJSC Russian Aluminium (Rusal) and others ComC 18-Oct-2006
The claimants sought damages for breach of confidence saying that the defendants had hacked into their computer systems via the internet to seek privileged information in the course of litigation. The defendants denied this and said the courts had . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Defamation, Jurisdiction

Updated: 14 May 2022; Ref: scu.245759

US Tobacco Inc v BBC: 1998

Citations:

[1998] EMLR 816

Cited by:

CitedLowe v Associated Newspapers Ltd QBD 28-Feb-2006
The defendant sought to defend the claim for defamation by claiming fair comment. The claimant said that the relevant facts were not known to the defendant at the time of the publication.
Held: To claim facts in aid of a defence of fair . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Defamation

Updated: 14 May 2022; Ref: scu.240318

Australian Consolidated Press Ltd v Uren: 2 Jun 1966

(High Court of Australia)

Citations:

(1966) 117 CLR 185, [1966] HCA 37

Links:

Austlii

Jurisdiction:

Australia

Citing:

CitedRookes v Barnard (No 1) HL 21-Jan-1964
The court set down the conditions for the award of exemplary damages. There are two categories. The first is where there has been oppressive or arbitrary conduct by a defendant. Cases in the second category are those in which the defendant’s conduct . .

Cited by:

Appeal fromAustralian Consolidated Press Limited v Uren PC 24-Jul-1967
The Board declined to interfere with the decision of the High Court of Australia not to review its jurisprudence on exemplary damages: ‘[I]n a sphere of law where its policy calls for decision and where its policy in a particular country is . .
CitedW v W; J v Raewyn Bell PC 19-Jan-1999
PC (New Zealand) The claimants sught to recover exemplary damages from defendants convicted of criminal offences against them.
Held: There were differences in the system between New Zealand and the English . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Defamation, Damages

Updated: 14 May 2022; Ref: scu.237241

Gollan v Thompson Wyles Company: 1930

Lord President Clyde discussed the order of consideration of the elements of defamation: ‘The question of the admissibility of an innuendo necessarily arises in Scotland at the relevancy stage. If – as here – the statement complained of is not defamatory in its own terms, it is for the pursuer to aver on record what he says it really means, and to set out in his pleadings any circumstances (leading up to or surrounding the utterance of the statement, or affecting the minds of those to whom it was uttered) which may throw light on its true meaning. What then is the test which the Court must apply in determining the admissibility of an innuendo. It is, I think, necessary to look behind the generality of the question – Can the statement bear the meaning which the pursuer puts upon it? – for there is no end to the ambiguity of words, written and spoken, even when construed in the light of the circumstances in which they were used.’ and ‘The test of admissibility is therefore not whether the statement is capable of construction as an attack upon the pursuer’s character, for that leaves the answer open to a wide range of conjecture. It is whether the statement itself, and the circumstances in which it is alleged to have been made, provide grounds for a reasonable inference that an attack upon the pursuer’s character was intended.’

Citations:

1930 SC 599

Cited by:

CitedMccann v Scottish Media Newspapers Ltd SCS 18-Feb-1999
Three articles which appeared in one edition of a newspaper had to be read together and treated as ‘constituting a whole’ for the purposes of determining meaning, where the first ended with a cross-reference to the second, and the second ended with . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Scotland, Defamation

Updated: 14 May 2022; Ref: scu.236349

Waddell v Roxburgh: 1894

The court discussed the meaning of slander: ‘It may be that to confine the use of the word slander to cases where the language complained of is obviously and on the face of it defamatory and injurious would be convenient, but I should rather have thought that all actionable words which are either injurious to the character or the credit of the person of whom they are spoken, or which expose the person with reference to whom they are uttered to public hatred and contempt, are defamatory or slanderous words. … If it is not calculated to expose him to public hatred or contempt, or to do him any injury, – if, when properly construed, it does not assail his character or credit, – then it is not slanderous or actionable at all.’

Judges:

Lord Kinnear

Citations:

(1894) 21 R 883

Jurisdiction:

England and Wales

Cited by:

CitedMccann v Scottish Media Newspapers Ltd SCS 18-Feb-1999
Three articles which appeared in one edition of a newspaper had to be read together and treated as ‘constituting a whole’ for the purposes of determining meaning, where the first ended with a cross-reference to the second, and the second ended with . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Defamation

Updated: 14 May 2022; Ref: scu.236345

Watson v M’Ewan: 1905

Citations:

[1905] AC 480

Cited by:

CitedKelley v Corston CA 20-Aug-1997
The plaintiff employed the defendant barrister to pursue her claim for ancillary relief in divorce. She sought to recover damages for his alleged negligence.
Held: A barrister’s immunity from suit for negligence in advocacy extends to . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Defamation

Updated: 14 May 2022; Ref: scu.235236

South Hetton Coal Company Ltd v North Eastern News Association Limited: CA 1894

The plaintiff company sued for defamation in respect of an article which alleged that it neglected its workforce. The defendants contended that no action for libel would lie on the part of a company unless actual pecuniary damage was proved.
Held: This submission was rejected. Kay LJ said: ‘a trading corporation may sue for a libel calculated to injure them in respect of their business, and may do so without any proof of damage general or special. Of course if there be no such evidence the damages given will probably be small.’ Words may be defamatory of a professional if they impute lack of qualification, knowledge, skill, capacity, judgment or efficiency in the conduct of his trade or business or professional activity.
Lopes LJ said that a company may maintain an action for a libel reflecting on the management of its business without alleging or proving special damage.
Lord Esher MR said that the law of defamation is the same for all plantiffs. While there were obvious differences between individuals and companies: ‘Then, if the case be one of libel – whether on a person, a firm, or a company – the law is that damages are at large. It is not necessary to prove any particular damage; the jury may give such damages as they think fit, having regard to the conduct of the parties respectively, and all the circumstances of the case.’

Judges:

Kay LJ, Lord Esher MR, Lopes LJ

Citations:

[1894] 1 QB 133

Cited by:

CitedJameel and Another v Wall Street Journal Europe Sprl (No 2) CA 3-Feb-2005
The claimant sought damages for an article published by the defendant, who argued that as a corporation, the claimant corporation needed to show special damage, and also that the publication had qualified privilege.
Held: ‘It is an established . .
AppliedDerbyshire County Council v Times Newspapers Ltd and Others QBD 1991
The defendant published articles suggesting links between the Council and certain businessmen. The Council sued in defamation. The defendant argued that a local authority should not be able to sue for defamation.
Held: Applying South Hetton, . .
CitedJameel v Wall Street Journal Europe Sprl HL 11-Oct-2006
The House was asked as to the capacity of a limited company to sue for damage to its reputation, where it had no trading activity within the jurisdiction, and as to the extent of the Reynolds defence. The defendants/appellants had published an . .
ApprovedDerbyshire County Council v Times Newspapers Ltd and Others CA 19-Apr-1992
In two issues of ‘The Sunday Times’ newspaper on 17 and 24 September 1989 there appeared articles concerning share deals involving the superannuation fund of the Derbyshire County Council. The articles in the issue of 17 September were headed . .
CitedDerbyshire County Council v Times Newspapers Ltd and Others HL 18-Feb-1993
Local Council may not Sue in Defamation
Local Authorities must be open to criticism as political and administrative bodies, and so cannot be allowed to sue in defamation. Such a right would operate as ‘a chill factor’ on free speech. Freedom of speech was the underlying value which . .
CitedDrummond-Jackson v British Medical Association CA 1970
The court considered whether an article published in the British Medical Journal was capable of bearing a meaning defamatory of the plaintiff dentist. The article made an attack upon the plaintiff’s technique for anaesthesia.
Held: Words may . .
CitedThornton v Telegraph Media Group Ltd QBD 16-Jun-2010
The claimant said that a review of her book was defamatory and a malicious falsehood. The defendant now sought summary judgment or a ruling as to the meaning of the words complained of.
Held: The application for summary judgment succeeded. The . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Defamation, Damages

Updated: 13 May 2022; Ref: scu.223374

Gutnick v Dow Jones: 28 Aug 2001

(High Court of Victoria) Callinan J said: ‘A publisher, particularly one carrying on the business of publishing, does not act to put matter on the Internet in order for it to reach a small target. It is its ubiquity which is one of the main attractions to users of it. And any person who gains access to the Internet does so by taking an initiative to gain access to it in a manner analogous to the purchase or other acquisition of a newspaper, in order to read it. . . If a publisher publishes in a multiplicity of jurisdictions it should understand, and must accept, that it runs the risk of liability in those jurisdictions in which the publication is not lawful and inflicts damage.’

Judges:

Callinan J

Citations:

[2002] HCA 56, [2001] VSC 305

Links:

Austlii

Citing:

Appealed toGutnick v Dow Jones 10-Dec-2002
(High Court of Australia) The Court rejected a challenge, in the context of Internet libel, to the applicability of such established principles as that vouchsafed in Duke of Brunswick: ‘It was suggested that the World Wide Web was different from . .

Cited by:

Appeal fromGutnick v Dow Jones 10-Dec-2002
(High Court of Australia) The Court rejected a challenge, in the context of Internet libel, to the applicability of such established principles as that vouchsafed in Duke of Brunswick: ‘It was suggested that the World Wide Web was different from . .
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 . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Commonwealth, Defamation

Updated: 13 May 2022; Ref: scu.220027

Brent Walker Group plc v Time Out Limited: CA 1991

The defendant published two articles with comment adverse to W. The plaintiff complained that this associated him and his company with violent organised crime. The defence to the defamation action said the words complained of were fair comment, and derived from the trial of the plaintiff for theft.
Held: To sustain the defence of fair comment by showing that the allegations were based upon unproven statements made in a previously privileged occasion, a defendant publisher had to meet an additional requirement that his report was a fair and accurate of the proceedings. The paragraphs complained of were struck out.
Parker LJ commented on the absurdity of the ‘tangled web of the law of defamation’.
Bingham LJ held that fairness to the subject of a defamatory comment based on a privileged statement required that the commentator should at least base his comment on a fair and accurate account of the occasion on which the statement was made, summarising the law of fair comment: ‘The civil law of libel is primarily concerned to provide redress for those who are the subject of false and defamatory factual publications. Thus in the simplest case A will be entitled to relief against B if B publishes a defamatory factual statement concerning A which B cannot show to be true. The law is not primarily concerned to provide redress for those who are the subject of disparaging expressions of opinion, and freedom of opinion is (subject to necessary restrictions) a basic democratic right. It is, however, plain that certain statements which might on their face appear to be expressions of opinion (as where, for example, a person is described as untrustworthy, unprincipled, lascivious or cruel) contain within themselves defamatory suggestions of a factual nature. Thus the law has developed the rule already mentioned that comment may only be defended as fair if it is comment on facts (meaning true facts) stated or sufficiently indicated. Failing that, the comment itself must be justified.’

Judges:

Parker LJ, Bingham LJ

Citations:

[1991] 2 QB 33, [1991] 2 WLR 772

Cited by:

CitedGeorge Galloway MP v Telegraph Group Ltd QBD 2-Dec-2004
The claimant MP alleged defamation in articles by the defendant newspaper. They claimed to have found papers in Iraqi government offices after the invasion of Iraq which implicated the claimant. The claimant said the allegations were grossly . .
CitedSpiller and Another v Joseph and Others SC 1-Dec-2010
The defendants had published remarks on its website about the reliability of the claimant. When sued in defamation, they pleaded fair comment, but that was rejected by the Court of Appeal.
Held: The defendants’ appeal succeeded, and the fair . .
CitedSpiller and Another v Joseph and Others SC 1-Dec-2010
The defendants had published remarks on its website about the reliability of the claimant. When sued in defamation, they pleaded fair comment, but that was rejected by the Court of Appeal.
Held: The defendants’ appeal succeeded, and the fair . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Defamation

Updated: 13 May 2022; Ref: scu.220017

Cook v Alexander: CA 1974

One may comment upon reports which are themselves the subject of privilege. A report to be fair and accurate must constitute a fair presentation of that which took place on the relevant occasion. It need not be a verbatim report. It can be selective and concentrate on one particular aspect as long as it reports fairly and accurately the impression that the reporter would have received as a reasonable spectator in the proceedings.
Lord Denning MR: ‘He need not report it verbatim word for word or letter for letter and it is sufficient if it is a fair presentation of what took place so as to convey to the reader the impression which the debate itself would have made on a hearer of it. Test it this way: if a member of the house were asked: ‘What happened in the debate ? Tell me about it.’ His answer would be a sketch giving in words the impression it left on him, with more emphasis on one thing and less emphasis on another, just as it stuck in his memory.’

Judges:

Lord Denning MR

Citations:

[1974] QB 279

Jurisdiction:

England and Wales

Cited by:

CitedGeorge Galloway MP v Telegraph Group Ltd QBD 2-Dec-2004
The claimant MP alleged defamation in articles by the defendant newspaper. They claimed to have found papers in Iraqi government offices after the invasion of Iraq which implicated the claimant. The claimant said the allegations were grossly . .
CitedCuristan v Times Newspapers Ltd CA 30-Apr-2008
The court considered the availability of qualified privilege for reporting of statements made in parliament and the actionable meaning of the article, which comprised in part those statements and in part other factual material representing the . .
CitedNT 1 and NT 2 v Google Llc QBD 13-Apr-2018
Right to be Forgotten is not absolute
The two claimants separately had criminal convictions from years before. They objected to the defendant indexing third party web pages which included personal data in the form of information about those convictions, which were now spent. The claims . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Defamation

Updated: 13 May 2022; Ref: scu.220013

Gibbons v Duffell: 1932

(High Court of Australia) A defamation case arose out of the report by a police inspector to his superior about a fellow officer.
Held: The report was not the subject of absolute immunity: ‘How far absolute privilege extends in naval and military matters is by no means settled. To transfer it by analogy to the Police Officers who are parties to this action, so as to protect the defamatory statements declared upon involves a double extension of the decided cases. The truth is that an indefeasible immunity for defamation is given only where upon clear grounds of public policy a remedy must be denied to private injury because complete freedom from suit appears indispensable to the effective performance of judicial, legislative or official functions. The presumption is against such a privilege and its extension is not favoured (Royal Aquarium and Summer and Winter Garden Society Ltd v Parkinson). Its application should end where its necessity ceases to be evident.’

Judges:

Gavan Duffy CJ, Rich and Dixon JJ

Citations:

(1932) 47 CLR 520

Jurisdiction:

Australia

Citing:

CitedRoyal Aquarium and Summer and Winter Garden Society Ltd v Parkinson CA 1892
The court described the characteristics of a tribunal to which absolute privilege attaches. Having spoken of ‘an authorised inquiry which, though not before a court of justice, is before a tribunal which has similar attributes’ and similar . .

Cited by:

CitedHeath v Commissioner of Police for the Metropolis CA 20-Jul-2004
The female civilian officer alleged sex discrimination against her by a police officer. Her complaint was heard at an internal disciplinary. She alleged sexual harrassment, and was further humiliated by the all male board’s treatment of her . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Defamation

Updated: 13 May 2022; Ref: scu.199768

Sergi v Australian Broadcasting Commission: 20 Dec 1989

(New South Wales)

Citations:

[1989] NSWCA 184, [1983] 2 NSWLR 418, [1983] 2 NSWLR 669

Links:

NSW

Cited by:

CitedJameel and Another v Times Newspapers Limited CA 21-Jul-2004
The defendant had published a newspaper article linking the claimant to terrorist activity. The defendants argued that no full accusation was made, but only that the claimant was under investigation for such behaviour, and that the article had . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Defamation, Commonwealth

Updated: 13 May 2022; Ref: scu.199361

Service Corporation International plc v Channel Four Television: ChD 1999

The court considered an application for an interlocutory injunction to restrain a broadcast, based on copyright. The defendant argued that this was merely an attempt to circumvent difficulties in a defamation action.
Held: Where an interim injunction in defamation would have been refused under the rule in Bonnard, it would be right to refuse such an injunction for parallel jurisdictions (in this case trespass and breach of copyright).
Lightman J said: ‘The plaintiffs claim that they are entitled to this relief on three grounds and I must consider each in turn. But before I do so I should consider the cause of action which is now disclaimed, and which was the initial basis of complaint, namely defamation. The reason that defamation is not and cannot be invoked is because no interlocutory injunction could be granted on this ground in view of the defendants’ plain and obvious intention to plead to any such claim the defence of justification. The invocation of other causes of action is necessary if there is to be any arguable claim to an interlocutory injunction. The rule prohibiting the grant of an injunction where the claim is in defamation does not extend to claims based on other causes of action despite the fact that a claim in defamation might also have been brought, but if the claim based on some other cause of action is in reality a claim brought to protect the plaintiffs’ reputation and the reliance on the other cause of action is merely a device to circumvent the rule, the overriding need to protect freedom of speech requires that the same rule be applied: : see Microdata v Rivendale [1992] FSR 681 and Gulf Oil v Page [1987] 1 Ch 327 at 334.
I have great difficulty in seeing the three alternative claims made in this case as other than attempts to circumvent the rule and to seek protection for the plaintiffs’ reputation.’

Judges:

Lightman J

Citations:

[1999] EMLR 83

Jurisdiction:

England and Wales

Citing:

CitedBonnard v Perryman CA 2-Jan-1891
Although the courts possessed a jurisdiction, ‘in all but exceptional cases’, they should not issue an interlocutory injunction to restrain the publication of a libel which the defence sought to justify except where it was clear that that defence . .
CitedMicrodata v Rivendale 1991
The need to protect freedom of speech overrode the need to protect a person’s trade reputation. . .
CitedGulf Oil (Great Britain) Limited v Page CA 1987
The plaintiff had contracted exclusively to supply to the defendants owners of petrol stations. On arrears arising, the plaintiff discontinued deliveries save on cash on delivery and direct debit terms. The defendants obtained supplies from another . .

Cited by:

CitedTillery Valley Foods v Channel Four Television, Shine Limited ChD 18-May-2004
The claimant sought an injunction to restrain the defendants broadcasting a film, claiming that it contained confidential material. A journalist working undercover sought to reveal what he said were unhealthy practices in the claimant’s meat . .
CitedBoehringer Ingelheim Ltd and others v Vetplus Ltd CA 20-Jun-2007
The claimants appealed refusal of an order restricting comparative advertising materials for the defendant’s competing veterinary medicine. The claimant said that the rule against prior restraint applicable to defamation and other tort proceedings . .
CitedRST v UVW QBD 11-Sep-2009
The applicant sought an interim and without notice injunction preventing the defendant from disclosing confidential information covered by an agreement between the parties.
Held: The order was made on a without notice application because there . .
CitedHeythrop Zoological Gardens Ltd (T/A Amazing Animals) and Another v Captive Animals Protection Society ChD 20-May-2016
The claimant said that the defendant had, through its members visiting their premises, breached the licence under which they entered, by taking photographs and distributing them on the internet, and in so doing also infringing the performance rights . .
CitedNT 1 and NT 2 v Google Llc QBD 13-Apr-2018
Right to be Forgotten is not absolute
The two claimants separately had criminal convictions from years before. They objected to the defendant indexing third party web pages which included personal data in the form of information about those convictions, which were now spent. The claims . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Media, Litigation Practice, Defamation

Updated: 13 May 2022; Ref: scu.197007

Day v Bream: 1837

A printed handbill, contained imputations on the plaintiff clearly libellous. The plaintiff lived at Marlborough; the defendant was the porter of the coach-office at that place, and it was his business to carry out and deliver the parcels that came by the different coaches to the office. For the plaintiff it was shewn that the defendant had delivered on the same day papers parcels, tied up, and containing a large quantity of the handbills in question, to two or three inhabitants of the place, to whom the parcels were directed. The court ‘in summing up, left it to the jury to say whether the defendant delivered the parcels in the course of his business without any knowledge of their contents; if so, find for him, observing, that prima facie he was answerable, inasmuch as he had in fact delivered and put into publication the libel complained of, and was therefore called upon to shew his ignorance of the contents.’

Judges:

Patteson J

Citations:

(1837) 2 Moody and Robinson 54

Jurisdiction:

England and Wales

Cited by:

AppliedPullman v Hill and Co CA 1891
The plaintiff claimed publication of a defamation when the defendant was said to have dictated it to his typist.
Held: That was sufficient publication. The Court considered what would amount to publication in the law of defamation.
Lord . .
CitedGodfrey v Demon Internet Limited QBD 26-Mar-1999
An Internet Service Provider who was re-distributing Usenet postings it had received, to its users in general, remained a publisher at common law, even though he was not such within the definitions of the Act, and it was therefore liable in . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Defamation

Updated: 13 May 2022; Ref: scu.194305

Hird v Wood: CA 1894

A defamatory placard was placed at the side of the road. The defendant sat by it, pointing it out to passers by, but there was no direct evidence as to who had placed the placard there.
Held: This was evidence of his publishing it.

Citations:

(1894) 38 SJ 234

Jurisdiction:

England and Wales

Cited by:

CitedIslam Expo Ltd v The Spectator (1828) Ltd and Another QBD 30-Jul-2010
The claimant sought damages in defamation against the defendant in respect of its web-site. It said that the use of hyperlinks to third party sites was sufficient to identify the claimant and associate it with the allegations made.
Held: The . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Defamation

Updated: 13 May 2022; Ref: scu.194304

Sun Life Assurance -v W H Smith: 1934

The defendant displayed newspaper posters announcing ‘More grave Sun Life of Canada Disclosures’ Their liability in defamation was considered.

Citations:

(1934) 150 LT 211

Cited by:

CitedGodfrey v Demon Internet Limited QBD 26-Mar-1999
An Internet Service Provider who was re-distributing Usenet postings it had received, to its users in general, remained a publisher at common law, even though he was not such within the definitions of the Act, and it was therefore liable in . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Defamation

Updated: 13 May 2022; Ref: scu.194312

Kingshott v Kent Newspapers Limited: 1991

A question arose under the section as to whether a news piece was a fair and accurate report of proceedings at a local public enquiry. The judge had ruled that no reasonable jury properly directed could conclude that the words complained of were other than a fair and accurate report of the proceedings.
Held: This had been the correct test, but the court was not persuaded that the jury could not attach decisive weight to any of the plaintiff’s points or to those points cumulatively. The question was whether, if the issue were left to the jury and the jury found for the plaintiffs, that verdict would be set aside as perverse. He did not think it would.

Judges:

Bingham LJ

Citations:

[1991] 1 QB 88

Statutes:

Defamation Act 1952 7

Citing:

CitedAdam v Ward HL 1917
The plaintiff, Major Adam MP, falsely attacked General Scobell in a speech in the House of Commons, thus bringing his charge into the national arena. The Army Council investigated the charge, rejected it and directed their secretary, Sir E Ward, the . .

Cited by:

CitedAlexander 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 . .
CitedReynolds v Times Newspapers Ltd and others HL 28-Oct-1999
Fair Coment on Political Activities
The defendant newspaper had published articles wrongly accusing the claimant, the former Prime Minister of Ireland of duplicity. The paper now appealed, saying that it should have had available to it a defence of qualified privilege because of the . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Defamation

Updated: 13 May 2022; Ref: scu.194323

Lyle-Samuel v Oldhams Ltd: 1919

The rule that in defamation proceedings, a newspaper defendant should not be obliged in interrogatories to disclose the name of an informant is so well established as to be beyond argument. ‘All I say is that this is an action of libel against the publishers of a newspaper, that it is well established that in the case of newspapers there is an exception to the rule requiring a defendant to disclose the source of his information where he pleads either privilege or fair comment.’

Judges:

Bankes LJ, Scrutton LJ

Citations:

[1920] 1 KB 135, [1918-19] All ER Rep 779

Citing:

CitedAdam v Fisher 1914
There were two possible reasons why a newspaper might be treated differently from another organisation in defamation proceedings, in that discovery of the source of information will not be ordered. First, it might be expected that it was the purpose . .
CitedPlymouth Mutual Co-operative Soceiety and Industrial Society Ltd v Traders’ Publishing Organisation 1908
Interrogatories in defamation proceedings will not be allowed to request from a newspaper the source of the journalist’s information where there may be considerable public interest. . .

Cited by:

CitedBritish Steel Corporation v Granada Television Ltd HL 7-May-1980
The defendant had broadcast a TV programme using material confidential to the plaintiff, who now sought disclosure of the identity of the presumed thief.
Held: (Lord Salmon dissenting) The courts have never recognised a public interest right . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Defamation

Updated: 13 May 2022; Ref: scu.193370

Polly Peck PLC v Trelford: CA 1986

The plaintiffs complained of the whole of one article and parts of two other articles published about them in The Observer. The defamatory sting was that Mr Asil Nadir (the fourth plaintiff) had deceived or negligently misled shareholders, investors, and members of the general public as to the operation of the first three plaintiffs, which were companies run, but not controlled, by him. The defendants sought, inter alia, to justify in their defence allegations in the second and third articles of which the plaintiffs had not made complaint. They pleaded that the words complained of were fair comment on a matter of public interest and/or were true in substance and in fact, and set out 54 particulars of fair comment and justification.
Held: Where a publication contains two or more separate and distinct defamatory statements, the plaintiff is entitled to select one of them for complaint, and the defendant is not entitled to assert the truth of the other(s) by way of justification. ‘In my judgment Section 5 plainly requires the distinct charges against the plaintiff to be founded on separate words, and these must be contained in the passages of which the plaintiff complains.’ An important principle ‘is that the trial of the action should concern itself with the essential issues and the evidence relevant thereto and that public policy and the interest of the parties require that the trial should be kept strictly to the issues necessary for a fair determination of the dispute between the parties.’

Judges:

O’Connor LJ

Citations:

[1986] QB 1000

Statutes:

Defamation Act 1952 5

Jurisdiction:

England and Wales

Cited by:

CitedBasham v Gregory and Little Brown and Co CA 2-Jul-1998
The defendant sought a retrial of his action for defamation.
Held: The judge’s directions on meaning as to the respective contentions was correct, and also the allocation of the burden of proof. Whilst the court had reservations about the . .
CitedKhashoggi v IPC Magazines Ltd CA 1986
The plaintiff sought to restrain the publication of an article. The defendants asserted that they would justify what they said at trial by reference to a Polly Peck defence, as to which: ‘I cannot see why the Bonnard v Perryman principle should not . .
CitedGreene v Associated Newspapers Ltd CA 5-Nov-2004
The claimant appealed against refusal of an order restraining publication by the respondent of an article about her. She said that it was based upon an email falsely attributed to her.
Held: ‘in an action for defamation a court will not impose . .
CitedTesco Stores Ltd v Guardian News and Media Ltd and Another QBD 29-Jul-2008
The defendant newspaper published articles making allegations as to the use of offshore tax avoidance arrangements. The claimant sought damages also in malicious falsehood. The defendants sought to rely on an offer of amends served only a few . .
CitedMcKeith v News Group Newspapers Ltd QBD 14-Jun-2005
. .
CitedRechem International Ltd v Express Newspapers CA 19-Jun-1992
Neill LJ said: ‘A balance has to be struck between the legitimate defence of free speech and free comment on the one hand and on the other hand the costs which may be involved if every peripheral issue is examined and debated at the trial.’ and . .
CitedPrince Radu of Hohenzollern v Houston and Another (No 4) QBD 4-Mar-2009
Orders were sought to strike out part of the defendants defence of justification to an allegation of defamation.
Held: Where there remains the possibility of a jury trial, it becomes especially important to identify the issues the jurors are . .
CitedThornton v Telegraph Media Group Ltd QBD 16-Jun-2010
The claimant said that a review of her book was defamatory and a malicious falsehood. The defendant now sought summary judgment or a ruling as to the meaning of the words complained of.
Held: The application for summary judgment succeeded. The . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Defamation

Updated: 12 May 2022; Ref: scu.185256

Branson v Bower: QBD 2001

The objective test for fair comment is whether it would be perverse for a jury to hold that the comments are not such that an honest person could express them in the light of the facts known by the Defendants at the date of publication. Hard-hitting comments may be made on matters of public interest without the author being hobbled by the constraints of conventional good manners, but ‘it is, at least theoretically, possible that a finding of malice could be made notwithstanding a conclusion that the defendant was speaking honestly on an occasion of qualified privilege.’

Judges:

Eady J

Citations:

[2002] QB 737

Jurisdiction:

England and Wales

Citing:

CitedHorrocks 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 by:

CitedKeays v Guardian Newspapers Limited, Alton, Sarler QBD 1-Jul-2003
The claimant asserted defamation by the defendant. The parties sought a decision on whether the article at issue was a comment piece, in which case the defendant could plead fair comment, or one asserting fact, in which case that defence would not . .
CitedMeade v Pugh and Another QBD 5-Mar-2004
The claimant was a social work student. He attended a work experience placement, and challenged the report given by the defendants on that placement, saying it was discriminatory and defamatory. He appealed a strike out of his claim.
Held: The . .
Appeal fromBranson v Bower (No 1) CA 24-May-2001
The test of whether comment was fair comment is simply that of whether the opinion was honestly expressed, and on the basis of facts accurately stated. There is no special rule for imputations of corruption or dishonest motives. Nor is there any . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Defamation

Updated: 12 May 2022; Ref: scu.184401

Clark v Norton: 1910

The court explained the notion of ‘comment’ as ‘something which is or can reasonably be inferred to be a deduction, inference, conclusion, criticism, remark, observation, etc’.

Judges:

Cussen J

Citations:

[1910] VLR 494

Jurisdiction:

Australia

Cited by:

CitedKeays v Guardian Newspapers Limited, Alton, Sarler QBD 1-Jul-2003
The claimant asserted defamation by the defendant. The parties sought a decision on whether the article at issue was a comment piece, in which case the defendant could plead fair comment, or one asserting fact, in which case that defence would not . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Defamation, Commonwealth

Updated: 12 May 2022; Ref: scu.184407

Whitehouse v Lemon; Whitehouse v Gay News Ltd: HL 21 Feb 1979

The appellants challenged their conviction for blasphemous libel. They had published a poem which described homosexual acts carried out on the body of Christ after his death.
Held: For a conviction, it was necessary to show that the defendant had published the material, and that it was of the necessary character, namely that it vilified Christ in his life and crucifixion. It was not necessary to show that the defendant intended the blasphemy. A blasphemous libel is a publication of material calculated to shock or outrage the feelings of Christians. There is no need to show additionally a tendency to cause a breach of the peace.
Lord Scarman gave the rationale for the existence of an offence of blasphemy: ‘I do not subscribe to the view that the common law offence of blasphemous libel serves no useful purpose in the modern law. On the contrary, I think there is a case for legislation extending it to protect the religious beliefs and feelings of non-Christians. The offence belongs to a group of criminal offences designed to safeguard the internal tranquillity of the kingdom. In an increasingly plural society such as that of modern Britain it is necessary not only to respect the differing religious beliefs, feelings and practices of all but also to protect them from scurrility, vilification, ridicule and contempt . . I will not lend my voice to a view of the law relating to blasphemous libel which would render it a dead letter, or diminish its efficacy to protect religious feelings from outrage and insult’

Judges:

Lord Diplock, Viscount Dilhorne, Lord Edmund-Davies, Lord Russell of Killowen and Lord Scarman

Citations:

[1979] 2 WLR 281, [1979] AC 617

Links:

lip

Jurisdiction:

England and Wales

Citing:

AppliedRex v Shipley; Rex v Dean of St Asaph 1784
Tasks of Jury and Judge in Defamation Trial
In an action for defamation it is the jury’s task to decide whether the words were published and whether they are true. It is for the judge to decide whether the words are libellous. Lord Mansfield said: ‘The liberty of the press consists in . .
AppliedRegina v Hetherington 1841
Lord Denman CJ directed a jury on a trial for blasphemous libel: ‘Because, a difference of opinion may subsist, not only as between different sects of Christians, but also with regard to the great doctrines of Christianity itself . . even . .
AppliedRegina v Bradlaugh 1883
. .
Appeal fromWhitehouse v Lemon; Whitehouse v Gay News Ltd CA 1979
The defendants, editors and publisher respectively of ‘Gay News’ had been accused of blasphemous libel. The magazine had a poem entitled ‘The love that dare not Speak its Name’. it is not a necessary part of the offence that there should be an . .

Cited by:

CitedGreen, Regina (on the Application of) v The City of Westminster Magistrates’ Court, Thoday, Thompson Admn 5-Dec-2007
The claimant appealed from the refusal by the magistrate to issue summonses for the prosecution for blashemous libel of the Director General of the BBC and the producers of a show entitled ‘Jerry Springer – The Opera.’
Held: The gist of the . .
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 . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Defamation, Crime, Ecclesiastical

Updated: 12 May 2022; Ref: scu.174079

Smeaton v Butcher and others: CA 31 May 2000

An affidavit had been supplied by defendants to landlord and tenant proceedings, against whom the claimant alleged unlawful eviction, to a landlord who was also a defendant to an unlawful eviction claim brought by the claimant, and who used it for the purpose of applying to strike out that claim. The claimant sued in libel on the publication of the affidavit to the landlord, which was held to be absolutely privileged because the statements made within it had reference to the subject matter of the proceedings in which the landlord was a defendant. The claim was struck out as vexatious.
Held: The court maintained the decision pointing out that an affidavit in identical terms would have been appropriately filed in the second proceedings. The contents of an affidavit will be absolutely privileged unless they have no reference at all to the subject matter of the proceedings, and that any doubt should be resolved in favour of the witness.

Citations:

Gazette 31-May-2000, [2000] EMLR 985

Jurisdiction:

England and Wales

Cited by:

CitedIqbal v Mansoor and Others QBD 26-Aug-2011
The claimant sought the disapplication of the limitation period in order to pursue the defendant solicitors, his former employers, in defamation. . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Defamation

Updated: 11 May 2022; Ref: scu.89309

Tancic v Times Newspapers Ltd: CA 12 Jan 2000

The pleadings in defamation proceedings should be limited so as to restrict the parties to the essential issues. The defendant should not be prevented from presenting his defence properly, and a successful claimant should not have been prevented from obtaining a proper vindication of his reputation. Finding this balance was a matter for the discretion of the judge.

Citations:

Times 12-Jan-2000

Jurisdiction:

England and Wales

Defamation

Updated: 11 May 2022; Ref: scu.89702

Webb v Beavan: 1883

There is an exception to the rule that a claimant in slander must have proof of special damage where words imputing to the claimant the commission of a criminal offence punishable by imprisonment are actionable per se. It was not necessar that the offence alleged was indictable.
Pollock B said: ‘The expression ‘indictable offence’ seems to have crept into the text-books, but I think the passages in Comyns’ Digest are conclusive to shew that words which impute any criminal offence are actionable per se. The distinction seems a natural one, that words imputing that the plaintiff has rendered himself liable to the mere infliction of a fine are not slanderous, but that it is slanderous to say that he has done something for which he can be made to suffer corporally.’

Judges:

Pollock B

Citations:

(1883) 11 QBD 609

Jurisdiction:

England and Wales

Cited by:

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 . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Defamation

Updated: 11 May 2022; Ref: scu.601127

Bottomley v Brougham: 1908

The official receiver is acting in a judicial capacity in making his report and his further report and in conducting the examination under that further report. A judge is privileged from inquiry as to whether he is malicious. Channell J considered whether the OR in carrying out investigative functions came within the doctrine of absolute privilege. He held: ‘I think, in the first place, that the official receiver has a statutory duty to inquire in a judicial way into certain matters by the Act of 1890, and that in performing that duty he is acting in a judicial capacity. It is quite true that the report is made ex parte, but that makes no difference. A judge in hearing an ex parte application is still acting as a judge, and the absolute privilege applies quite as much as when he is hearing a case in which both parties appear. The fact that this was a preliminary inquiry equally does not prevent it being a judicial enquiry. An inquiry before a magistrate on a charge of murder, for instance, which he has certainly no power to deal with, and as to which he is only inquiring in a preliminary way whether there is a case for committing the accused person for trial, is clearly a judicial proceeding although it is preliminary to trial. It is strongly contended on the part of the plaintiff that there is mischief and danger in allowing absolute privilege in this case, because it is an ex parte statement, and the person against whom the charge is made has no opportunity of meeting it; it appears to me, however, that the answer to that is the very fact that it is preliminary, and that it does lead to further inquiry upon which that person does have that opportunity of explaining and giving his view of the matter, and that, it being obviously known by anybody who sees or reads the report of the official receiver that, qua report, it will lead to future proceedings in which the report may be entirely displaced, that really prevents any serious mischief arising from applying this doctrine to such a proceeding as this. I think, therefore, that this report may be considered to be absolutely privileged on the footing of its being the judgment of a judicial officer upon a matter entrusted to him for inquiry’.
However Channell J went on to give an alternative ground for holding that the OR attracted absolute privilege which proceeded on the arguably opposite premise that the function which the OR was exercising was more analogous to that of a prosecutor than a judge: ‘But, even if that is not sound, there is the further ground that the report of the official receiver may be treated, not so much as the judgment in a judicial proceeding, but as the initial stage of proceedings in the winding-up Court, which clearly is a Court. It is the information upon which the proceedings take place and it is made by the official receiver under a statutory duty. It seems to me to come within the authority of the case of Lilley v Roney 61 L.J. (Q.B.) 727, and to be a much stronger case, because in that case complaint by a person who considered himself aggrieved by the conduct of a solicitor – a complaint which was the initiation of proceedings before the Law Society – was held to be privileged as being the commencement of proceedings of a legal character. I quite agree that there the privilege was rather the privilege of a litigant than the privilege of the judge; it was the privilege of a man who was starting proceedings. It is perhaps not quite accurate to say the official receiver is in any sense a litigant, but when he comes before the winding-up Court upon the examination no doubt he is, in one sense, a party to the proceedings; he is, as it were, appearing for the prosecution. It is much the same as when the Attorney-General appears upon an information filed by the Attorney-General; he is then a party to the proceedings possibly, not a litigant, and I should say certainly not acting as a judge, but I do not see that that much affects the matter here. In presenting this report the official receiver is informing the Court of alleged matters for inquiry, and so initiating a judicial enquiry; and it seems to me to be entirely analogous to what was held to be absolute privilege in Lilley v Roney, and to be a stronger case. It was done in the course of the performance of a duty imposed upon him in his position of officer of the Court. It is much like the report of an official referee, or someone of that sort, to whom matters are referred to report to the Court. I suppose no one would doubt that those reports were privileged.’

Judges:

Channell J

Citations:

[1908] 1 KB 584

Cited by:

CitedMore v Weaver CA 11-Jul-1928
The appellant brought the latest of several actions, this time alleging defamation in letters from the respondent to her own solicitors making certain statements about the appellant. Those letters had become public in the course of the earlier . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Legal Professions, Insolvency, Defamation

Updated: 11 May 2022; Ref: scu.552688

Morgan v Wallis: 1917

(Year?) privilege as between solicitor and client is qualified only, and not absolute.

Judges:

Darling J

Citations:

(1917) 33 Times 495

Cited by:

DoubtedMore v Weaver CA 11-Jul-1928
The appellant brought the latest of several actions, this time alleging defamation in letters from the respondent to her own solicitors making certain statements about the appellant. Those letters had become public in the course of the earlier . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Defamation

Updated: 11 May 2022; Ref: scu.552690

Marrinan v Vibert: QBD 1963

The plaintiff brought an action claiming damages for conspiracy against two police officers alleging they had conspired together to make false statements defamatory of him as a barrister.
Held: The claim was struck out. Even a conspiracy to make false statements in court will be protected, not for the sake of the witnesses, but ‘for the benefit of the public, since the administration of justice would be greatly impeded if witnesses were to be in fear that any disgruntled and possibly impecunious persons against whom they gave evidence might subsequently involve them in costly litigation’.
The gist of the tort of conspiracy was not the conspiratorial agreement alone, but that agreement plus the overt act of causing damage and the evidence given was an act done in pursuance of the agreement.
Salmon J said: ‘It is true that in nearly all the reported cases in which the principles to which I have alluded were laid down, the form of action was for damages for libel or slander, but in my judgment these principles in no way depend upon the form of action. In Hargreaves v Bretherton [1959] 1 Q.B. 45, an unsuccessful attempt was made to evade the immunity to which I have referred by suing for damages for perjury. Counsel for the plaintiff attempted to distinguish that case on the ground that an action for damages for perjury is unknown to the law, whereas an action for damages for conspiracy is of respectable lineage. As far as it goes, the distinction is a sound one. It does not, however, affect the point that Hargreaves v Bretherton demonstrates that the immunity to which I have referred is not only an immunity to be sued for damages in libel or slander. The immunity, in my judgment, is an immunity from any form of civil action.’

Judges:

Salmon J

Citations:

[1963] 1 QB 234

Citing:

CitedHargreaves v Bretherton 1959
The Plaintiff pleaded that the First Defendant police officer had falsely and maliciously and without justification or excuse committed perjury at the Plaintiff’s trial on charges of criminal offences and that as a result the Plaintiff had been . .

Cited by:

Appeal fromMarrinan v Vibert CA 2-Jan-1963
A tortious conspiracy was alleged in the conduct of a civil action. The plaintiff appealed against rejection of his claim.
Held: The appeal failed as an attempt to circumvent the immunity of a wirness in defamation by framing a claim in . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Torts – Other, Defamation

Updated: 11 May 2022; Ref: scu.519355

Browne v Thomson and Co: 1912

A newspaper article stated that in Queenstown instructions were issued ‘by the ‘Roman Catholic religious authorities that all Protestant shop ‘assistants were to be discharged.’ 7 pursuers averred that they were the sole persons who exercised religious authority in name and on behalf of the Roman Catholic Church in Queenstown.
Held: They were entitled to sue for libel as being individually defamed. Lord President Dunedin said: ‘I think it is quite evident that if a certain set of people are accused of having done something, and if such accusation is libellous, it is possible for the individuals in that set of people to show that they have been damnified, and it is right that they should have an opportunity of recovering damages as individuals.’

Judges:

Lord President Dunedin

Citations:

1912 SC 359

Cited by:

CitedKnuppfer v London Express Newspaper Ltd HL 3-Apr-1944
The plaintiff complained that the defendant’s article was defamatory in implying that he was an agent of Hitler. He was representative in Great Britain of a political party of Russian emigres known as Mlado Russ or Young Russia. The total membership . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Scotland, Defamation

Updated: 11 May 2022; Ref: scu.463693

Garbett v Hazel Watson and Viney: CA 1943

The defendants had published in a magazine a picture of the plaintiff carrying on his business as an out door photographer, and talking to a lady. On the opposite page they published a picture of a naked woman. The caption running under both pictures was that ‘For another shilling Madam you can have something like this’. The defendant appealed, arguing against the meaning attributed to the publication by the plaintiff and found by the Judge. The plaintiff gave evidence that after the publication complained of he was shunned by those who knew him, and that instead of calling him by his Christian name (Sydney), as they had before, they called him ‘Smutty’. Counsel for the defendant argued in the Court of Appeal that the evidence that the plaintiff was addressed as ‘Smutty’ was inadmissible, that is inadmissible as to meaning.
Held: The defendant’s argument was rejected. Scott LJ saying: ‘It was admissible because it was evidence of the measure of damage done’. The juxtaposition raised an innuendo which lowered the plaintiff’s reputation and was therefore libellous.

Judges:

Scott LJ

Citations:

[1943] 2 All ER 359

Cited by:

CitedLewis v Commissioner of Police of The Metropolis and Others (Rev 1) QBD 31-Mar-2011
The defendant sought a ruling on the meaning of the words but using section 69(4) of the 1981 Act. The claimant solicitor was acting in complaints as to the unlawful interception of celebrity voicemails by agents of the press. There had been debate . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Defamation

Updated: 11 May 2022; Ref: scu.431722

Townshend v Hughes: 1676

In a defamation action, the impugned words are to be understood ‘according to the general and natural meaning, and agreeable to the common understanding of all men.’

Citations:

(1676) 2 Mod 159

Cited by:

CitedAjinomoto 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 . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Defamation

Updated: 11 May 2022; Ref: scu.416352

Colman v Godwin: 4 May 1782

Words imputing a crime are actionable, although they describe it in vulgar language, and not in technical terms.

Judges:

Bulller J

Citations:

[1782] EngR 56, (1782) 3 Doug 90, (1782) 99 ER 554 (A)

Links:

Commonlii

Jurisdiction:

England and Wales

Cited by:

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 . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Defamation

Updated: 11 May 2022; Ref: scu.372404

Neville v Fine Arts Company: 1897

When establishing a defamatory meaning in the words complained of ‘it is not enough to say that by some person or another the words might be understood in a defamatory sense.’ (Lord Halsbury LC)

Judges:

Lord Halsbury LC

Citations:

[1897] AC 68

Jurisdiction:

England and Wales

Citing:

Appeal fromNevill v Fine Arts and General Insurance Co Ltd CA 1895
Lopes LJ said: ‘The effect of the occasion being privileged is to render it incumbent upon the plaintiff to prove malice, that is, to shew some indirect motive not connected with the privilege, so as to take the statement made by the defendant out . .

Cited by:

CitedJeynes v News Magazines Ltd and Another CA 31-Jan-2008
Whether Statement defamatory at common law
The claimant appealed against a striking out of her claim for defamation on finding that the words did not have the defamatory meaning complained of, namely that she was transgendered or transsexual.
Held: The appeal failed.
Sir Anthony . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Defamation

Updated: 11 May 2022; Ref: scu.323747

McDonald’s Corporation v Steel and Another: CA 14 Apr 1994

Defence paragraphs alleging justification were to be struck out only in the clearest of cases. One should only plead justification if one has reasonable evidence to support the defence or reasonable grounds for supposing that sufficient evidence will be available at trial.

Citations:

Independent 22-Apr-1994, Times 14-Apr-1994, [1995] EMLR 527

Jurisdiction:

England and Wales

Cited by:

See AlsoMcDonald’s Corporation and Another v Steel and Morris CA 17-Oct-1996
A trial judge’s decisions should not normally be set aside unless they constituted a denial of justice to one or other of the parties. . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Defamation

Updated: 10 May 2022; Ref: scu.83527