Makudi 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 executive. That evidence was protected by parliamentary priviege, but the claimant said that the defendant was responsible for later references to that evidence in the course of a review by the English Football Association. The claimant now appealed against an order striking out his claim.
Held: The appeal failed. Article 9 prohibited an examination in this action of the respondent’s assertions: ‘the issue of Article 9 protection . . cannot be concluded in favour of the speaker merely by a finding of fact . . that Article 9 would be violated by enquiry into the speaker’s state of mind outside Parliament on the ground that that would also constitute enquiry into his state of mind when he spoke within Parliament. Such a state of affairs might readily be proved in a case like Lord Abingdon, Creevey or Buchanan, as Lord Bingham suggested . . But in such cases, as Lord Bingham made plain, an identity of motive or purpose as between the speaker’s utterances within and outside Parliament will not justify Article 9 protection. It will be roundly held that the claim (against the speaker) is ‘directed solely to the extra-parliamentary republication’ . . and it is only the speaker’s state of mind on that later occasion that matters.’ and . . ‘Article 9 will not bite merely because there is a public interest, which he ought reasonably to serve, in the speaker’s repeating or referring to what he had earlier said in Parliament. The later, extra-Parliamentary occasion might be quite remote from the earlier utterance. The public interest in his repeating what he had said might be different from the whys and wherefores of the Parliamentary occasion. When speaking in Parliament, he might have no reason to apprehend that he might be required (or think himself obliged) in the public interest to repeat on a later occasion what he had said. In short the integrity of the legislature’s democratic process may not need the protection of Article 9 at all.’

Laws, Tomlinson, Rafferty LJJ
[2014] EWCA Civ 179, [2014] EMLR 17, [2014] 3 All ER 36, [2014] 1 QB 839, [2014] WLR(D) 98, [2014] QB 839, [2014] 2 WLR 1228
Bailii, WLRD
Bill of Rights 1689 9
England and Wales
Citing:
CitedPepper (Inspector of Taxes) v Hart HL 26-Nov-1992
Reference to Parliamentary Papers behind Statute
The inspector sought to tax the benefits in kind received by teachers at a private school in having their children educated at the school for free. Having agreed this was a taxable emolument, it was argued as to whether the taxable benefit was the . .
Appeal fromMakudi v Baron Triesman of Tottenham In London Borough of Haringey QBD 1-Feb-2013
makudi_triesmanQBD2013
The claimant, former chairman of the Thailand Football Association, claimed in defamation against the defendant who had been chairman of the English Football Association. The defendant asked the court to strike out the claim, saying that some of the . .
CitedPrebble 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 . .
CitedRex v Creevey Esq MP 1813
A statement made out of Parliament is not to be protected by its absolute privilege even if what is said simply repeats what was said inside the House.
A member of the House of Commons may be convicted upon an indictment for a libel in . .
CitedStopforth 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 . .
CitedHutchinson v Proxmire 26-Jun-1979
(United States Supreme Court) The petitioner had been funded by the state to carry out research on aggression in certain animals, particularly monkeys. He complained of criticism of his work decsribing it as wasteful.
Held: Efforts to . .
CitedOffice of Government Commerce v Information Commissioner and Another Admn 11-Apr-2008
The Office appealed against decisions ordering it to release information about the gateway reviews for the proposed identity card system, claiming a qualified exemption from disclosure under the 2000 Act.
Held: The decision was set aside for . .
CitedJennings v Buchanan PC 14-Jul-2004
(New Zealand) (Attorney General of New Zealand intervening) The defendant MP had made a statement in Parliament which attracted parliamentary privilege. In a subsequent newspaper interview, he said ‘he did not resile from his claim’. He defended the . .
CitedByrne v Deane CA 1937
A notice had been displayed on a golf club notice board. The court considered whether this constituted publication for defamation purposes.
Held: Greene LJ said: ‘Now on the substantial question of publication, publication, of course, is a . .
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 . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Defamation, Constitutional

Updated: 30 November 2021; Ref: scu.521627

Clark and Another v Trip Advisor Llc: SCS 6 Feb 2014

(Outer House) The petitioners complained of reviews of their guest house business carried by the respondent web-site operators which were said to be defamatory. The petitioners sought an order from the court ordaining the respondents to disclose the names, addresses and other such information that they have as to the identity of those persons who posted the said reviews

[2014] ScotCS CSOH – 20, 2014 SLT 418, 2014 GWD 7-138
Bailii
Scotland

Defamation, Litigation Practice

Updated: 29 November 2021; Ref: scu.521143

Delfi As v Estonia: ECHR 10 Oct 2013

[2013] ECHR 941, [2013] ECHR 1218, (2014) 58 EHRR 29
Bailii, Bailii
European Convention on Human Rights
Human Rights
Cited by:
See AlsoDelfi As v Estonia ECHR 16-Jun-2015
Article 10-1
Freedom to impart information
Award of damages against internet news portal for offensive comments posted on its site by anonymous third parties: no violation
Facts – The applicant company owned one of the largest . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Human Rights, Defamation, Media

Updated: 28 November 2021; Ref: scu.518827

Flood v Times Newspapers Ltd: QBD 19 Dec 2013

The claimant policeman alleged defamation in an article published by the defendant newspaper. The defendant advanced two substantive defences, a defence of public interest (Reynolds) privilege and justification. After protracted litigation, the claim succeeded, and the court now considered the damages to be awarded.
Held: ‘It is possible to pursue journalism said to be in the public interest and demonstrate consideration for the subject whose reputation may suffer in the event of publication. The need for such consideration is particularly acute given the subject’s lack of redress. Once it is known that there is material which exonerates, in whole or in part the subject of the journalistic investigation, consideration should be shown for the position of the subject by publishing exculpatory material. On the facts of this case no such consideration was demonstrated by TNL’ and: ‘The award of damages, for the period 5 September 2007 to 21 October 2009, to reflect the distress, anxiety and suffering of the claimant, the damage to his reputation and the need for proper vindication is 45,000 pounds. To that figure I have awarded a further andpound;15,000 to represent the aggravation of those damages by reason of the conduct of the defendant and to serve as a deterrent to those who embark upon public interest journalism but thereafter refuse to publish material which in whole, or in part, exculpates the subject of the investigation. Accordingly, the claimant’s award of damages is andpound;60,000.’

Nicola Davies DBE J
[2013] EWHC 4075 (QB)
Bailii
England and Wales
Citing:
At Supreme CourtFlood 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 . .
See AlsoFlood v Times Newspapers Ltd QBD 25-Jul-2013
. .

Cited by:
Appeal fromTimes Newspapers Ltd v Flood CA 4-Dec-2014
The newspaper appealed from the award of costs to the claimant who had succeeded in his claim of defamation. . .
At First InstanceTimes Newspapers Ltd and Others v Flood and Others SC 11-Apr-2017
Three newspaper publishers, having lost defamation cases, challenged the levels of costs awarded against them, saying that the levels infringed their own rights of free speech.
Held: Each of the three appeals was dismissed. . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Defamation, Damages

Updated: 28 November 2021; Ref: scu.519770

Vaughan v London Borough of Lewisham and Others: QBD 20 Dec 2013

The claimant had undertaken a series of nine actions against the several defendants making allegations of discrimination and similar. They had each failed, she had been ordered to pay substantial sums in costs, and was now foamally bankrupt. In these proceedings she alleged defamation in SOSR (Some Other Substantial Reason) hearings. She had stayed other proceedings in order to ensure that these proceedings could proceed, but now appealed against a stay of these proceedings.
Held: The claim was bound to fail and was struck out.

Sir David Eady
[2013] EWHC 4118 (QB)
Bailii

Defamation, Litigation Practice

Updated: 28 November 2021; Ref: scu.519778

Putistin v Ukraine: ECHR 21 Nov 2013

Article 8-1
Respect for private life
Alleged failure to secure the right to reputation of an applicant whose father was allegedly defamed: no violation
Facts – The applicant is the son of Mikhail Putistin, now deceased, a former Dynamo Kyiv football player who took part in a game known as the ‘Death Match’ in 1942. The game was played between a team which included professional players from Dynamo Kyiv and a team of German pilots, soldiers and technicians. Against the odds and despite allegations that the match was refereed unfairly by an SS officer, the German team was defeated 5-3. Allegedly as a result of their victory, the Dynamo Kyiv team suffered reprisals. A number of Ukrainian players were sent to a local concentration camp, where four of them were executed. In 2002 the Kyiv authorities commemorated the 60th anniversary of the match, which received wide media coverage. In 2001 the newspaper Komsomolska Pravda published an article entitled ‘The Truth about the Death Match’. It included an interview with a director and producer who discussed the possibility of making a film about the game, and a picture of the match poster from 1942. The poster contained the names of the players (including Mikhail Putistin), but these were not legible in the newspaper. The article included a quotation from the producer, who stated that there were only four players who had been executed, and that other players had ‘collaborated with the Gestapo’. Another part of the article listed the names of the players who had been executed, which did not include Mikhail Putistin. The applicant sued the newspaper and the journalist, seeking rectification of the article. He claimed that it suggested that his father had collaborated with the Gestapo. He also provided evidence that the archives held no information indicating that his father had worked for the Nazis, and documents establishing that his father had been taken to a concentration camp. The domestic courts rejected his claim, finding that the applicant had not been directly affected by the publication: his father was not directly mentioned in the text, and it was not possible to read his name on the photograph of the match poster published with the article.

Law – Article 8: The Court could accept that the reputation of a deceased member of a person’s family might, in certain circumstances, affect that person’s private life and identity, and thus come within the scope of Article 8. However, like the national courts, it found that the applicant had not been directly affected by the publication. Though a quotation in the article had suggested that some members of the Ukrainian team had collaborated with the Gestapo, none of the pictures or words referred to the applicant’s father. In order to interpret the article as claiming that the applicant’s father had collaborated with the Gestapo, it would be necessary for a reader to know that the applicant’s father’s name had appeared on the original poster of the match. The names appearing under the photograph of the poster as reproduced by the paper were illegible. The level of impact on the applicant had thus been quite remote. Moreover, the domestic courts had been obliged to have regard to the rights of the newspaper and the journalist and to balance those against the rights of the applicant. The article had informed the public of a proposed film on an historical subject. It had been neither provocative nor sensationalist. As the applicant’s Article 8 rights had been affected only marginally and in an indirect manner, the domestic courts had struck an appropriate balance between the competing rights.
Conclusion: no violation (unanimously).

16882/03 – Legal Summary, [2013] ECHR 1286
Bailii
European Convention on Human Rights
England and Wales
Cited by:
Legal SummaryPutistin v Ukraine (Football ‘Death Match’) ECHR 21-Nov-2013
The applicant complained of a breach of the right to protection of his reputation as a result of the domestic courts’ refusal to rectify defamatory information about his father that had been published in the newspaper Komsomolska Pravda. . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Human Rights, Defamation

Updated: 27 November 2021; Ref: scu.519057

Belpietro v Italy: ECHR 24 Sep 2013

Article 10-1
Freedom of expression
Imposition of suspended sentence on newspaper chief for publishing defamatory article: violation
Facts – At the relevant time the applicant was the director of the daily newspaper Il Giornale. In 2004 the newspaper published an article written by a senator criticising a number of members of the national legal service. Two public prosecutors, taking the view that the article infringed their honour, lodged a complaint for defamation against the senator and the applicant. The applicant was ordered to pay damages amounting to EUR 110,000 and was given a suspended sentence of four months’ imprisonment.
Law – Article 10: The applicant’s conviction had constituted interference with his right to freedom of expression. The interference had been prescribed by law and was capable of achieving the legitimate aim of protecting the reputation or the rights of the two prosecutors.
The senator’s article had concerned a subject of general interest, namely the relationship between the prosecuting authorities and the carabinieri in Palermo in the sensitive sphere of anti-Mafia activities. As to the content of the impugned article, it had contained serious accusations against State civil servants which had not been backed up by objective evidence. In this respect the present case bore similarities to the case of Perna*. However, the latter had concerned the conviction of the article’s author, whereas the present case dealt with the conviction of the director of the newspaper which had published the article, for having omitted to exercise the necessary supervision in order to prevent the commission of offences through the medium of the press. The fact that the author of the article had been a senator did not exempt the applicant from his duty of supervision, particularly since the senator had already been finally convicted of defamation on previous occasions. It also had to be borne in mind that the director of the newspaper was responsible for the manner in which an article was presented and for the prominence given to it within the publication. In the instant case, the graphic manner of presentation had served to reinforce in readers’ minds the arguments set out in the article, including those which could be seen as an attack on the prosecutors’ professional standing. Accordingly, the applicant’s conviction had not in itself been contrary to Article 10 of the Convention.
Nevertheless, the nature and severity of the penalties imposed also had to be taken into consideration in assessing the proportionality of the interference. In the present case the applicant, in addition to being ordered to pay damages, had been sentenced to four months’ imprisonment. Although that sentence had been suspended, the fact that a prison sentence had been imposed was liable to have a significant dissuasive effect. Furthermore, there were no exceptional circumstances capable of justifying such a heavy penalty in the present case, which concerned a lack of supervision in connection with defamation. In the Perna case the penalty imposed had been merely a fine. Consequently, the interference with the applicant’s right to freedom of expression had not been proportionate to the legitimate aims pursued.
Conclusion: violation (unanimously).
Article 41: EUR 10,000 in respect of non-pecuniary damage.
* Perna v. Italy [GC], 48898/99, 6 May 2003, Information Note 53

43612/10 – Chamber Judgment (French text), [2013] ECHR 858, 43612/10 – Legal Summary, [2013] ECHR 1272
Bailii, Bailii
European Convention on Human Rights

Human Rights, Defamation

Updated: 27 November 2021; Ref: scu.518959

Putistin v Ukraine (Football ‘Death Match’): ECHR 21 Nov 2013

The applicant complained of a breach of the right to protection of his reputation as a result of the domestic courts’ refusal to rectify defamatory information about his father that had been published in the newspaper Komsomolska Pravda.

Mark Villiger, P
16882/03 – Chamber Judgment, [2013] ECHR 1154
Bailii
European Convention on Human Rights
Citing:
Legal SummaryPutistin v Ukraine ECHR 21-Nov-2013
Article 8-1
Respect for private life
Alleged failure to secure the right to reputation of an applicant whose father was allegedly defamed: no violation
Facts – The applicant is the son of Mikhail Putistin, now deceased, a former . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Human Rights, Media, Defamation

Updated: 26 November 2021; Ref: scu.518403

Mireskandari v Centaur Media Plc: QBD 19 Nov 2013

The Defendant sought an order that the libel action be struck out under CPR 3.4 (2)(a) and/or (b), or that summary judgment be entered against the Claimant on the whole claim, pursuant to CPR 24.2, on the ground that the claim had no real prospect of success.

Tugendhat J
[2013] EWHC 3551 (QB)
Bailii

Defamation, Litigation Practice

Updated: 26 November 2021; Ref: scu.518335

Subotic v Knezevic: QBD 14 Oct 2013

Applications as to whether: (a) there should be an adjournment of 4 weeks to enable the Claimant’s new legal representatives to have more time to advise the Claimant, to prepare for the hearing, and to consider further re-re-amendments to the Particulars of Claim; (b) the Claimant should be permitted to re-re-amend the Particulars of Claim in the form of the draft prepared by his former legal representatives, as further amended during the hearing; and (c) the claim should be dismissed as a Jameel abuse of process.

Dingemans J
[2013] EWHC 3011 (QB)
Bailii

Defamation, Litigation Practice

Updated: 22 November 2021; Ref: scu.516606

Wegrzynowski And Smolczewski v Poland (Legal Summary): ECHR 16 Jul 2013

ECHR Article 8
Positive obligations
Courts’ refusal to order newspaper to remove article damaging applicant’s reputation from its Internet archive: no violation
Facts – The applicants are lawyers who won a libel case against two journalists working for the daily newspaper Rzeczpospolita following the publication of an article alleging that they had made a fortune by assisting politicians in shady business deals. Holding in particular that the journalists’ allegations were largely based on gossip and hearsay and that they had failed to take the minimum steps necessary to verify the information, the domestic courts ordered them and their editor-in-chief to pay a fine to a charity and to publish an apology. These obligations were complied with.
Subsequently, after discovering that the article remained accessible on the newspaper’s website, the applicants brought fresh proceedings for an order for its removal from the site. Their claim was dismissed on the grounds that ordering removal of the article would amount to censorship and the rewriting of history. The court indicated, however, that it would have given serious consideration to a request for a footnote or link informing readers of the judgments in the original libel proceedings to be added to the website article. That judgment was upheld on appeal.
Law – Article 8: The Court declared the first applicant’s application inadmissible, as being out of time. As regards the second applicant, it noted that during the first set of civil proceedings he had failed to make claims regarding the publication of the impugned article on the Internet. The domestic courts had therefore not been able to decide that matter. Their judgment, finding that the article was in breach of the applicants’ rights, had not created a legitimate expectation that the article would be removed from the newspaper’s website. The second applicant had not advanced any arguments to justify his failure to address the issue of the article’s presence online during the first set of proceedings, especially in view of the fact that the Internet archive of Rzeczpospolita was a widely known and frequently used resource both for Polish lawyers and the general public.
As to the second set of proceedings, the second applicant had been given the opportunity to have his claims examined by a court and had enjoyed full procedural guarantees. The Court accepted that it was not the role of judicial authorities to engage in rewriting history by ordering the removal from the public domain of all traces of publications which had in the past been found, by final judicial decisions, to amount to unjustified attacks on individual reputations. Furthermore, the legitimate interest of the public in access to public Internet archives of the press was protected under Article 10. It was significant that the domestic courts had pointed out that it would be desirable to add a comment to the article on the newspaper’s website informing the public of the outcome of the first set of proceedings. This demonstrated their awareness of how important publications on the Internet could be for the effective protection of individual rights and of the importance of making full information about judicial decisions concerning a contested article available on the newspaper’s website. The second applicant had not, however, the addition of a reference to the judgments in his favour.
Taking into account all those circumstances, the respondent State had complied with its obligation to strike a balance between the rights guaranteed under Article 10 and under Article 8.
Conclusion: no violation (unanimously).

33846/07 – Legal Summary, [2013] ECHR 779
Bailii
European Convention on Human Rights
Human Rights
Cited by:
Legal SummaryWegrzynowski And Smolczewski v Poland ECHR 16-Jul-2013
. .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Human Rights, Defamation, Media

Updated: 20 November 2021; Ref: scu.515144

Clay v Roberts: 1863

Pollock CB considered the requirements for words to be considered defamatory and said: ‘There is a distinction between imputing what is merely a breach of conventional etiquette and what is illegal, mischievous, or sinful.’

Pollock CB
(1863) 8 LT 397
England and Wales
Cited by:
CitedSim v Stretch HL 1936
Test For Defamatory Meaning
The plaintiff complained that the defendant had written in a telegram to accuse him of enticing away a servant. The House considered the process of deciding whether words were defamatory.
Held: The telegram was incapable of bearing a . .
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 . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Defamation

Updated: 19 November 2021; Ref: scu.407777

Perera v Peiris: PC 1949

Qualified privilege claim upheld

(Ceylon) The ‘Ceylon Daily News’ had published extracts from a report of the Bribery Commission which was critical of Dr. Perera’s lack of frankness in his evidence. The Judicial Committee upheld a claim to qualified privilege. In the light of the origin and contents of the report and its relevance to the affairs of Ceylon, the due administration of the affairs of Ceylon required that the report should receive the widest publicity. Their Lordships preferred to relate their conclusions to the wider general principle which underlies the defence of privilege in all its aspects rather than to debate the question whether the case fell within some specific category.
Lord Uthwatt said: ‘Reports of judicial and parliamentary proceedings and, maybe, of some bodies which are neither judicial nor parliamentary in character, stand in a class apart by reason that the nature of their activities is treated as conclusively establishing that the public interest is forwarded by publication of reports of their proceedings. As regards reports of proceedings of other bodies, the status of those bodies taken alone is not conclusive and it is necessary to consider the subject-matter dealt with in the particular report with which the court is concerned. If it appears that it is to the public interest that a particular report should be published, privilege will attach.’

Lord Uthwatt, Sir Valentine Holmes KC
[1949] AC 1
England and Wales
Cited by:
CitedWebb v Times Publishing Co Ltd 1960
The Times newspaper published a report of the criminal trial in Switzerland of a British subject. When sued in defamation they sought to rely upon the defence of fair reporting of judicial proceedings.
Held: A blanket protection for reporting . .
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 . .
CitedBlackshaw v Lord CA 1984
Claim to privilege must be precisely focused
The Daily Telegraph carried an article headed ‘Incompetence at ministry cost pounds 52 million’ recording that a number of senior civil servants had been reprimanded after investigation by the Public Accounts Committee. The plaintiff had been in . .
CitedLoutchansky v Times Newspapers Limited (No 2) CA 12-Mar-2001
The defendants appealed against a refusal to allow them to amend their pleadings. They wished to include allegations as to matters which were unknown to the journalist at the time of publication.
Held: It is necessary for the defendants to . .
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 . .
CitedTsikata v Newspaper Publishing Plc QBD 28-Oct-1994
Qualified privilege reporting statutory proceedings stays despite doubts on findings. Jonathan Sumption QC said: ‘Historically, qualified privilege meant a state of affairs which negatived legal malice and meant that the plaintiff had to prove . .
CitedSeaga v Harper PC 30-Jan-2008
Public meeting gave no qualified privilege
(Jamaica) The appellant politician pleaded that his words about a senior policemen when spoken at a public meeting were protected from an action in slander by qualified privilege.
Held: The appeal failed. . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Defamation

Updated: 17 November 2021; Ref: scu.194510

Cruddas v Calvert and Others: QBD 26 Jun 2013

[2013] EWHC 1791 (QB)
Bailii
England and Wales
Citing:
See AlsoCruddas v Calvert and Others QBD 1-May-2013
Application for leave to amend particulars of claim. . .
See AlsoCruddas v Calvert and Others QBD 5-Jun-2013
. .
See AlsoCruddas v Calvert and Others CA 21-Jun-2013
The claimant sought damages alleging both defamation and malicious falsehood. The parties appealed against the ruling that in a malicious falsehood claim, the court would accept mutiple meanings of the words used. . .

Cited by:
See AlsoCruddas v Calvert and Others QBD 31-Jul-2013
Judgment on the second stage of the trial of a claim for libel and malicious falsehood.
Held: Tugendhat J adopted the meaning ‘more likely than not to cause pecuniary damage’ for ‘calculated to’. . .
See AlsoCalvert and Others v Cruddas CA 16-Apr-2014
Renewed application for leave to appeal against damages award in defamation and malicious falsehood. The defendant newspaper had published critical articles, derived from recordings made by undercover reporters, and pleaded justification.
Defamation

Updated: 14 November 2021; Ref: scu.511093

Cruddas v Calvert and Others: CA 21 Jun 2013

The claimant sought damages alleging both defamation and malicious falsehood. The parties appealed against the ruling that in a malicious falsehood claim, the court would accept mutiple meanings of the words used.

Longmore, Rafferty LJJ, Sir Stephen Sedley
[2013] EWCA Civ 748
Bailii, Gazette
England and Wales
Citing:
See AlsoCruddas v Calvert and Others QBD 1-May-2013
Application for leave to amend particulars of claim. . .
See AlsoCruddas v Calvert and Others QBD 5-Jun-2013
. .

Cited by:
See AlsoCruddas v Calvert and Others QBD 26-Jun-2013
. .
See AlsoCruddas v Calvert and Others QBD 31-Jul-2013
Judgment on the second stage of the trial of a claim for libel and malicious falsehood.
Held: Tugendhat J adopted the meaning ‘more likely than not to cause pecuniary damage’ for ‘calculated to’. . .
See AlsoCalvert and Others v Cruddas CA 16-Apr-2014
Renewed application for leave to appeal against damages award in defamation and malicious falsehood. The defendant newspaper had published critical articles, derived from recordings made by undercover reporters, and pleaded justification.
Defamation, Torts – Other

Updated: 14 November 2021; Ref: scu.511032

Jon Richard Ltd v Gornall: QBD 16 May 2013

The company sought relief after the defendant a former senior employee had left but then written to customers alleging fraud by the claimant.
Held: ‘ this is as clear a case as there could possibly be that the Defendant’s denial that she published the two letters was, in the case of each, untrue and that she has no real or realistic chance of succeeding in defending the action. The Claimant seeks summary judgment and, in those circumstances, to my mind, there is no other reason why the matter should go to trial.’

Andrew Smith J
[2013] EWHC 1357 (QB)
Bailii
Defamation Act 1996 8

Employment, Defamation

Updated: 14 November 2021; Ref: scu.510959

Cruddas v Calvert and Others: QBD 5 Jun 2013

[2013] EWHC 1427 (QB)
Bailii
England and Wales
Citing:
See AlsoCruddas v Calvert and Others QBD 1-May-2013
Application for leave to amend particulars of claim. . .

Cited by:
See AlsoCruddas v Calvert and Others CA 21-Jun-2013
The claimant sought damages alleging both defamation and malicious falsehood. The parties appealed against the ruling that in a malicious falsehood claim, the court would accept mutiple meanings of the words used. . .
See AlsoCruddas v Calvert and Others QBD 26-Jun-2013
. .
See AlsoCruddas v Calvert and Others QBD 31-Jul-2013
Judgment on the second stage of the trial of a claim for libel and malicious falsehood.
Held: Tugendhat J adopted the meaning ‘more likely than not to cause pecuniary damage’ for ‘calculated to’. . .
See AlsoCalvert and Others v Cruddas CA 16-Apr-2014
Renewed application for leave to appeal against damages award in defamation and malicious falsehood. The defendant newspaper had published critical articles, derived from recordings made by undercover reporters, and pleaded justification.
Defamation

Updated: 14 November 2021; Ref: scu.510816

Reznik v Russia: ECHR 4 Apr 2013

ECHR Article 10-1
Freedom of expression
Compensation award against Bar Council President comments regarding prison warders’ ‘search’ of female member of the Bar: violation
Facts – The case concerned defamation proceedings against the President of the Moscow City Bar for critical statements he had made on a live television show about the conduct of male prison warders who had searched a female lawyer representing the prominent businessman Mikhail Khodorkovskiy in criminal proceedings. The applicant had been invited to the talk show with a representative of the Ministry of Justice to speak about a request the Ministry had made for the lawyer to be disbarred after allegedly being found in possession of a note containing instructions aimed at interfering with the pending investigation into Mr Khodorkovskiy’s affairs. On the talk show, the applicant denied that there had been an attempt to pass a note from Mr Khodorkovskiy outside the remand centre, stated that there had been no grounds for carrying out a search and criticised the fact that it had been carried out by male prison warders ‘rummaging about the body’ of the female lawyer. The remand centre and two of its warders sued him in defamation claiming that they had not carried out a search but had merely inspected the lawyer’s documents. On appeal, the City Court found against the applicant and ordered him to pay 20 Russian roubles in damages. The television channel was ordered to broadcast a rectification. The council of the Moscow City Bar formally rejected the Ministry’s request for Mr Khodorkovskiy’s counsel to be excluded from the Bar.
Law – Article 10: The City Court’s judgment in the defamation proceedings had constituted interference with the applicant’s right to freedom of expression, which interference had a basis in national law and pursued the legitimate aim of protecting the reputation or rights of others.
As to whether the interference had been necessary in a democratic society, the Court noted firstly that the impugned statement had been made in a live television debate over the Ministry of Justice’s request to have Mr Khodorkovskiy’s counsel disbarred. That request had been made in the context of the criminal proceedings against Mr Khodorkovskiy which were themselves the subject of intense public debate and must have sparked a wave of public interest. However, although very strong reasons were required for restrictions on debates on questions of public interest, there was nothing in the text of the City Court’s judgment to suggest it had performed the necessary balancing exercise.
The Court was not convinced by the Government’s argument that, as a lawyer, the applicant should have been particularly meticulous in his choice of words. Lawyers were entitled to comment in public on the administration of justice provided their criticism did not overstep certain bounds. The applicant had been speaking to a lay audience of television viewers, not to legal experts and his use of the word ‘search’ rather than the technical term ‘inspection’ was in everyday language an appropriate description of the procedure to which Mr Khodorkovskiy’s counsel had been subjected. Moreover, the format of the television discussion had been designed to encourage an exchange of views or even an argument, so that the opinions expressed would counterbalance each other. As the discussion had been broadcast live, the applicant had had no possibility of reformulating his words before they were made public and, in any event, the Ministry representative could have dispelled any allegation he considered untrue and presented his own version of the incident.
In any event, nothing in the applicant’s statement had permitted the warders to be identified: the applicant had described them simply as ‘men’, without mentioning their names or their employer. Even assuming their names had become public, the applicant’s liability in defamation could not go beyond his own words or extend to statements made by others. So the domestic authorities had failed to establish an objective link between his statement and the claimants in the defamation action.
There had also been a sufficient factual basis for the applicant’s statement that the inspection was devoid of legal grounds: the Court had already established in Khodorkovskiy v. Russia (no. 5829/04, 31 May 2011, Information Note no. 141) that no obvious provision of Russian law prohibited lawyers from keeping notes during meetings with clients and that a legal provision concerning the inspection of visitors carrying prohibited objects did not apply to meetings between defendants and their legal representatives and the Moscow Bar Council had made similar findings when rejecting the request for Mr Khodorkovskiy’s counsel to be disbarred. Further, while the applicant’s suggestion that the warders had ‘rummaged’ through Mr Khodorkovskiy’s counsel’s clothing appeared somewhat exaggerated, it had not gone beyond the limits of acceptable criticism, as he had been seeking a way to convey his indignation at the actions of the male warders who had taken it upon themselves examine a female lawyer’s clothing in breach of the requirements of Russian law for searches or inspections to be carried out by persons of the same sex. In sum, the applicant had not gone beyond the limits of acceptable criticism. His statement had rested on a sufficient factual basis and the City Court had not based its decision on an acceptable assessment of the relevant facts.
Lastly, in the light of the foregoing factors, the sanction imposed on the applicant, though negligible in financial terms, was not justified and the institution of defamation proceedings against him had been capable of having a deterrent effect on his freedom of expression.
Conclusion: violation (unanimously).
Article 41: no claim made in respect of damage.

4977/05 – Legal Summary, [2013] ECHR 480
Bailii
European Convention on Human Rights

Human Rights, Prisons, Defamation, Legal Professions

Updated: 12 November 2021; Ref: scu.510784

Spiller 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 comment defence was re-instated. The phrase ‘honest comment’ should now be used to reflect the nature of the fair comment defence. The obiter description of the defence by Lord Nicholls in Tse Wai Chun that for the defence to succeed, sufficient particulars of the facts were to be provided, was not supported and should not be followed. It remained the case that the publisher must identify them in general and sufficiently to allow a reader to understand what the comment was about and what had led to it.
The court discussed the need for reform, possibly extending the scope of the defence, and for removing jury trials in defamation cases.

Lord Phillips, President, Lord Rodger, Lord Walker, Lord Brown, Sir John Dyson, SCJ
[2010] UKSC 53, UKSC 2009/0210, [2010] WLR (D) 310, [2010] 3 WLR 1791, [2011] 1 All ER 947, [2011] ICR 1, [2011] EMLR 11
Bailii, SC Summary, SC, WLRD, Bailii Summary
Defamation Act 1952 6, European Convention on Human Rights 10
England and Wales
Citing:
At First InstanceJoseph and Others v Spiller and Another QBD 22-May-2009
. .
Appeal fromJoseph and Others v Spiller and Another CA 22-Oct-2009
The claimants, members of a rock band, alleged defamation by the defendants on their web-site. The defendants provided booking services. They said that the claimants were unreliable in failing to meet their contractual obligations. Their terms . .
CriticisedMyerson v Smith’s Weekly 1923
(New South Wales) The court considered the distinction between fact and comment. Ferguson J said: ‘To say that a man’s conduct was dishonourable is not comment, it is a statement of fact. To say that he did certain specific things and that his . .
CitedSlim v Daily Telegraph Ltd CA 1968
Courts to Settle upon a single meaning if disputed
The ‘single meaning’ rule adopted in the law of defamation is in one sense highly artificial, given the range of meanings the impugned words sometimes bear. The law of defamation ‘has passed beyond redemption by the courts’. Where in a libel action . .
CitedBrent 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 . .
LimitedTse Wai Chun Paul v Albert Cheng 13-Nov-2000
(Court of Final Appeal of Hong Kong) For the purposes of the defence to defamation of fair comment: ‘The comment must explicitly or implicitly indicate, at least in general terms, what are the facts on which the comment is being made. The reader or . .
CitedCooper v Lawson 5-Nov-1838
Case for libel. The alleged libel stated that plaintiff, a tradesman in London became surety for the petitioner on the Berwick Election Petition, and stated himself, on oath, to be sufficiently qualified in point of property, when he was not in fact . .
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 . .
CitedKemsley v Foot HL 25-Feb-1952
Fair Comment Crticism of Newspaper Publisher
The plaintiff alleged that the headline to an article written by the defendant which criticised the behaviour of the Beaverbrook Press, and which read ‘Lower than Kemsley’ was defamatory. The defendant pleaded fair comment. The plaintiff appealed. . .
CitedMerivale v Carson CA 1887
A published criticism of a play made reference to one of the characters being ‘a naughty wife’, though in fact there was no adulterous wife in the play.
Held: The defence of fair comment is open to a commentator however prejudiced he might be, . .
CitedHunt v Star Newspaper Co Ltd CA 1908
The defendant’s publication imputed to the plaintiff improper conduct in the discharge of his duties as a deputy returning officer at a municipal election. The defendant pleaded fair comment.
Held: The complaint related to allegations of fact . .
CitedKemsley v Foot CA 14-Dec-1950
Pleading of Fair Comment Defence
The plaintiff newspaper proprietor complained that the defendant had defamed him in a publication ‘The Tribune’ with a headline to an article ‘Lower than Hemsley’ which article otherwise had no connection with the plaintiff. He said it suggested . .
CitedDakhyl v Labouchere HL 1908
(Note) The plaintiff complained of a publication by the defendant that he was a ‘quack of the rankest species’.
Held: Lord Atkinson said that a personal attack could form part of a fair comment on facts stated provided that it was a reasonable . .
CitedMcQuire v Western Morning News Co Ltd CA 1903
The paper had carried an article with a swingeing condemnation of a musical. It defended the defamation action claiming fair comment.
Held: Collins MR said that there was no evidence of actual malice, no personal imputations and no allegations . .
CitedSutherland v Stopes HL 1925
Dr Marie Stopes failed in her attempt to reverse the verdict against her in libel proceedings she had brought in relation to a book which criticised what it called her ‘monstrous campaign of birth control’ and opined, looking back to the events of . .
CitedAdams v Sunday Pictorial Newspapers (1920) Ltd and Champion CA 1951
The court was asked whether interrogatories should be ordered in relation to the question of whether a defendant who was relying on the defence of fair comment had been activated by malice.
Held: Lord Justice Denning said: ‘The truth is that . .
CitedCohen v Daily Telegraph CA 1968
The defendant newspaper pleaded, as matters on which its publication was alleged to be fair comment, facts that had occurred some weeks after the publication. These were struck out and the defendant appealed.
Held: The appeal failed. A . .
CitedLondon Artists Ltd v Littler CA 10-Dec-1968
The defence of fair comment on matters of public interest is not to be defined too closely. Lord Denning MR said: ‘Whenever a matter is such as to affect people at large, so that they may be legitimately interested in, or concerned at, what is going . .
CitedBrent 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 . .
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 . .
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 . .
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 . .
PuzzlingAga Khan v Times Publishing Co CA 1924
. .
CitedNilsen and Johnsen v Norway ECHR 25-Nov-1999
The court considered a complaint that the Norwegian defamation law interfered with the applicant’s freedom of speech, and placed an unfair burden of proof on them in defending themselves. One of the defamatory phrases under consideration was . .
CitedSorguc v Turkey ECHR 23-Jun-2009
Freedom of speech may be restricted in order to protect reputation where this is necessary in a democratic society to meet a pressing social need. Thus a test of proportionality has to be applied. In applying that test there is a significant . .
CitedKarako v Hungary ECHR 28-Apr-2009
In an election campaign an opponent of the claimant politician had said in a flyer that he was in the habit of putting the interests of his electors second. The applicant accused his opponent of criminal libel, but the prosecutor’s office terminated . .
CitedJerusalem v Austria ECHR 27-Feb-2001
Hudoc Judgment (Merits and just satisfaction) Violation of Art. 10; Not necessary to examine Art. 6-1; Non-pecuniary damage – finding of violation sufficient; Costs and expenses award – domestic proceedings; . .
CitedHrico v Slovakia ECHR 20-Jul-2004
Hudoc Judgment (Merits and just satisfaction) Violation of Art. 10 ; Pecuniary damage – financial award ; Non-pecuniary damage – financial award ; Costs and expenses partial award
There is little scope under . .
CitedLindon, Otchakovsky-Laurens and July v France ECHR 22-Oct-2007
ECHR (Grand Chamber) The court emphasised the public interest in protecting the reputation of those in public life. Regardless of the forcefulness of political struggles, it is legitimate to try to ensure that . .

Cited by:
CitedBaturina v Times Newspapers Ltd CA 23-Mar-2011
The claimant appealed against directions given in her defamation action against the defendant. It had been said that she owned a house, and the defendant said that this was not defamatory. The claimant said that as the wife of the Mayor of Moscow . .
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 . .
CitedRobins v Kordowski and Another QBD 22-Jul-2011
robins_kordQBD11
The claimant solicitor said he had been defamed on the first defendant’s website (‘Solicitors from Hell’) by the second defendant. The first defendant now applied to set aside judgment entered by default. The claimant additionally sought summary . .
See AlsoJoseph and Others v Spiller and Another QBD 26-Oct-2012
. .
See AlsoJoseph and Others v Spiller and Another QBD 20-Nov-2012
Costs after finding in favour of claimants but with merely nominal damages. Tugendhat J explained that his decision to award only nominal damages was because he had concluded ‘it would be an affront to justice if [the claimant] were to be awarded . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Defamation, Human Rights

Updated: 12 November 2021; Ref: scu.426899

Islam 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 words complained of were capable of being taken as references to the claimant. A reader clicking on the link given would be capable of making the connection between those referred to in the two articles.

Tugendhat J
[2010] EWHC 2011 (QB)
Bailii
England and Wales
Citing:
CitedHird 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. . .
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 . .
CitedCrookes v Wikimedia Foundation Inc 27-Oct-2008
(Supreme Court of British Columbia) The claimant sought damages in defamation from an article published by the defendant on the internet. The court was asked whether the contents of an article to which a hyper-link was provided should be taken into . .
CitedAli v Associated Newspapers Ltd QBD 27-Jan-2010
The claimant sought damages in defamation, saying that a combination of publications identified him.
Held: Eady J briefly discussed the effect of hyperlinks in the context of a dispute about meaning or reference in a defamation case. . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Defamation

Updated: 12 November 2021; Ref: scu.421262

Hedley v Barlow and Another: QBD 1865

Public Interest Discussion Can Excuse Defamation

The right of free discussion on a subject of public interest excuses the pubication of defamatory matter, provided it appears to have been published not in that unfair or improper spirit – that is in the spirit of intemperate and inconsiderate imputation, which implies malice in a legal sense – but in the spirit of fair discussion. And the right of free discussion extends to comments in a journal upon sworn evidence given on a subject of public interest, even to the extent of imputing that such evidence is unfounded, or even unfounded or careless, but if it is imputed, apparently without any fair foundation, that it is wilfully, ‘maliciously,’ or ‘recklessly’ false, then there is an excess, which is evidence of what the law deems malice, and which takes away the protection or excuse arising from the exercise of the right of free discussion.

Cockburn CJ
[1865] EngR 23, (1865) 4 F and F 225, (1865) 176 ER 541
Commonlii
England and Wales
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.

Defamation

Leading Case

Updated: 11 November 2021; Ref: scu.280935

Adam 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 defendant, to write a letter to General Scobell, which was released to the press, vindicating him and in turn containing defamatory statements about the plaintiff.
Held: The letter was protected by qualified privilege. It was for the judge to decide whether there is any evidence of express malice fit to be left to the jury – that is, whether there is any evidence on which a reasonable man could find malice. Otherwise it is for the judge to determine whether the privilege applies. The defence of qualified privilege is based on public policy. It is usually analysed in terms of duty and interest.
Lord Dunedin said that the proper rule as respects irrelevant defamatory matter incorporated in a statement made on a privileged occasion is to treat it as one of the factors to be taken into consideration in deciding whether, in all the circumstances, an inference that the defendant was actuated by express malice can properly be drawn.
Lord Atkinson discussed the test for privilege: ‘It was not disputed, in this case on either side, that a privileged occasion is, in reference to qualified privilege, an occasion where the person who makes a communication has an interest or a duty, legal, social, or moral, to make it to the person to whom it is made and the person to whom it is so made has a corresponding interest or duty to receive it. This reciprocity is essential. Nor is it disputed that a privileged communication — a phrase often used loosely to describe a privileged occasion and vice versa — is a communication made upon an occasion which rebuts the prima facie presumption of malice arising from a false and defamatory statement prejudicial to the character of the plaintiff, and puts the latter to proof that there was malice in fact.’ and
After citingthe authorities: ‘These . . in my view clearly establish that a person making a communication on a privileged occasion is not restricted to the use of such language merely as is reasonably necessary to protect the interest or discharge the duty which is the foundation of his privilege; but that, on the contrary, he will be protected, even though his language should be violent or excessively strong, if, having regard to all the circumstances of the case, he might have honestly and on reasonable grounds believed that what he wrote or said was true or necessary for the purpose of his vindication, though in fact it was not so.’
Lord Loreburn said: ‘I understand the law to be as follows: It is for the judge alone to rule whether or not there is an occasion of privilege, and the rule on that subject was laid down many years ago in the case of Toogood v Spyring. Subsequent decisions have illustrated the rule, but the fact that an occasion is privileged does not necessarily protect all that is said or written on that occasion. Anything that is not relevant and pertinent to the discharge of the duty or the exercise of the right or the safeguarding of the interest which creates the privilege will not be protected. To say that foreign matter will not be protected is another way of saying the same thing.’
Lord Shaw of Dunfermline said: ‘Privileged, however, as the occasion might be, it was contended that the communication went beyond the occasion and so was not protected by privilege. I humbly think that this is a more correct way of stating the proposition than is usually adopted. Privilege is a term which is applied in a two senses. There is a privileged occasion, and there is also said to be a privileged communication. The former expression is correct; the latter, strictly viewed, tends to error. What is meant with regard to a privileged occasion is that it was protected as being within the scope of the privilege attaching to the occasion. The occasion is privileged, the communication is protected.
If, accordingly, and in so far as the communication deals with matter not in any reasonable sense germane to the subject-matter of the occasion, the protection is gone: the occasion with its privilege does not reach a communication upon this foreign and totally unconnected matter.’
Lord Finlay LC said: ‘If the communication was made in pursuance of a duty or on a matter in which there was a common interest on the party making and the party receiving it, the occasion is said to be privileged. This privilege is only qualified and may be rebutted by proof of express malice.’

Lord Finlay LC, Lord Atkinson, Lord Dunedin, Lord Loreburn, Lord Shaw of Dunfermline
[1917] AC 309, [1917] AC 309, [1917] All ER 151, [1917] AC 309, [1916-17] All ER 157, 86 LJKB 849
England and Wales
Cited by:
CitedDowntex v Flatley CA 2-Oct-2003
The claimants sought damages for defamation and breach of contract. The claimants had purchased a business from the defendant, which contract included a clause requiring the defendant to say nothing damaging about the business. The defendant . .
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 . .
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 . .
CitedKingshott 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 . .
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 . .
CitedMalik v Newspost Ltd and others QBD 20-Dec-2007
The claimant, a politician, sought damages after another local politician accused him of using physical intimidation at elections. The defendant claimed a Reynolds privilege.
Held: This was not investigative journalism, and ‘There is no doubt . .
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 . .
CitedClift v Slough Borough Council and Another QBD 6-Jul-2009
clift_sloughQBD09
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 . .
CitedWatts v Times Newspapers Ltd, Neil, Palmer and Schilling and Lom CA 28-Jul-1995
The plaintiff author had claimed damages for defamation, saying that he had been accused of plagiarism. An apology had been given in the form requested – no qualified privilege. The plaintiff brought an associated case against his lawyer, saying . .
CitedPrebble 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 . .
CitedFlood v Times Newspapers Ltd CA 13-Jul-2010
The claimant police officer complained of an article he said was defamatory in saying he was being investigated for allegations of accepting bribes. The article remained on the internet even after he was cleared. Each party appealed interim orders. . .
CitedClift v Slough Borough Council CA 21-Dec-2010
The court was asked how, if at all, the Human Rights Act 1998 has affected a local authority’s defence of qualified privilege in defamation cases. The claimant had been placed on the Council’s Violent Persons Register after becoming very upset and . .
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

Leading Case

Updated: 11 November 2021; Ref: scu.186629

Derbyshire 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 supported the decision to lay down the specific rule that a local authority could not sue for libel. The same disability does not apply to the authority’s individual members: ‘The authorities cited above clearly establish that a trading corporation is entitled to sue in respect of defamatory matters which can be seen as having a tendency to damage it in the way of its business. Examples are those that go to credit such as might deter banks from lending to it, or to the conditions experienced by its employees, which might impede the recruitment of the best qualified workers, or make people reluctant to deal with it. The South Hetton Coal Co case [1894] 1 QB 133 would appear to be an instance of the latter kind, and not, as suggested by Browne J, an authority for the view that a trading corporation can sue for something that does not affect it adversely in the way of its business. The trade union cases are understandable upon the view that defamatory matter may adversely affect the union’s ability to keep its members or attract new ones or to maintain a convincing attitude towards employers. Likewise in the case of a charitable organisation the effect may be to discourage subscribers or otherwise impair its ability to carry on its charitable objects. Similar considerations can no doubt be advanced in connection with the position of a local authority. Defamatory statements might make it more difficult to borrow or to attract suitable staff and thus affect adversely the efficient carrying out of its functions.’
As to article 10: ‘As regards the words ‘necessary in a democratic society’ in connection with the restrictions on the right to freedom of expression which may properly be prescribed by law, the jurisprudence of the European Court of Human Rights has established that ‘necessary’ requires the existence of a pressing social need, and that the restrictions should be no more than is proportionate to the legitimate aim pursued.’ (Lord Keith of Kinkel)

Lord Keith of Kinkel, Lord Griffiths, Lord Goff of Chieveley, Lord Browne-Wilkinson, Lord Woolf
Gazette 07-Apr-1993, [1993] AC 534, [1993] UKHL 18, [1992] UKHL 6, [1992] QB 770, [1992] 3 WLR 28, [1993] 1 All ER 1011
Bailii, Bailii
European Convention on Human Rights 10
England and Wales
Citing:
Appeal fromDerbyshire 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 . .
ApprovedAttorney-General v Guardian Newspapers Ltd (No 2) (‘Spycatcher’) HL 13-Oct-1988
Loss of Confidentiality Protection – public domain
A retired secret service employee sought to publish his memoirs from Australia. The British government sought to restrain publication there, and the defendants sought to report those proceedings, which would involve publication of the allegations . .
At First InstanceDerbyshire 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, . .
CitedSouth 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.
CitedNational Union of General and Municipal Workers v Gillian 1946
A non-trading corporation (a trade union) which had been assimilated to a trading corporation sought damages for defamation. . .
CitedThe Metropolitan Saloon Omnibus Company v Hawkins CEC 2-Dec-1858
The plaintiff, a company incorporated under the Joint Stock Companies Act 1856 sued in respect of a libel imputing to it insolvency, mismanagement and dishonest carrying on of its affairs.
Held: The action was maintainable. Pollock CB said: . .
CitedManchester Corporation v Williams QBD 1891
The defendant wrote to a newspaper alleging that ‘in the case of two if not three departments of our Manchester city council, bribery and corruption have existed and done their nefarious work.’
Held: The claim disclosed no cause of action. A . .
CitedHector v Attorney General of Antigua PC 1990
Lord Bridge of Harwich said that: ‘In a free democratic society it is almost too obvious to need stating that those who hold office in government and who are responsible for public administration must always be open to criticism. Any attempt to . .

Cited by:
CitedRegina v Her Majesty’s Attorney General ex parte Rusbridger and Another HL 26-Jun-2003
Limit to Declaratory Refilef as to Future Acts
The applicant newspaper editor wanted to campaign for a republican government. Articles were published, and he sought confirmation that he would not be prosecuted under the Act, in the light of the 1998 Act.
Held: Declaratory relief as to the . .
CitedWainwright and another v Home Office HL 16-Oct-2003
The claimant and her son sought to visit her other son in Leeds Prison. He was suspected of involvement in drugs, and therefore she was subjected to strip searches. There was no statutory support for the search. The son’s penis had been touched . .
CitedDirector of Public Prosecutions v Jones and Lloyd HL 4-Mar-1999
21 people protested peacefully on the verge of the A344, next to the perimeter fence at Stonehenge. Some carried banners saying ‘Never Again,’ ‘Stonehenge Campaign 10 years of Criminal Injustice’ and ‘Free Stonehenge.’ The officer in charge . .
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 . .
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 . .
CitedRegina v Secretary of State for The Home Department Ex Parte Simms HL 8-Jul-1999
Ban on Prisoners talking to Journalists unlawful
The two prisoners, serving life sentences for murder, had had their appeals rejected. They continued to protest innocence, and sought to bring their campaigns to public attention through the press, having oral interviews with journalists without . .
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 . .
CitedLivingstone v The Adjudication Panel for England Admn 19-Oct-2006
The claimant challenged a finding that as Mayor of London offensive remarks he had made to a journalist as he was pursued leaving a private party had brought his office into disrepute.
Held: The appeal succeeded. Though the remarks may have . .
CitedCallaghan v Independent News and Media Ltd QBNI 7-Jan-2009
callaghan_inmQBNI2009
The claimant was convicted in 1987 of a callous sexual murder. He sought an order preventing the defendant newspaper publishing anything to allow his or his family’s identification and delay his release. The defendant acknowledged the need to avoid . .
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 . .
CitedMohamed, Regina (on the Application of) v Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (No 4) Admn 4-Feb-2009
In an earlier judgment, redactions had been made relating to reports by the US government of its treatment of the claimant when held by them at Guantanamo bay. The claimant said he had been tortured and sought the documents to support his defence of . .
CitedPrebble 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 . .
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 . .
CitedKelly (A Minor) v British Broadcasting Corporation FD 25-Jul-2000
K, aged 16, had left home to join what was said to be a religious sect. His whereabouts were unknown. He had been made a ward of court and the Official Solicitor was appointed to represent his interests. He had sent messages to say that he was well . .
CitedGoldsmith and Another v Bhoyrul and Others QBD 20-Jun-1997
A political party is not to have the power to sue in defamation proceedings. Such a power would operate against public policy in that it would restrict democratic debate.
Buckley J said that the principle that a local authority may not sue in . .
CitedTilbrook v Parr QBD 13-Jul-2012
The claimant, chair of a political party, the English Democrats, said that a blog written and published on the Internet by the defendant was defamatory and contained malicious falsehoods. The blog was said to associate the claimant’s party with . .
CitedLord Carlile of Berriew QC, and Others, Regina (on The Application of) v Secretary of State for The Home Department SC 12-Nov-2014
The claimant had supported the grant of a visa to a woman in order to speak to members of Parliament who was de facto leader of an Iranian organsation which had in the past supported terrorism and had been proscribed in the UK, but that proscription . .
CitedKennedy v The Charity Commission SC 26-Mar-2014
The claimant journalist sought disclosure of papers acquired by the respondent in its conduct of enquiries into the charitable Mariam appeal. The Commission referred to an absolute exemption under section 32(2) of the 2000 Act, saying that the . .
CitedTimes Newspapers Ltd and Others v Flood and Others SC 11-Apr-2017
Three newspaper publishers, having lost defamation cases, challenged the levels of costs awarded against them, saying that the levels infringed their own rights of free speech.
Held: Each of the three appeals was dismissed. . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Defamation, Local Government, Human Rights

Leading Case

Updated: 11 November 2021; Ref: scu.79925

S Ltd v C Ltd: ComC 27 Feb 2009

Defamation allegation not subject to arbitration

The parties had an agreement referring disputes between them to arbitration. One party raised an allegation of defamation, but the arbitrator refused jurisdiction. The parties had chosen the London Metal Exchange for its expertise in metals trading, not defamation.
Held: The choice of the LME did indicate the intention of the parties, but it was not determinative. However: ‘The simple question is whether there is the connection between the contracts and the matters said to give rise to the tort.’ and ‘it is unlikely that it the parties to the contract are to be taken to have intended that this sort of distinction should mean that claims of this sort relating to past conduct should go to the Tribunal but defamatory inferences of the sort said to have been made in the LME letter should go to another Tribunal. I am therefore persuaded, although it is nearer the line, that the arbitration agreements cover the claim of the defamation said to have been made in the LME letter.’

Andrew Smith J
[2009] EWHC B23 (Comm)
Bailii
Arbitration Act 1996 67
England and Wales
Citing:
CitedAstro Vencedor Compania Naviera SA v Mabanaft GmbH CA 1971
For an arbitration clause in a contract between parties to be used to enforce arbitration of a tortious claim, the tortious claim must arise out of the contractual matters. In this case damages were sought for the wrongful arrest of a ship in . .
CitedAggeliki Charis Compania Maritima SA v Pagnan SpA – The Angelic Grace CA 1995
On the charterers’ orders the Angelic Grace was required to tie up alongside another vessel which they owned. Whilst unloading the weather turned and the vessels collided. Each blamed the other and the owners claimed a salvage. The court considered . .
CitedPremium Nafta Products Ltd (20th Defendant) and others v Fili Shipping Company Ltd and others; Fiona Trust and Holding Corporation v Privalov HL 17-Oct-2007
The owners of a ship sought to rescind charters saying that they had been procured by bribery.
Held: A claim to rescind a contract by reason of bribery fell within the scope of an arbitration clause under which the parties had agreed to refer . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Arbitration, Defamation

Updated: 11 November 2021; Ref: scu.375623

Goldsmith v Sperrings Ltd: CA 1977

Claims for Collateral Purpose treated as abuse

The plaintiff commenced proceedings for damages for libel and an injunction against the publishers, the editors and the main distributors of Private Eye. In addition, he issued writs against a large number of other wholesale and retail distributors of the paper for the same relief. Some of the distributors applied for an order that the actions against them should be stayed or dismissed as an abuse of process of the court on the ground that the plaintiff’s purpose in pursuing the actions against them was not to protect his reputation but for the collateral purpose of destroying the paper by cutting off its retail outlets.
Held: (Lord Denning MR dissenting) A court may prevent an abuse of process when that process is predominantly being used as a means of obtaining an advantage for which the proceedings were not intended.
Lord Denning MR (dissenting) said: ‘In a civilised society, legal process is the machinery for keeping and doing justice. It can be used properly or it can be abused. It is used properly when it is invoked for the vindication of men’s rights or the enforcement of just claims. It is abused when it is diverted from its true course so as to serve extortion or oppression: or to exert pressure so as to achieve an improper end. When [the process of the court] is so abused, it is a tort, a wrong known to the law. The judges can and will intervene to stop it. They will stay the legal process, it they can, before any harm is done. It they cannot stop it in time, and harm is done, they will give damages against the wrongdoer . . Sometimes abuse can be shown by the very steps being taken in the courts . . At other times the abuse can only be shown by extrinsic evidence that the legal process is being used for and improper purpose. On the face of it, in any particular case, the legal process may appear to be entirely proper and correct. What may make it wrongful is the purpose for which it is used.’ and
‘A criminal libel is so serious that the offender should be punished for it by the state itself. He should either be sent to prison or made to pay a fine to the state itself. Whereas a civil libel does not come up to that degree of enormity.’
and ‘The distributors of newspapers and periodicals are nothing more than conduit pipes in the channel of distribution. They have nothing whatever to do with the contents. They do not read them – there is no time to do so. Common sense and fairness require that no subordinate distributor – from top to bottom – should be held liable for a libel contained in it unless he knew or ought to have known that the newspaper or periodical contained a libel on the plaintiff himself: that is to say, that it contained a libel on the plaintiff which could not be justified or excused: and I should have thought that it was for the plaintiff to prove this. And the Restatement bears this out: see Restatement, Torts 1965 Supplement, section 581, Comment. I have read every case cited in the textbooks on this subject and I find that a subordinate distributor has never been held liable to a plaintiff except when prior knowledge of the libel has been brought home to him.’
Scarman LJ said: ‘to pass judgment on the respondent’s purpose upon a preliminary application, [to] prevent him bringing to trial actions in each of which . . he is pleading a cause of action recognised by the law. It is right, therefore, that to obtain before trial the summary arrest of a plaintiff’s proceedings as an abuse of the process of the court, the task of satisfying the court that a stay should be imposed is, and should be seen to be, a heavy one.
Unless the court is satisfied, a stay is a denial of justice by the court – a situation totally intolerable . . the defendants have to show that the plaintiff seeks a collateral advantage for himself beyond what the law offers. In a phrase, the plaintiff’s purpose has to be shown to be not that which the law by granting a remedy offers to fulfil, but one which the law does not recognise as a legitimate use of the remedy sought, see In re Marjory.’
Bridge LJ said: ‘For the purpose of [the] general rule, what is meant by a ‘collateral advantage’? The phrase manifestly cannot embrace every advantage sought or obtained by a litigant which it is beyond the court’s power to grant him. Actions are settled quite properly every day on terms which a court could not itself impose upon an unwilling defendant. An apology in libel, an agreement to adhere to a contract of which the court could not order specific performance, an agreement after obstruction of an existing right of way to grant an alternative right of way over the defendant’s land – these are a few obvious examples of such proper settlements. In my judgment, one can certainly go so far as to say that when a litigant sues to redress a grievance no object which he may seek to obtain can be condemned as a collateral advantage if it is reasonably related to the provision of some form of redress for that grievance. On the other hand, if it can be shown that a litigant is pursuing an ulterior purpose unrelated to the subject matter of the litigation and that, but for his ulterior purpose, he would not have commenced proceedings at all, that is an abuse of process. These two cases are plain; but there is, I think, a difficult area in between. What if a litigant with a genuine cause of action, which he would wish to pursue in any event, can be shown also to have an ulterior purpose in view as a desired by product of the litigation? Can he on that ground be debarred from proceeding? I very much doubt it. But on the view I take of the facts in this case the question does not arise and it is neither necessary nor desirable to try to lay down a precise criterion in the abstract.’

Denning MR, Scarman LJ, Bridge LJ
[1977] 1 WLR 478, [1977] 2 All ER 566
England and Wales
Citing:
CitedShackleton v Swift CA 1913
The Act gave special protection to officers and others acting under its powers in cases where, although they might have misconstrued the Act, and although they might have done things which they had no jurisdiction to do, they had acted in good faith . .
CitedGrainger v Hill CEC 1838
Misuse of Power for ulterior object
D1 and D2 lent C 80 pounds repayable in 1837, secured by a mortgage on C’s vessel. C was to be free to continue to use the vessel in the interim but the law forbade its use if he were to cease to hold its register. In 1836 the Ds became concerned . .
CitedIn re Marjory 1955
Lord Evershed said: ‘ . . court proceedings may not be used or threatened for the purpose of obtaining for the person so using for threatening them some collateral advantage to himself, and not for the purpose for which such proceedings are properly . .

Cited by:
CitedBushell and Others, Regina (on the Application of) v Newcastle Licensing Justices and others Admn 31-Jul-2003
The claimants objected to a forced transfer of an unused justices on-line for the benefit of the licencee applicants. The licensees had first been refused a licence for certain premises, but then requested and were given transfer of an obsolete . .
CitedPitman Training Ltd and Another v Nominet UK and Another ChD 22-May-1997
The defendant had received a request to register the domain name ‘pitman.co.uk’ from the claimants, who held the trade mark. The domain was not activated, and was de-registered by the defendants and then re-registered by another company. Action was . .
CitedBalkanbank v Naser Taher and Others QBD 13-Feb-1995
The plaintiff had obtained a worldwide Mareva injunction, giving an undertaking for damages. On its discharge, the defendants sought to make a counterclaim. The defendant company and its subsidiaries sought to counterclaim for their damages suffered . .
CitedHm Attorney General v Gleaves Admn 9-Mar-1999
The defendant had been made subject to a civil proceedings order but had begun criminal prosecutions from his prison cell against journalists.
Held: The civil restraint order did not prevent the defendant commencing criminal actions. A . .
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 . .
CitedBroxton v McClelland CA 31-Jan-1995
The defendants issued various applications to strike out the claim, including a claim of abuse of process. The action was being financially maintained by a third party. The defendants contended that the maintainer’s purpose was to oppress and . .
CitedLand Securities Plc and Others v Fladgate Fielder (A Firm) CA 18-Dec-2009
The claimants wanted planning permission to redevelop land. The defendant firm of solicitors, their tenants, had challenged the planning permission. The claimants alleged that that opposition was a tortious abuse because its true purpose was to . .
CitedHays Plc v Hartley QBD 17-May-2010
hays_hartleyQBD10
Mr Hartley operated a news agency, and provided to the publisher of the Sunday Mirror, MGN Ltd, allegations of racism that had been levelled at the claimant company by former employees. The allegations were reported in an article headed ”KKK . .
CitedStobart Group Ltd and Others v Elliott QBD 11-Apr-2013
The defendant applied to the court for various officers of the cliamant companies to be subject to contempt proceedings. The claimants asked the court to strike of the defendant’s counterclaim and to make a civil restraint order against him. There . .
CitedThe Co-Operative Bank Plc v Phillips ChD 21-Aug-2014
coop_phillipsChD1408
The bank had brought possession proceedings against the defendant under two legal charges securing personal guarantees. The proceedings had been abandoned, but the court now was asked whether costs for the defendant should be on the standard or . .
CitedIesini and Others v Westrip Holdings Ltd and Others ChD 16-Oct-2009
The claimants were shareholders in Westrip, accusing the Defendant directors of deliberately engaging in a course of conduct which has led to Westrip losing ownership and control of a very valuable mining licence and which, but for their . .
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.

Litigation Practice, Defamation

Leading Case

Updated: 11 November 2021; Ref: scu.186023

Bolton v O’Brien: 11 Jan 1885

On a motion for a new trial in a claim in defamation, a majority of the court held that passages in the same newspaper which were not complained of might be adduced in evidence to illustrate the meaning of the passages complained of. At the trial, both counsel had read and commented on the various passages without objection.
May CJ said: ‘I have reason to think that Mr. Justice O’Brien entertains doubts as to the legal propriety of adducing in evidence other passages in the same newspaper in order to illustrate the meaning of the passages charged to be libellous. I cannot say that I concur in those doubts. If the language be ambiguous as to the nature of the felony imputed in this particular passage, it appears to me that other passages in the same newspaper, by the same person, dealing with these matters are properly admissible in order to remove such ambiguity.’
O’Brien J dissented, saying that such passages other than those complained of were not evidence to affect the defamatory sense unless ‘directly referred to, and in that way virtually made part of the libel.’

May CJ, O’Brien J
(1885) QB Div vol XVI LR Ir 97
England and Wales
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.

Defamation

Leading Case

Updated: 11 November 2021; Ref: scu.408770

Skuse 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 material complained of the natural and ordinary meaning which it would have conveyed to the ordinary reasonable viewer, and assume that that hypothetical reasonable viewer is not unduly naive, nor unduly suspicious, but can read between the lines and read in an implication more readily than a lawyer; that he may indulge in a certain amount of loose thinking, but that he must be treated as being a man who is not avid for scandal and someone who would not select one bad meaning when other non-defamatory meanings are available.
Sir Thomas Bingham MR said: ‘While limiting its attention to what the defendant has actually said or written, the court should be cautious of an over-elaborate analysis of the material in issue.’ In general ‘A statement should be taken to be defamatory if it would tend to lower the plaintiff in the estimation of right-thinking members of society generally or would be likely to affect a person adversely in the estimation of reasonable people generally.’

Sir Thomas Bingham MR, Beldam LJ, Kennedy LJ
Independent 02-Apr-1993, [1996] EMLR 278, [1993] EWCA Civ 34
Bailii
England and Wales
Citing:
CitedHartt 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 . .
CitedLewis v Daily Telegraph Ltd HL 1964
Ascertaining Meaning of Words for Defamation
The Daily Telegraph had published an article headed ‘Inquiry on Firm by City Police’ and the Daily Mail had published an article headed ‘Fraud Squad Probe Firm’. The plaintiffs claimed that those articles carried the meaning that they were guilty of . .
CitedSlim v Daily Telegraph Ltd CA 1968
Courts to Settle upon a single meaning if disputed
The ‘single meaning’ rule adopted in the law of defamation is in one sense highly artificial, given the range of meanings the impugned words sometimes bear. The law of defamation ‘has passed beyond redemption by the courts’. Where in a libel action . .
CitedHartt 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 . .

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 . .
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 . .
CitedHinduja and Another v Asia TV Limited CA 25-Nov-1997
The procedure for determining whether words were defamatory was intended to be summary; appeals are to be discouraged. The new rule was intended to lay down a swift and inexpensive procedure in chambers to eliminate meanings which the words are . .
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 . .
CitedBonnick v Morris, The Gleaner Company Ltd and Allen PC 17-Jun-2002
(Jamaica) The appellant sought damages from the respondent journalists in defamation. They had claimed qualified privilege. The words alleged to be defamatory were ambiguous.
Held: The publishers were protected by Reynolds privilege. The court . .
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 . .
CitedCobbold v London Borough of Greenwich CA 9-Aug-1999
The tenant had sought an order against the council landlord for failure to repair her dwelling. The defendant appealed refusal of leave to amend the pleadings in anticipation of the trial, now due to start on the following day.
Held: Leave was . .
CitedBond v British Broadcasting Corporation QBD 19-Mar-2009
The court set out to establish the natural and ordinary meanings to be attached to the words complained of in a defamation action, and found defamatory meanings under Chase two principles. . .
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 . .
CitedBudu v The British Broadcasting Corporation QBD 23-Mar-2010
budu_bbcQBD2010
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 . .
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 . .
CitedHorlick v Associated Newspapers Ltd QBD 24-Jun-2010
The court was asked for preliminary rulings as to meanings in a defamation action. She complained of articles regarding the failure of a business enterprise.
Held: The court’s task is well settled: ‘The judge should give the relevant article . .
CitedWright v Gregson and Others QBD 1-Jul-2010
The defendant denied that the words complained of were bore the defamatory meaning alleged, and asked the court to rule accordingly and to strike out he claim. He complained of comments about his intentions for the use of money raised for charitable . .
CitedWatkins v Woolas QBD 5-Nov-2010
The petitioner said that in the course of the election campaign, the respondent Labour candidate had used illegal practices in the form of deliberately misleading and racially inflammatory material.
Held: The claim succeeded, and the election . .
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 . .
CitedAuladin v Shaikh and Others QBD 5-Feb-2013
The court set out to settle the precise defamatory meanings alleged. Trustees of an Education Centre had appointed a relative of three existing trustees to join them. The claimant chairman resigned, objecting to what he said was poor governence. The . .
CitedTesla Motors Ltd and Another v British Broadcasting Corporation QBD 28-Oct-2011
The claimant company manufactured electric cars. They claimed that a review of a car on the defendant’s programme ‘Top Gear’ included malicious falsehoods and was defamatory.
Held: The defamatory meanings claimed could not properly be . .
CitedTesla Motors Ltd and Another v British Broadcasting Corporation QBD 23-Feb-2012
The claimant, manufacturer of electric cars, complained of a review of its car on ‘Top Gear’. It’s pleaded meanings had been rejected, and it now sought leave to amend its pleading to add new alleged defamatory meanings. . .
CitedTesla Motors Ltd and Another v British Broadcasting Corporation CA 5-Mar-2013
The claimant said that the defendant, in its Top Gear programme in a review of its car, caused it damage through malicious falsehood and defamation. They appealed against a finding that the words used were incapable of bearing the defamatory . .
CitedRufus v Elliott QBD 1-Nov-2013
rufus_elliottQBD2013
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 . .
CitedUppal v Endemol UK Ltd and Others QBD 9-Apr-2014
The claimant alleged defamation by other contestants at the time when she was participating in the defendants’ TV show, Big Brother. The defendants had broadcast the material. The defendant now sought a ruling that the words complained of were not . .
CitedHayden v Associated Newspapers Ltd QBD 11-Mar-2020
The claimant alleged defamation by the defendant, and the court now considered the meanings of the words complained of. Another person had been held by police for seven hours after identifying the claimant as a transgendered man.
Held: The . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Defamation

Leading Case

Updated: 11 November 2021; Ref: scu.89302

McGrath and Another v Dawkins and Others: CA 5 Feb 2013

The claimant appealed against a finding that the defendant Amazon was bound to succeed in its defence under the 2002 Regulations against the claim in defamation, and that the claim should be dismissed as an abuse of process under Jameel. He had constructed a series of false adverse reviews of the claimant’s book in order to promote his own.
Held: The stream of abuse received by the defendant when his ruse was discovered was to be taken into account, and the judge found that the damage if any to the claimant’s reputation was at best marginal. For most of the remarks capable of bearing a defamatory meaning, the judge found that the defendants were: ‘overwhelmingly likely to succeed in defending it on the basis of justification and/or fair comment/honest opinion.’ He was correct. Also, and as to the need to protect the claimants from further publication, the judge held that they were secure save in the case of the fourth defendant by undertakings given. The costs incurred by the defendants had already exceeded andpound;70,000. Leave to appeal refused.

Ward, Pitchford LJJ
[2013] EWCA Civ 206
Bailii
Electronic Commerce Regulations 2002
England and Wales
Citing:
CitedDow Jones and Co Inc v Jameel CA 3-Feb-2005
Presumption of Damage in Defamation is rebuttable
The defendant complained that the presumption in English law that the victim of a libel had suffered damage was incompatible with his right to a fair trial. They said the statements complained of were repetitions of statements made by US . .
CitedKaschke v Osler QBD 13-May-2010
kschke_ostlerQBD10
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 . .
Appeal fromMcGrath and Another v Dawkins and Others QBD 30-Mar-2012
The claimant sued in defamation over postings in a review of a book on the Amazon web-site and otherwise. The court now heard interim applications.
Held: Various elements of the claim were struck out as being without value or prospect of . .

Cited by:
See AlsoMcGrath 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

Updated: 11 November 2021; Ref: scu.472886

British Chiropractic Association v Dr Simon Singh: CA 1 Apr 2010

The defendant appealed against a ruling that the words in an article – ‘This organisation is the respectable face of the chiropractic profession and yet it happily promotes bogus treatments’ – were statements of fact, and were not comment.
Held: The appeal succeeded. The statement was of one of his opinion, not an assertion of fact: ‘The critical question . . is whether its meaning includes one or more allegations of fact which are defamatory of the claimant, or whether the entirety of what it says about the claimant is comment (or, to adopt the term used by the European Court of Human Rights in its Article 10 jurisprudence, value-judgment).’ There were two distinct issues ‘was there any evidence to support the material claims? and secondly, if there was not, did the BCA’s personnel know this? ‘
The nature of the assertion as to the lack of evidence of efficacy was not one capable of conclusion either way and therefore was a matter of opinion: ‘the material words, however one represents or paraphrases their meaning, are in our judgment expressions of opinion. The opinion may be mistaken, but to allow the party which has been denounced on the basis of it to compel its author to prove in court what he has asserted by way of argument is to invite the court to become an Orwellian ministry of truth. ‘
‘Our decision does not seek to collapse or erode the general distinction between fact and comment: it seeks to relate the distinction to the subject-matter and context of the particular article and the dispute to which it relates. ‘ ‘Fair comment’ may have decayed to imprecision and ‘honest opinion’ now better reflects the realities.
Lord Judge said: ‘It may be said that the agreed pair of questions which the judge was asked to consider . . was based on a premise, inherent in our libel law, that a comment is as capable as an assertion of fact of being defamatory, and that what differ are the available defences; so that the first question has to be whether the words are defamatory even if they amount to no more than comment.. This case suggests that this may not always be the best approach, because the answer to the first question may stifle the answer to the second.’

Lord Judge, LCJ, Lord Neuberger MR, Sedley LJ
[2010] EWCA Civ 350, Times 23-Apr-2010, [2011] 1 WLR 133
Bailii
England and Wales
Citing:
Appeal fromBritish Chiropractic Association v Dr Singh QBD 7-May-2009
The claimant alleged defamation in the words ‘The British Chiropractic Association claims that their members can help treat children with colic, sleeping and feeding problems, frequent ear infections, asthma and prolonged crying, even though there . .
CitedSlim v Daily Telegraph Ltd CA 1968
Courts to Settle upon a single meaning if disputed
The ‘single meaning’ rule adopted in the law of defamation is in one sense highly artificial, given the range of meanings the impugned words sometimes bear. The law of defamation ‘has passed beyond redemption by the courts’. Where in a libel action . .
CitedUnderwager v Salter 1994
(United States Court of Appeals, Seventh Circuit) Judge Easterbrook spoke of a defamation claim in a scientific dispute: ‘[Plaintiffs] cannot, by simply filing suit and crying ‘character assassination!’, silence those who hold divergent views, no . .
CitedBonnick v Morris, The Gleaner Company Ltd and Allen PC 17-Jun-2002
(Jamaica) The appellant sought damages from the respondent journalists in defamation. They had claimed qualified privilege. The words alleged to be defamatory were ambiguous.
Held: The publishers were protected by Reynolds privilege. The court . .
Leave to appealBritish Chiropractic Association v Singh CA 14-Oct-2009
The court heard a renewed application for leave to appeal against preliminary ruling in a cse of defamation brought by the Association against an author.
Held: Granted . .

Cited by:
CitedWatkins v Woolas QBD 5-Nov-2010
The petitioner said that in the course of the election campaign, the respondent Labour candidate had used illegal practices in the form of deliberately misleading and racially inflammatory material.
Held: The claim succeeded, and the election . .
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: 11 November 2021; Ref: scu.406673

Joyce 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 claim in malicious falsehood was a possible and proper alternative to a libel claim. In this case the complaint was as to an allegation of theft from an employer.
Where damages are awarded under s.3 of the Defamation Act 1952 they should not be nominal, since such an award would defeat the purpose of the section.
Sir Donald Nicholls VC said: ‘When more than one cause of action is available to him, a plaintiff may choose which he will pursue . . He may pursue one to the exclusion of another, even though a defence available in one cause of action is not available in another. Indeed, the availability of a defence in one cause of action but not another may be the very reason why a plaintiff eschews the one and prefers the other . . I have never heard it suggested before that a plaintiff is not entitled to proceed in this way . . I have never heard it suggested that that he must pursue the most appropriate remedy, and that if he does not do so he is at risk of having his action struck out as a misuse of the court’s procedures’.
and ‘The remedy provided by the law for words which injure a person’s reputation is defamation. Words may also injure a person without damaging his reputation. An example would be a claim that the seller of goods or land is not the true owner. Another example would be a false assertion that a person has closed down his business. Such claims would not necessarily damage the reputation of those concerned. The remedy provided for this is malicious falsehood, sometimes called injurious falsehood or trade libel. This cause of action embraces particular types of malicious falsehood such as slander of title and slander of goods, but it is not confined to those headings.’

Sir Donald Nicholls VC, Butler-Sloss LJ, Sir Michael Kerr
Gazette 28-Oct-1992, [1993] 1 WLR 337, [1992] EWCA Civ 9, [1993] 1 All ER 897
Bailii
Defamation Act 1952 3
England and Wales
Citing:
CitedRothermere 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 . .

Cited by:
AppliedCircuit Systems Ltd (In Liquidation) and Another v Zuken Redac (Uk) Ltd CA 5-Apr-1996
The assignment of a debt by a company in liquidation to a significant shareholder, in order to allow him to make an application for legal aid, and to avoid having to give security for costs and to allow the action to proceed was not unlawful, but . .
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 . .
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 . .
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 . .
CitedCitation Plc v Ellis Whittam Ltd CA 8-Mar-2013
The parties competed in providing employment law services. The claimant complained of slanderous comments said to have been made by the defendant in discussions with a firm of solicitors seeking to select a firm. The claimant now appealed against . .
CitedKpohraror v Woolwich Building Society CA 1996
The Society, acting as a bank, had at first failed to pay its customer’s cheque for andpound;4,550, even though there were sufficient funds. The bank said that it had been reported lost. The customer sought damages to his business reputation.
Torts – Other, Defamation, Damages

Leading Case

Updated: 11 November 2021; Ref: scu.82640

Lachaux v Independent Print Ltd (1): CA 12 Sep 2017

Defamation – presumption of damage after 2013 Act

The claimant said that the defendant had published defamatory statements which were part of a campaign of defamation brought by his former wife. The court now considered the requirement for substantiality in the 2013 Act.
Held: The defendant’s appeal failed: ‘, the gravity of the imputations derived from the published statements is obvious: and a clear inference is to be drawn that serious harm to the reputation of the claimant has been caused.’
The broad intention was to ‘build on’ cases such as Thornton and Jameel and to ‘raise the bar’ for bringing a claim in defamation. Ultimately the question arising on this appeal, insofar as it relates to the meaning of s.1(1) of the 2013 Act as enacted, is as to just how far the bar has been so raised. The interpretation of the judge at first instance would leave the section having no particular effect on the law: ‘the presumption of damage in libel cases (itself no doubt founded on policy grounds as much as on empirical grounds) fits with the notion that what ordinarily causes the reputational harm is precisely the fact of the publication to others. It is at that stage that the harm to reputation will have occurred: even if there may also subsequently be (although not necessarily so) consequential damage.’
‘A presumption, whether rebuttable or irrebuttable, arises before and irrespective of consideration of the evidence. An inference arises after and in consequence of consideration of the evidence. Thus at law, in cases of libel (and some cases of slander) there is a presumption of damage: which presumption has in my view, as will be gathered, not of itself been displaced by the 2013 Act. But there is no presumption, at law, of serious damage in a libel case. Accordingly that, under s.1(1), has to be proved. The point nevertheless remains that serious reputational harm is capable of being proved by a process of inference from the seriousness of the defamatory meaning. ‘
Davis LJ summarised: ‘(1) Section 1(1) of the 2013 Act has the effect of giving statutory status to Thornton, albeit also raising the threshold from one of substantiality to one of seriousness: no less, no more but equally no more, no less. Thornton has thus itself been superseded by statute.
(2) The common law presumption as to damage in cases of libel, the common law principle that the cause of action accrues on the date of publication, the established position as to limitation and the common law objective single meaning rule are all unaffected by s.1 (1).
(3) If there is an issue as to meaning (or any related issue as to reference) that can be resolved at a meaning hearing, applying the usual objective approach in the usual way. If there is a further issue as to serious harm, then there may be cases where such issue can also appropriately be dealt with at the meaning hearing. If the meaning so assessed is evaluated as seriously defamatory it will ordinarily then be proper to draw an inference of serious reputational harm. Once that threshold is reached further evidence will then be likely to be more relevant to quantum and any continuing dispute should ordinarily be left to trial.
(4) Courts should ordinarily be slow to direct a preliminary issue, involving substantial evidence, on a dispute as to whether serious reputational harm has been caused or is likely to be caused by the published statement.
(5) A defendant disputing the existence of serious harm may in an appropriate case, if the circumstances so warrant, issue a Part 24 summary judgment application or issue a Jameel application: the Jameel jurisdiction continuing to be available after the 2013 Act as before (albeit in reality likely only relatively rarely to be appropriately used).
(6) All interlocutory process in such cases should be sought to be managed in a way that is proportionate and cost-effective and actively promotes the overriding objective.
(7) Finally, it may be that in some respects the position with regard to bodies trading for profit, under s.1(2), will be different. I say nothing about that subsection which clearly is designed to operate in a way rather different from s.1(1).’

McFarlane, Davis, Sharp LJJ
[2017] EWCA Civ 1334, [2018] EMLR 1, [2018] 2 WLR 387, [2018] QB 594
Bailii
Defamation Act 2013 1(1)
England and Wales
Citing:
See AlsoLachaux v Independent Print Ltd (2) CA 12-Sep-2017
The court was asked whether the defendants and their solicitors may retain and make use of information contained in documents which are said by the claimant to be confidential and the subject of legal professional privilege . .
CitedDow Jones and Co Inc v Jameel CA 3-Feb-2005
Presumption of Damage in Defamation is rebuttable
The defendant complained that the presumption in English law that the victim of a libel had suffered damage was incompatible with his right to a fair trial. They said the statements complained of were repetitions of statements made by US . .
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 . .
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 . .
CitedCammish v Hughes CA 12-Dec-2012
Arden LJ summarised the law as regard abuse of process claims in defamation cases, saying that while the court must provide a remedy in a case that requires one, the process of the court should not be used in a case where the need has gone away. . .
CitedAmes and Another v The Spamhaus Project Ltd and Another QBD 27-Jan-2015
Warby J said: ‘ . . but as practitioners in this field are well aware, it is generally impractical for a claimant to seek out witnesses to say that they read the words complained of and thought the worse of the claimant’ . .
CitedIn re Harris Simons Construction Limited ChD 1989
The section gives the court jurisdiction to make an administration order if it ‘(a) is satisfied that a company is or is likely to become unable to pay its debts’ and ‘(b) considers that the making of an order . . would be likely to achieve’ one or . .
CitedCream Holdings Limited and others v Banerjee and others HL 14-Oct-2004
On her dismissal from the claimant company, Ms Banerjee took confidential papers revealing misconduct to the local newspaper, which published some. The claimant sought an injunction to prevent any further publication. The defendants argued that the . .
See AlsoLachaux v Independent Print Ltd QBD 1-Apr-2015
The claimant alleged defamation by the three defendant news organisations. The defendants now sought trial of certain preliminary issues, and particularly whether the claimant had suffered any serious harm to his reputation.
Held: The court . .
CitedAndre v Price QBD 11-Oct-2010
The word ‘calculated’ as used in s.2 of the 1952 Act meant ‘likely’: accepting that, in that context, that meant something less than ‘more likely than not’. . .
See AlsoLachaux v Independent Print Ltd and Others QBD 29-Jun-2015
Orders allowing extension of time for service of the Particulars of Claim. . .
Appeal fromLachaux v Independent Print Ltd QBD 30-Jul-2015
The claimant brought defamation claims as to articles making allegations said to imply that the claimant had mistreated his wife. The defendant contended that, while inferences might sometimes suffice, s.1 (1) nevertheless required a claimant to . .
CitedGrappelli v Derek Block (Holdings) Ltd CA 20-Jan-1981
Stephane Grappelli, an renowned musician, employed the defendants to promote him. They purported to arrange various concerts, but did so without his authority. When they were cancelled, they told the venue owners that they were cancelled because the . .
Part criticisedCooke and Another v MGN Ltd and Another QBD 13-Aug-2014
The claimants made a television programme about the lives of people on benefits. The defendant published an article critical of many, and included a statement ‘Three more homes in the road where residents claim they have been portrayed as scroungers . .
CitedBwllfa and Merthyr Dare Steam Collieries (1891) Ltd v Pontypridd Waterworks Co HL 1903
A coalmine owner claimed statutory compensation against a water undertaking which had, under its statutory authority, prevented him mining his coal over a period during which the price of coal had risen. The House was asked whether the coal should . .
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 . .
ApprovedTheedom v Nourish Training (T/A Recruitment Colin Sewell) QBD 11-Dec-2015
The Court heard preliminary issues both as to the defamatory meaning of the words used and as to whether publication of those words had caused or was likely to cause serious harm pursuant to s.1 (1) of the 2013 Act.
Held: Following Cooke and . .
Still Good LawDingle v Associated Newspapers HL 1964
The plaintiff complained of an article written in the Daily Mail which included the reporting of a report of a Parliamentary select committee. The reporting of the select committee’s report was privileged under the Parliamentary Papers Act 1840. At . .
See AlsoLachaux v Independent Print Ltd QBD 11-Mar-2015
Judgment as to meaning of certain of the phrases founding the defamation action.
Held: The articles were held to have meant (inter alia) that Mr Lachaux had been violent and abusive towards his wife during their marriage, had hidden Louis’ . .
See AlsoLachaux v Independent Print Ltd/ Evening Standard Ltd QBD 18-Dec-2015
In each of these libel actions the Claimant applied for an order for the delivery up of documents which he claimed were the subject of legal professional privilege but which have been obtained by the Defendants from his former wife, Ms Lachaux, in . .

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 . .
See AlsoLachaux v Independent Print Ltd (2) CA 12-Sep-2017
The court was asked whether the defendants and their solicitors may retain and make use of information contained in documents which are said by the claimant to be confidential and the subject of legal professional privilege . .
Appeal fromLachaux v Independent Print Ltd and Another SC 12-Jun-2019
Need to Show Damage Increased by 2013 Act
The claimant alleged defamation by three publishers. The articles were held to have defamatory meaning, but the papers argued that the defamations did not reach the threshold of seriousness in section 1(1) of the 2013 Act.
Held: Section 1 of . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Defamation

Updated: 11 November 2021; Ref: scu.594990

Slim v Daily Telegraph Ltd: CA 1968

Courts to Settle upon a single meaning if disputed

The ‘single meaning’ rule adopted in the law of defamation is in one sense highly artificial, given the range of meanings the impugned words sometimes bear. The law of defamation ‘has passed beyond redemption by the courts’. Where in a libel action there is a dispute as to meaning, the adjudicator, whether judge or jury, must settle on a single meaning.
Lord Denning MR said: ‘the right of fair comment is one of the essential elements which go to make up our freedom of speech. We must ever maintain this right intact. It must not be whittled down by legal refinements.’
Diplock LJ said: ‘In the spring of 1964 two short letters appeared in the correspondence columns of the ‘Daily Telegraph’. Written by Mr Herbert, they formed part of a robust though desultory controversy about the prospective use by motor vehicles of a public footpath forming part of Upper Mall in Hammersmith. Neither letter can have taken a literate reader of that newspaper more than 60 seconds to read before passing on to some other, and perhaps more interesting, item. Any unfavourable inference about the plaintiffs’ characters or conduct which he might have drawn from what he read would have been one of first impression. Yet in this court three lords justices and four counsel have spent the best part of three days upon a minute linguistic analysis of every phrase used in each of the letters. If this protracted exercise in logical positivism has resulted in our reaching a conclusion as to the meaning of either letter different from the first impression which we formed on reading it, the conclusion reached is unlikely to reflect the impression of the plaintiffs’ character or conduct which was actually formed by those who read the letters in their morning newspaper in 1964.’
Lord Diplock continued: ‘Libel is concerned with the meaning of words. Everyone outside a court of law recognises that words are imprecise instruments for communicating the thoughts of one man to another.
The same words may be understood by one man in a different meaning from that in which they are understood by another and both meanings may be different from that which the author of the words intended to convey. But the notion that the same words should bear different meanings to different men and that more than one meaning should be ‘right’ conflicts with the whole training of a lawyer. Words are the tools of his trade. He uses them to define legal rights and duties. They do not achieve that purpose unless there can be attributed to them a single meaning as the ‘right’ meaning. And so the argument between lawyers as to the meaning of words starts with the unexpressed major premise that any particular combination of words has one meaning which is not necessarily the same as that intended by him who published them or understood by any of those who read them but is capable of ascertainment as being the ‘right’ meaning by the adjudicator to whom the law confides the responsibility of determining it.
Where, as in the present case, words are published to the millions of readers of a popular newspaper, the chances are that if the words are reasonably capable of being understood as bearing more than one meaning, some readers will have understood them as bearing one of those meanings and some will have understood them as bearing others of those meanings. But none of this matters. What does matter is what the adjudicator at the trial thinks is the one and only meaning that the readers as reasonable men should have collectively understood the words to bear. That is ‘the natural and ordinary meaning’ of words in an action for libel.
Juries, in theory, must be unanimous upon every issue on which they have to adjudicate; and since the damages that they award must depend upon the defamatory meaning that they attribute to the words, they must all agree upon a single meaning as being the ‘right’ meaning. And so the unexpressed major premise, that any particular combination of words can bear but a single ‘natural and ordinary meaning’ which is ‘right,’ survived the transfer from judge to jury of the function of adjudicating upon the meaning of words in civil actions for libel.’

Diplock LJ, Lord Denning MR
[1968] 2 QB 157, [1968] 1 All ER 497
England and Wales
Cited by:
CitedBranson v Snowden; Branson v Gtech UK Corporation (a Body Corporate) and Rendine CA 3-Jul-1997
The respective parties had been preparing competing bids for the National Lottery. One (Branson) alleged that the other had offerered a bribe. The other responded that the allegation was a lie, and each sued the other for defamation.
Held: The . .
CitedGeenty v Channel Four Television Corporation and Jessel CA 13-Jan-1998
The claimant police officer appealed against dismissal of his claim in defamation.
Held: The words were capable of implicating the plaintiff in the neglect, they were also capable of implicating him in the accusation of maltreatment. The claim . .
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 . .
CitedBonnick v Morris, The Gleaner Company Ltd and Allen PC 17-Jun-2002
(Jamaica) The appellant sought damages from the respondent journalists in defamation. They had claimed qualified privilege. The words alleged to be defamatory were ambiguous.
Held: The publishers were protected by Reynolds privilege. The court . .
CitedCharman v Orion Publishing Group Ltd and others QBD 14-Oct-2005
The court decided the issue of what meaning the words complained of would have been understood to bear. The ordinary reader of an article may well not think in legalistic terms such as ‘strong grounds to suspect’ or ‘reasonable grounds to suspect’ . .
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 . .
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 . .
ApprovedCharleston and Another v News Group Newspapers Ltd and Another HL 31-Mar-1995
The plaintiffs were actors playing Harold and Madge Bishop in the Australian soap series ‘Neighbours’. They sued on a tabloid newspaper article which showed their faces superimposed on the near-naked bodies of models apparently engaged in sexual . .
CitedBritish Chiropractic Association v Dr Simon Singh CA 1-Apr-2010
The defendant appealed against a ruling that the words in an article – ‘This organisation is the respectable face of the chiropractic profession and yet it happily promotes bogus treatments’ – were statements of fact, and were not comment.
CitedAjinomoto Sweeteners Europe Sas v Asda Stores Ltd QBD 15-Jul-2009
ajinomoto_asdaQBD2009
The claimant said that the defendant’s characterisation of its own products as ‘Good for You’ by reference to a description saying that it did not include the claimant’s product as a component, was a malicious falsehood. The defendant sold other . .
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 . .
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 . .
CitedRothschild v Associated Newspapers Ltd QBD 10-Feb-2012
rothschild_anQBD2012
The claimant said that an article published by the defendant was defamatory. He said that the article implied that in his business associations he had put others at risk to their reputations.
Held: The action failed. The words were indeed . .
CitedAuladin v Shaikh and Others QBD 5-Feb-2013
The court set out to settle the precise defamatory meanings alleged. Trustees of an Education Centre had appointed a relative of three existing trustees to join them. The claimant chairman resigned, objecting to what he said was poor governence. The . .
CitedCooke and Another v MGN Ltd and Another QBD 13-Aug-2014
The claimants made a television programme about the lives of people on benefits. The defendant published an article critical of many, and included a statement ‘Three more homes in the road where residents claim they have been portrayed as scroungers . .
CitedHamaizia and Another v The Commissioner of Police for The Metropolis QBD 21-Oct-2014
The two claimants, each convicted of serious offences of false imprisonment and violent assault, complained of a press release issued by the defendant which, they said accused them of involvement in a murder.
Held: The words complained of did . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Defamation

Leading Case

Updated: 11 November 2021; Ref: scu.185962

Church of Scientology of California v Johnson-Smith: QBD 1971

The plaintiff church sued the defendant, a Member of Parliament, for remarks made by the defendant in a television programme. He pleaded fair comment and the plaintiff replied with a plea of malice, relying on statements made in Parliament. The question arose at trial whether such reliance infringed Article 9.
Held: It did. The plaintiff could not ask the court to infer malice from statements made in Parliament, and it was not open to either party to go, directly or indirectly, into any question of the motive or intention of the defendant in anything said in Parliament.
Brown J considered a submission by the Attorney-General, saying: ‘But the Attorney-General limited what he said about the probable attitude of Parliament to the use of Hansard by agreement by saying that Hansard could be read only for a limited purpose. He said it could be read simply as evidence of fact, what was in fact said in the House, on a particular day by a particular person. But, he said, the use of Hansard must stop there and that counsel was not entitled to comment upon what had been said in Hansard or to ask the jury to draw any inferences from it . . But the general principle is quite clear I think, and that is that these extracts from Hansard which have already been read must not be used in any way which might involve questioning, in a wide sense, what was said in the House of Commons as recorded in Hansard.’

Brown J
[1972] 1 All ER 378, [1971] 3 WLR 434, [1972] 1 QB 522
Bill of Rights 1869 9
England and Wales
Cited by:
ApprovedPepper (Inspector of Taxes) v Hart HL 26-Nov-1992
Reference to Parliamentary Papers behind Statute
The inspector sought to tax the benefits in kind received by teachers at a private school in having their children educated at the school for free. Having agreed this was a taxable emolument, it was argued as to whether the taxable benefit was the . .
CitedJennings v Buchanan PC 14-Jul-2004
(New Zealand) (Attorney General of New Zealand intervening) The defendant MP had made a statement in Parliament which attracted parliamentary privilege. In a subsequent newspaper interview, he said ‘he did not resile from his claim’. He defended the . .
CitedHamilton v Al Fayed HL 23-Mar-2000
The claimant MP sued the defendant in defamation after he had alleged that the MP had corruptly solicited and received payments and benefits in kind as a reward for parliamentary services rendered.
Held: Parliament has protected by privilege . .
AppliedRegina v Secretary of State for Trade, Ex parte Anderson Strathclyde Plc QBD 1983
A proposed takeover had been referred to the Monopolies and Mergers Commission under the 1973 Act. A majority of the Commission recommended against the takeover. The Deputy (acting instead of the Secretary who had an interest) overruled the . .
CitedOffice of Government Commerce v Information Commissioner and Another Admn 11-Apr-2008
The Office appealed against decisions ordering it to release information about the gateway reviews for the proposed identity card system, claiming a qualified exemption from disclosure under the 2000 Act.
Held: The decision was set aside for . .
CitedPrebble 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 . .
CitedChaytor and Others, Regina v CACD 30-Jul-2010
The defendants had been members of the Houses of Commons and of Lords. They faced charges of dishonesty in respect of their expenses claims. They now appealed a finding that they were not subject to the exclusive jurisdiction of Parliament under . .
CitedMakudi v Baron Triesman of Tottenham In London Borough of Haringey QBD 1-Feb-2013
makudi_triesmanQBD2013
The claimant, former chairman of the Thailand Football Association, claimed in defamation against the defendant who had been chairman of the English Football Association. The defendant asked the court to strike out the claim, saying that some of the . .
CitedKimathi and Others v Foreign and Commonwealth Office QBD 20-Dec-2017
Parliamentary privilege The claimants sought to have admitted as evidence extracts from Hansard in support of their claim for damages arising from historic claims.
Held: The court set out the authorities and made orders as to each element. . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Defamation, Constitutional

Leading Case

Updated: 11 November 2021; Ref: scu.182423

Dhir 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 quality of the publishees not their quantity that is likely to determine the issue of serious harm in cases involving relatively small-scale publication. What matters is not the extent of publication, but to whom the words are published. A significant factor is likely to be whether the claimant is identified in the minds of the publishee(s) so that the allegation ‘sticks’.’
As to whether the conduct of the claimant could be used in eidence to reduce damages: ‘Turner does provide clear authority (in the passages underlined) for the admission, in mitigation of damages, of evidence of acts of misconduct of the claimant in the relevant sector of his reputation. There is an issue as to what evidence ‘properly’ before the Court can be relied upon. Keene LJ appears to limit the admissibility to evidence that was before the court on (failed) plea of justification or fair comment. With respect, I think the principle was wider than that. In Pamplin, Neill LJ stated the principle as applying to any evidence properly before the jury which could include evidence advanced in support of a justification or fair comment defence . .’

Nicklin J
[2017] EWHC 3155 (QB), [2017] WLR(D) 823, [2018] 4 WLR 1
Bailii, WLRD
Defamation Act 2013 81
England and Wales
Citing:
CitedScot And His Wife v Hilliar 1605
Action for slander for accusing the plaintiff’s wife that she would have cut her husband’s throat, and did attempt to do it.
Held: No action lay for the words, ‘she would have cut her husband’s throat’, but that an action was maintainable for . .
CitedColman v Godwin 4-May-1782
Words imputing a crime are actionable, although they describe it in vulgar language, and not in technical terms. . .
CitedWebb 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 . .
CitedSlipper v British Broadcasting Corporation CA 1990
The plaintiff, a retired policeman was featured in a film about the Great Train Robbery. He sought to say that paper reviews of the film, and trailers worked to spread the libel, and should count in the assessment of damages against the defendant, . .
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 . .
CitedSloutsker v Romanova QBD 5-Mar-2015
The claimant sued for libel in respect of the publication in this jurisdiction of allegations of fabricating evidence, conspiracy to murder, and the bribery and corruption of the prosecutor and judges in criminal proceedings. The defendant now . .
CitedLachaux v Independent Print Ltd (1) CA 12-Sep-2017
Defamation – presumption of damage after 2013 Act
The claimant said that the defendant had published defamatory statements which were part of a campaign of defamation brought by his former wife. The court now considered the requirement for substantiality in the 2013 Act.
Held: The defendant’s . .
CitedAlsaifi v Trinity Mirror Plc and Board of Directors and Another QBD 17-Nov-2017
Nicklin J noted that: ‘In mass media cases (where it is unlikely that the readers can be identified) it is almost impossible to advance evidence that publishees did not believe the allegation made against the claimant.’ . .
CitedGoldsmith v Sperrings Ltd CA 1977
Claims for Collateral Purpose treated as abuse
The plaintiff commenced proceedings for damages for libel and an injunction against the publishers, the editors and the main distributors of Private Eye. In addition, he issued writs against a large number of other wholesale and retail distributors . .
CitedWhitehouse 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 . .
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 . .
CitedMultigroup Bulgaria Holding AD v Oxford Analytica Ltd 2001
An article defaming an identifiable individual would give rise to a cause of action even where no one reading the article had prior knowledge of the victim. It could not seriously be suggested that ‘under English law an individual human being has to . .
CitedTurcu v News Group Newspapers Ltd QBD 4-May-2005
Chilling effect of defamation costs structures
Eady J said: ‘The claimant in these proceedings is seeking damages against News Group Newspapers Ltd, as publishers of The News of the World, in respect of articles appearing in the editions of that newspaper dated 3 November 2002 . . He issued his . .
CitedHaji-Ioannou v Dixon, Regus Group Plc and Another QBD 6-Feb-2009
The defendants sought to strike out the defamation claim on the basis that it was an abuse of process. It was brought by the founder of Easyjet against senior officers of a company in a new venture. The claimant had alleged misuse of confidential . .
CitedBode v Mundell QBD 19-Oct-2016
The court considered issues about the application of the rules on pleading and proof of publication in defamation, the serious harm requirement in s 1(1) of the Defamation Act 2013, and the abuse of process doctrine in Jameel (Yousef) v Dow Jones . .
CitedScott v Sampson QBD 1882
The court explained why evidence of particular acts of misconduct on the part of the Plaintiff tending to show his character and disposition should be excluded, saying ‘Both principle and authority seems equally against its admission. It would give . .
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. . .
CitedRantzen v Mirror Group Newspapers (1986) Ltd and Others CA 1-Apr-1993
Four articles in the People all covered the same story about Esther Rantzen’s organisation, Childline, suggesting that the plaintiff had protected a teacher who had revealed to Childline abuses of children occurring at a school where he taught, by . .
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 . .
CitedBurstein v Times Newspapers Ltd CA 20-Dec-2000
Where a defendant in a defamation action sought to reduce the damages payable by arguing that the claimant had a reduced or damaged reputation, he could include evidence about particular facts only where these were directly connected to the . .
CitedChamptaloup v Thomas 1977
New South Wales – an election to terminate must generally occur within a reasonable time of the discovery of the circumstances giving rise to the right. If the lessee of a flat, on learning of the lessor’s breach, communicated to the lessor that he . .
CitedComalco Ltd v Australian Broadcasting Corporation 1983
(Supreme Court of the Australian Capital Territory) Hansard was admissible to show what had been said in the Queensland Parliament as a matter of fact, without the need for the consent of Parliament. Blackburn CJ added: ‘I think that the way in . .
CitedRajski v Bainton 1990
New South Wales – in respect of a party or a witness, a charge of misconduct should be made only where the party making it satisfies himself that there are grounds for making it. Fraud must be pleaded specifically and with particularity. If a person . .
CitedBroxton v McClelland CA 31-Jan-1995
The defendants issued various applications to strike out the claim, including a claim of abuse of process. The action was being financially maintained by a third party. The defendants contended that the maintainer’s purpose was to oppress and . .
CitedMultigroup Bulgaria Holding AD v Oxford Analytica Ltd 2001
An article defaming an identifiable individual would give rise to a cause of action even where no one reading the article had prior knowledge of the victim. It could not seriously be suggested that ‘under English law an individual human being has to . .
CitedCleese v Clark and Another QBD 6-Feb-2003
Assessment of damages after offer of amends.
Held: the Court’s award of damages serves as ‘an outward and visible sign of vindication’ . .
CitedCairns v Modi CA 31-Oct-2012
Three appeals against the levels of damages awards were heard together, and the court considered the principles to be applied.
Held: In assessing compensation following a libel, the essential question was how much loss and damage did the . .
CitedChalmers 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 . .
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 . .
CitedPamplin v Express Newspapers Ltd (2) CA 1988
In considering what evidence can be used in mitigation of damages in defamation, it is necessary to draw a distinction between evidence which is put forward to show that the plaintiff is a man of bad reputation and evidence which is already before . .
CitedJones v Pollard, Mirror Group Newspapers Limited and Bailey CA 12-Dec-1996
Articles in consecutive issues of The Sunday Mirror accused the plaintiff of pimping for the KGB, organising sex with prostitutes for visiting British businessmen and then blackmailing them. The defendants pleaded justification. The plaintiff . .
CitedCalvert and Others v Cruddas CA 16-Apr-2014
Renewed application for leave to appeal against damages award in defamation and malicious falsehood. The defendant newspaper had published critical articles, derived from recordings made by undercover reporters, and pleaded justification.
CitedCruddas v Calvert and Others CA 17-Mar-2015
. .
CitedBarron and Another v Vines QBD 2-Jun-2016
The court assessed damages having found that the claimant Labour MPs had been defamed by the defendant UKIP local politician. The defamations related to the alleged failures to control substantial child sex abuse in Rotherham.
Held: The . .
CitedWoodward v Grice QBD 7-Jun-2017
King J awarded pounds 18,000 (pounds 8,000 of which were aggravated damages) for a website publication ‘read by at most 100s of people rather than 1000s’ making a false allegation against a solicitor that he had been struck off. There was no plea of . .

Cited by:
CitedTurley v Unite The Union and Another QBD 19-Dec-2019
Defamation of Labour MP by Unite and Blogger
The claimant now a former MP had alleged that a posting on a website supported by the first defendant was false and defamatory. The posting suggested that the claimant had acted dishonestly in applying online for a category of membership of the . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Defamation, Damages

Updated: 11 November 2021; Ref: scu.601119

Robins v Kordowski and Another: QBD 22 Jul 2011

robins_kordQBD11

The claimant solicitor said he had been defamed on the first defendant’s website (‘Solicitors from Hell’) by the second defendant. The first defendant now applied to set aside judgment entered by default. The claimant additionally sought summary disposal under section 8 of the 1996 Act. The second defendant had settled admitting his claims were unjustified.
Held: The defendant’s proposed defence was hopeless, and judgment was confirmed with damages at andpound;10,000. In the absence of an undertaking not to repeat the allegation, an injunction was also given. The jurisdiction to grant summary disposal is available after the court has entered default judgment for damages to be assessed.
Discussing a statement of the lawyer of the opponent in the original proceedings in which the claimant had acted, Tugendhat J said: ‘Statements made by lawyers on behalf of their clients, are (or at least ought to be) based on the instructions that the lawyers receive from their clients, and are not made from the lawyers’ own knowledge. That is well understood by litigants. It follows that if such a statement turns out to be false, that raises no inference that the lawyer has lied . . If a client acts inconsistently, or the facts are ultimately proved to be different from the facts as stated by the lawyer, no inference adverse to the lawyer can be drawn unless there is evidence from the client or the papers that the lawyer did not act on instructions, or gave advice to the client to act in the inconsistent manner described. Without such evidence, any adverse inference would be equally applicable to the client as to the solicitor, and it would be impossible to conclude that it was more likely to be a lie or breach of duty by the solicitor rather than incorrect instructions, or a change in instructions, or some other conduct of the client.
Of course, lawyers are capable of lying. But an allegation of lying or any dishonesty is very serious, whether it is made against a lawyer or anyone else. Lawyers are entitled to no greater protection from the law for their reputations than anyone else. But they are entitled to no less protection than anyone else.
The court requires an allegation of dishonesty against anyone to be set out with particularity and proved by evidence.’

Tugendhat J
[2011] EWHC 1912 (QB)
Bailii
Defamation Act 1996 8 9 12
Citing:
CitedMerivale v Carson CA 1887
A published criticism of a play made reference to one of the characters being ‘a naughty wife’, though in fact there was no adulterous wife in the play.
Held: The defence of fair comment is open to a commentator however prejudiced he might be, . .
CitedGardiner v Fairfax 1942
Complaint was made that the plaintiff had been libelled in the defendant’s book review.
Held: A publication is defamatory in nature if it ‘is likely to cause ordinary decent folk in the community, taken in general, to think the less of [the . .
CitedTurner v Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures Ltd (MGM) HL 1950
A letter was published which criticised a film critic’s review of the week’s films.
Held: A person (including a corporation) whose character or conduct has been attacked is entitled to answer the attack, and the answer will be protected by . .
CitedLondon Artists Ltd v Littler CA 10-Dec-1968
The defence of fair comment on matters of public interest is not to be defined too closely. Lord Denning MR said: ‘Whenever a matter is such as to affect people at large, so that they may be legitimately interested in, or concerned at, what is going . .
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 . .
CitedPamplin v Express Newspapers Ltd (2) CA 1988
In considering what evidence can be used in mitigation of damages in defamation, it is necessary to draw a distinction between evidence which is put forward to show that the plaintiff is a man of bad reputation and evidence which is already before . .
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 . .
CitedLoutchansky v The Times Newspapers Ltd and Others (Nos 2 to 5) CA 5-Dec-2001
Two actions for defamation were brought by the claimant against the defendant. The publication reported in detail allegations made against the claimant of criminal activities including money-laundering on a vast scale. They admitted the defamatory . .
CitedBurstein v Times Newspapers Ltd CA 20-Dec-2000
Where a defendant in a defamation action sought to reduce the damages payable by arguing that the claimant had a reduced or damaged reputation, he could include evidence about particular facts only where these were directly connected to the . .

Cited by:
See AlsoQRS v Beach and Another QBD 26-Sep-2014
The court gave its reasons for granting an interim injunction to prevent the defendants publshing materials on their web-sites which were said to harrass the claimants.
Held: Whilst it was important to protect the identity of the claimants, . .
CitedBrett Wilson Llp v Person(s) Unknown, Responsible for The Operation and Publication of The Website www.solicitorsfromhelluk.com QBD 16-Sep-2015
The claimant solicitors sought remedies against the unknown publishers of the respondent website which was said to publish material defamatory of them, and to ampunt to harassment.
Held: The alleged defamatory meanings were not challenged by . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Defamation, Damages

Updated: 11 November 2021; Ref: scu.442096

The Capital and Counties Bank Limited v George Henty and Sons: HL 1882

The defendant wrote to their customers saying ‘Henty and Sons hereby give notice that they will not receive in payment cheques drawn on any of the branches of the Capital and Counties Bank.’ The contents of the circular became known and there was a run on the bank. The bank claimed they had been defamed.
Held: The plaintiff’s appeal failed. In their natural meaning the words were not capable in law of being defamatory. Lord Selborne LC said: ‘The test, according to the authorities, is, whether under the circumstances in which the writing was published, reasonable men, to whom the publication was made, would be likely to understand it in a libellous sense.’
It was held that there was no case to go to the jury. Lord Blackburn said: ‘1. The plaintiffs are bankers, and the defendants are brewers. 2. The defendants falsely and maliciously wrote and published of the plaintiffs the letter following: ‘Messrs. Henty and Sons hereby give notice that they will not receive in payment cheques drawn on any of the branches of the Capital and Counties Bank (late the Hampshire and North Wilts). Westgate, Chichester, 2nd December, 1878.’ Meaning thereby that the plaintiffs were not to be relied upon to meet the cheques drawn on them, and that their position was such that they were not to be trusted to cash the cheques of their customers.’ and
‘In construing the words to see whether they are a libel, the Court is, where nothing is alleged to give them an extended sense, to put that meaning on them which the words would be understood by ordinary persons to bear, and say whether the words so understood are calculated to convey an injurious imputation. The question is not whether the defendant intended to convey that imputation; for if he, without excuse or justification, did what he knew or ought to have known was calculated to injure the plaintiff, he must (at least civilly) be responsible for the consequences, though his object might have been to injure another person than the plaintiff, or though he may have written in levity only. As was said in the opinion of the judges delivered in the House of Lords during the discussion of Fox’s Bill, I think quite justly, no one can cast about firebrands and death, and then escape from being responsible by saying he was in sport. ‘ Applying the principle to the facts: ‘There can be no doubt that the defendants were not required to take cheques drawn on this bank . . and had a right to refuse to do so. No reason was needed to justify such a refusal . . there are so many reasons why a person may refuse to take on account the cheques drawn on a particular bank, that . . the Court could not say that the letter, which in terms goes no further than merely to state the fact, was libellous, as tending to impute a doubt of the credit of the bank. No doubt some people might guess that the refusal was on that ground, but . . it is unreasonable that when there are a number of good interpretations, the only bad one should be seized upon to give a defamatory sense to the document. I do not think it libellous by itself to state the fact.’

Lord Selborne LC, Lord Blackburn
(1882) 7 App Cas 741
England and Wales
Cited by:
CitedRussell v Stubbs Limited HL 1913
The plaintiff said that the defendants, publishers of a trade magazine providing inter alia credit references, had slandered it. The defendants appealed against an order requiring it to provide details of others to whom the slander had been . .
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 . .
CitedAjinomoto Sweeteners Europe Sas v Asda Stores Ltd QBD 15-Jul-2009
ajinomoto_asdaQBD2009
The claimant said that the defendant’s characterisation of its own products as ‘Good for You’ by reference to a description saying that it did not include the claimant’s product as a component, was a malicious falsehood. The defendant sold other . .
CitedBerkoff v Burchill and and Times Newspapers Limited CA 31-Jul-1996
The plaintiff actor said that an article by the defendant labelling him ugly was defamatory. The defendant denied that the words were defamatory.
Held: It is for the jury to decide in what context the words complained of were used and whether . .
CitedRhodes v OPO and Another SC 20-May-2015
The mother sought to prevent a father from publishing a book about her child’s life. It was to contain passages she said may cause psychological harm to the 12 year old son. Mother and son lived in the USA and the family court here had no . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Defamation

Leading Case

Updated: 10 November 2021; Ref: scu.236346

Lewis v Daily Telegraph Ltd: HL 1964

Ascertaining Meaning of Words for Defamation

The Daily Telegraph had published an article headed ‘Inquiry on Firm by City Police’ and the Daily Mail had published an article headed ‘Fraud Squad Probe Firm’. The plaintiffs claimed that those articles carried the meaning that they were guilty of fraud. The defendants admitted that the articles were defamatory, but they maintained that the articles did not go so far as to include actual guilt of fraud, but something less.
Held: The House defined the general principles for the ascertainment of the meaning of words in defamation proceedings. The test to be applied is what the words would convey to the ordinary reader. The sting alleged may not be so much in the words themselves as in what the ordinary man will infer from them and that that is in consequence regarded as part of the natural and ordinary meaning. ‘The gist of the two paragraphs is that the police, the City Fraud Squad, were inquiring into the appellants’ affairs.’ As to the different categories of justification: ‘In the present case, for example, there could have been three categories of justification – proof of the fact of an inquiry, proof of reasonable grounds for it and proof of guilt.’ A company cannot be injured in its feelings, it can only be injured in its pocket. The injury must sound in money, but the injury need not necessarily be confined to loss of income. Its goodwill may also be injured.
Lord Reid said: ‘What the ordinary man would infer without special knowledge has generally been called the natural and ordinary meaning of the words. But that expression is rather misleading in that it conceals the fact that there are two elements in it. Sometimes it is not necessary to go beyond the words themselves, as where the plaintiff has been called a thief or a murderer. But more often the sting is not so much in the words themselves as in what the ordinary man will infer from them, and that is also regarded as part of their natural and ordinary meaning.
In this case it is, I think, sufficient to put the test in this way. Ordinary men and women have different temperaments and outlooks. Some are unusually suspicious and some are unusually naive. One must try to envisage people between these two extremes and see what is the most damaging meaning they would put on the words in question.
What the ordinary man, not avid for scandal, would read into the words complained of must be a matter of impression.’
As to justification he said: ‘I must notice an argument to the effect that you can only justify a libel that the plaintiffs have so conducted their affairs as to give rise to suspicion of fraud, or as to give rise to an inquiry whether there has been fraud, by proving that they have acted fraudulently. Then it is said that if that is so there can be no difference between an allegation of suspicious conduct and an allegation of guilt. To my mind, there is a great difference between saying that a man has behaved in a suspicious manner and saying that he is guilty of an offence, and I am not convinced that you can only justify the former statement by proving guilt I can well understand that if you say there is a rumour that X is guilty you can only justify it by proving that he is guilty, because repeating someone else’s libellous statement is just as bad as making the statement directly. But I do not think that it is necessary to reach a decision on this matter of justification in order to decide that these paragraphs can mean suspicion but cannot be held to infer guilt.’
Lord Devlin said: ‘My Lords, the natural and ordinary meaning of words ought in theory to be the same for the lawyer as for the layman, because the lawyer’s first rule of construction is that words are to be given their natural and ordinary meaning as popularly understood. The proposition that ordinary words are the same for the lawyer as for the layman is as a matter of pure construction undoubtedly true. But it is very difficult to draw the line between pure construction and implication, and the layman’s capacity for implication is much greater than the lawyer’s. The lawyer’s rule is that the implication must be necessary as well as reasonable. The layman reads in an implication much more freely; and unfortunately, as the law of defamation has to take into account, is especially prone to do so when it is derogatory.’ and
‘It is not, therefore, correct to say as a matter of law that a statement of suspicion imputes guilt. It can be said as a matter of practice that it very often does so, because although book, not all readers will read it from cover to cover. It is, however, clear from that and earlier authorities that the publication must be taken as a whole.
Suspicion of guilt is something very different from proof of guilt, it is the broad impression conveyed by the libel that has to be considered and not the meaning of each word under analysis. A man who wants to talk at large about smoke may have to pick his words very carefully if he wants to exclude the suggestion that there is also a fire; but it can be done. One always gets back to the fundamental question: what is the meaning that the words convey to the ordinary man: you cannot make a rule about that. They can convey a meaning of suspicion short of guilt; but loose talk about suspicion can very easily convey the impression that it is a suspicion that is well founded.’
Lord Devlin said: ‘There is no doubt that in actions for libel the question is what the words would convey to the ordinary man: it is not one of construction in the legal sense. The ordinary man does not live in an ivory tower and he is not inhibited by a knowledge of the rules of construction. So he can and does read between the lines in the light of his general knowledge and experience of worldly affairs . .
What the ordinary man would infer without special knowledge has generally been called the natural and ordinary meaning of the words. But that expression is rather misleading in that it conceals the fact that there are two elements in it. Sometimes it is not necessary to go beyond the words themselves, as where the plaintiff has been called a thief or a murderer. But more often the sting is not so much in the words themselves as in what the ordinary man will infer from them, and that is also regarded as part of their natural and ordinary meaning . .
Ordinary men and woman have different temperaments and outlooks. Some are unusually suspicious and some are unusually naive. One must try to envisage people between these two extremes and see what is the most damaging meaning they would put on the words in question. . . If the ordinary sensible man was capable of thinking that wherever there was a police inquiry there was guilt, it would be almost impossible to give accurate information about anything . .’
As to repetion of the statements of others, Lord Devlin said: ‘For the purposes of the law of libel a hearsay statement is the same as a direct statement, and that is all there is to it.’

Lord Devlin, Lord Reid
[1964] AC 234, [1963] 1 QB 340, [1964] AC 235, [1963] 2 All ER 151, [1963] 2 WLR 1063
Defamation Act 1952 2
England and Wales
Citing:
Appeal fromLewis v Daily Telegraph Ltd CA 1963
The court considered a request from jurors when assessing damages in a defamation trial for details of the movements in share prices of the plaintiff.
Held: No further evidence could be called. . .
CitedWatkin 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 . .
CitedDe Crespigny v Wellesley 9-Feb-1829
In an action for a libel, it is no plea, that the defendant had the libellous statement from another, and upon publication disclosed the author’s name. . .
CitedMcPherson v Daniels 1829
Bayley J said: Upon the great point, viz. whether it is a good defence to an action for slander for a defendant to show he heard it from another, and at that time named the author, I am of the opinion that it is not’ and ‘the law will not permit a . .
CitedHough v London Express Newspapers 1940
Otherwise innocent words can acquire a defamatory meaning from surrounding circumstances. . .

Cited by:
CitedHinduja and Another v Asia TV Limited CA 25-Nov-1997
The procedure for determining whether words were defamatory was intended to be summary; appeals are to be discouraged. The new rule was intended to lay down a swift and inexpensive procedure in chambers to eliminate meanings which the words are . .
CitedBookbinder v Tebbitt 1989
The defendant charged the plaintiff with improperly spending andpound;50,000 on over-printing on local authority stationery the message ‘Support Nuclear Free Zones’.
Held: An attempt to plead as justification that the plaintiff had squandered . .
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 . .
MentionedKing v Telegraph Group Ltd CA 18-May-2004
The defendant appealed against interim costs orders made in the claim against it for defamation.
Held: The general power of cost capping measures available to courts were available also in defamation proceedings. The claimant was being . .
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 . .
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 . .
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 . .
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 . .
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 . .
CitedAssociated Newspapers Ltd v Burstein CA 22-Jun-2007
The newspaper appealed an award of damages for defamation after its theatre critic’s review of an opera written by the claimant. The author said the article made him appear to sympathise with terrorism.
Held: The appeal succeeded. Keene LJ . .
CitedRoberts and Another v Gable and others CA 12-Jul-2007
The claimants appealed a finding of qualified privilege in their claim of defamation by the defendant author and magazine which was said to have accused them of theft and threats of violence against other members of the BNP.
Held: The appeal . .
CitedStern v Piper and Others CA 21-May-1996
The defendant newspaper said that allegations had been made against the plaintiff that he was not paying his debts. In their defence they pleaded justification and the fact that he was being sued for debt.
Held: A defamation was not to be . .
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 . .
CitedStern v Piper and Others CA 21-May-1996
The defendant newspaper said that allegations had been made against the plaintiff that he was not paying his debts. In their defence they pleaded justification and the fact that he was being sued for debt.
Held: A defamation was not to be . .
CitedFreeguard and Another v Martlet Homes Ltd CA 4-Dec-2008
The claimant complained of a defamation alleged in the words ‘Let me know if he is abusive to you’.
Held: The claim failed. The words complained of did not carry a defamatory meaning. There was no innuendo present: ‘no jury with its feet on . .
CitedShah and Another v Standard Chartered Bank CA 2-Apr-1998
The plaintiffs appealed against refusal of orders striking out the defences of justification to their libel action.
Held: The words complained of bore an accusation of money laundering. A plea of justification based upon a reasonable belief in . .
CitedMcAlpine v Bercow QBD 24-May-2013
The claimant alleged defamation in a tweet by the defendant. The court now decided as a preliminary point, the meaning of the words: ‘Why is Lord McAlpine trending? *Innocent face*’. There had been other but widespread (mistaken) allegations against . .
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 . .
CitedWeller and Others v Associated Newspapers Ltd CA 20-Nov-2015
The three children of a musician complained of the publication of photographs taken of them in a public place in California. . .
CitedWeller and Others v Associated Newspapers Ltd CA 20-Nov-2015
The three children of a musician complained of the publication of photographs taken of them in a public place in California. . .
CitedEconomou v De Freitas QBD 27-Jul-2016
Failed action for defamation on rape allegations
The claimant had been accused by the defendant’s daughter of rape. He was never charged but sought to prosecute her alleging intent to pervert the course of justice. She later killed herself. The defendant sought to have the inquest extended to . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Defamation

Leading Case

Updated: 10 November 2021; Ref: scu.198168

Makudi v Baron Triesman of Tottenham In London Borough of Haringey: QBD 1 Feb 2013

makudi_triesmanQBD2013

The claimant, former chairman of the Thailand Football Association, claimed in defamation against the defendant who had been chairman of the English Football Association. The defendant asked the court to strike out the claim, saying that some of the claims were based on privileged evidence given to a parliamentary committee, and associated publications, and the remainder had so restricted a distribution as to make the action an abuse.
Held: The action should be struck out. The occasions of the four publications complained of were all plainly occasions of qualified privilege, and there was no case in malice that could be left to a jury. It was not possible to separate out the defendant’s state of mind when making the publications complained of and his evidence to Parliament.

Tugendhat J
[2013] EWHC 142 (QB)
Bailii
Bill of Rights 1689 9
Citing:
CitedGrainger v Hill CEC 1838
Misuse of Power for ulterior object
D1 and D2 lent C 80 pounds repayable in 1837, secured by a mortgage on C’s vessel. C was to be free to continue to use the vessel in the interim but the law forbade its use if he were to cease to hold its register. In 1836 the Ds became concerned . .
CitedByrne v Deane CA 1937
A notice had been displayed on a golf club notice board. The court considered whether this constituted publication for defamation purposes.
Held: Greene LJ said: ‘Now on the substantial question of publication, publication, of course, is a . .
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 . .
CitedBroxton v McClelland and Another CA 27-Nov-1996
The judge may disclose to the jury the purpose of a non-party’s involvement as a backer of a party if it is relevant to the case.
Simon Brown LJ said as to an allegation that the claim was an abuse of process: ‘The cases appear to suggest two . .
CitedHamilton v Al Fayed HL 23-Mar-2000
The claimant MP sued the defendant in defamation after he had alleged that the MP had corruptly solicited and received payments and benefits in kind as a reward for parliamentary services rendered.
Held: Parliament has protected by privilege . .
CitedMcLean and Another v Buchanan, Procurator Fiscal and Another PC 24-May-2001
(Appeal from High Court of Justiciary (Scotland)) It was not an infringement of a defendant’s right to a fair trial where the costs of defending the case brought against him would be substantial, but where his solicitors would be paid only a small . .
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 . .
CitedJennings v Buchanan PC 14-Jul-2004
(New Zealand) (Attorney General of New Zealand intervening) The defendant MP had made a statement in Parliament which attracted parliamentary privilege. In a subsequent newspaper interview, he said ‘he did not resile from his claim’. He defended the . .
CitedDow Jones and Co Inc v Jameel CA 3-Feb-2005
Presumption of Damage in Defamation is rebuttable
The defendant complained that the presumption in English law that the victim of a libel had suffered damage was incompatible with his right to a fair trial. They said the statements complained of were repetitions of statements made by US . .
CitedChurch of Scientology of California v Johnson-Smith QBD 1971
The plaintiff church sued the defendant, a Member of Parliament, for remarks made by the defendant in a television programme. He pleaded fair comment and the plaintiff replied with a plea of malice, relying on statements made in Parliament. The . .
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 . .
CitedFairclough Homes Ltd v Summers SC 27-Jun-2012
The respondent had made a personal injury claim, but had then been discovered to have wildly and dishonestly exaggerated the damages claim. The defendant argued that the court should hand down some condign form of punishment, and appealed against . .

Cited by:
Appeal fromMakudi 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.

Defamation, Constitutional

Updated: 10 November 2021; Ref: scu.470710

Tilbrook v Parr: QBD 13 Jul 2012

The claimant, chair of a political party, the English Democrats, said that a blog written and published on the Internet by the defendant was defamatory and contained malicious falsehoods. The blog was said to associate the claimant’s party with racism, saying that a BNP member had joined. The court now looked at whether the article could be associated with the claimant despite his not being named.
Held: The claim failed. It was indistinguishable from Knupffer. The claimant had failed to establish that the words complained of were reasonably capable of referring to him, but that he failed implied equally nothing adverse to him.

Tugendhat J
[2012] EWHC 1946 (QB)
Bailii
England and Wales
Citing:
CitedMorgan v Odhams Press Ltd HL 1971
The plaintiff claimed in defamation. The defence was that the words did not refer to the plaintiff and could not be understood to refer to him.
Held: The question as to what meaning words are capable of bearing has been described as a question . .
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 . .
CitedHector v Attorney General of Antigua PC 1990
Lord Bridge of Harwich said that: ‘In a free democratic society it is almost too obvious to need stating that those who hold office in government and who are responsible for public administration must always be open to criticism. Any attempt to . .
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 . .
CitedGoldsmith and Another v Bhoyrul and Others QBD 20-Jun-1997
A political party is not to have the power to sue in defamation proceedings. Such a power would operate against public policy in that it would restrict democratic debate.
Buckley J said that the principle that a local authority may not sue in . .
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 . .
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 . .
CitedDow Jones and Co Inc v Jameel CA 3-Feb-2005
Presumption of Damage in Defamation is rebuttable
The defendant complained that the presumption in English law that the victim of a libel had suffered damage was incompatible with his right to a fair trial. They said the statements complained of were repetitions of statements made by US . .
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: 10 November 2021; Ref: scu.462837

Bonnard 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 would fail. Where the defendant contends that the words complained of are true and swears that he will plead and seek to prove the defence of justification, the court should not grant an interlocutory injunction unless, exceptionally, it is satisfied that the defence is one which cannot succeed. The plaintiff must demonstrate that ‘it is clear that (the) alleged libel is untrue.’
Lord Coleridge CJ said that there was a particular need not to restrict the right of free speech in libel cases by interfering before the final determination of the matter by a jury otherwise than in a clear case of an untrue libel, saying: ‘But it is obvious that the subject-matter of an action for defamation is so special as to require exceptional caution in exercising the jurisdiction to interfere by injunction before the trial of an action to prevent an anticipated wrong. The right of free speech is one which it is for the public interest that individuals should possess, and, indeed, that they should exercise without impediment, so long as no wrongful act is done; and, unless an alleged libel is untrue, there is no wrong committed; but, on the contrary, often a very wholesome act is performed in the publication and repetition of an alleged libel. Until it is clear that an alleged libel is untrue, it is not clear that any right at all has been infringed; and the importance of leaving free speech unfettered is a strong reason in cases of libel for dealing most cautiously and warily with the granting of interim injunctions.
In the particular case before us, indeed, the libellous character of the publication is beyond dispute, but the effect of it upon the Defendant can be finally disposed of only by a jury, and we cannot feel sure that the defence of justification is one which, on the facts which may be before them, the jury may find to be wholly unfounded; nor can we tell what may be the damages recoverable.’

Lord Coleridge CJ, Lord Esher MR, Lindley, Bowen and Lopes LJJ
[1891] 2 Ch 269
England and Wales
Citing:
Appeal fromBonnard v Perryman QBD 1891
The libel in issue was a very damaging one. Unless it could be justified at the trial it was one in which a jury would give the plaintiff ‘very serious damages’. The court was asked to grant an interlocutory injunction to restrain publication.
ApprovedWilliam Coulson and Sons v James Coulson and Co CA 1887
Lord Esher MR said: ‘It could not be denied that the court had jurisdiction to grant an interim injunction before trial. It was, however, a most delicate jurisdiction to exercise, because, though Fox’s Act only applied to indictments and . .

Cited by:
CitedCream Holdings Limited and others v Banerjee and The Liverpool Daily Post and Echo Limited CA 13-Feb-2003
The defendants considered publication of alleged financial irregularities by the claimant, who sought to restrain publication. The defendants argued that under the Act, prior restraint should not be used unless a later court would be likely to . .
CitedHubbard v Pitt CA 1976
Protesters handed out leaflets and carried posters outside the plaintiff’s estate agency. He claimed in trespass over the public footpath outside his premises. The defendants appealed the grant of an interlocutory injunction to prevent their . .
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 . .
CitedService 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 . .
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 . .
CitedFraser v Evans CA 1969
The law of confidence is based on the moral principles of loyalty and fair dealing. An injunction was sought to restrain an intended publication: ‘The court will not restrain the publication of an article, even though it is defamatory, when the . .
RestatedHerbage v Pressdram Ltd CA 1984
There was a publication of articles which referred to convictions which were spent under the 1974 Act. The court restated the principle in Bonnard v Perryman: ‘These principles have evolved because of the value the court has placed on freedom of . .
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 . .
CitedHerbage 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 . .
CitedHolley, SD and R Trading Limited, Henry Ansbacher and Co Limited, Ansbacher (Jersey) Limited v Smith CA 4-Dec-1997
The motive for a threatened publication, was not relevant, when considering whether to restrain publication beforehand. Sir Christopher Slade said: ‘I accept that the court may be left with a residual discretion to decline to apply the rule in . .
CitedLord Browne of Madingley v Associated Newspapers Ltd CA 3-Apr-2007
The appellant sought to restrict publication by the defendants in the Mail on Sunday of matters which he said were a breach of confidence. He had lied to a court in giving evidence, whilst at the same time being ready to trash the reputation of his . .
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 . .
CitedBestobell v Bigg 1975
The rule in Bonnard preventing prior restraint in defamation proceedings applies also in the context of an allegation of malicious falsehood. . .
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 . .
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 . .
CitedCaborn-Waterfield v Gold and Others QBD 11-Mar-2013
The defendants requested a preliminary ruling that the words complained of in the claimant’s action were not capable of bearing a defamatory meaning.
Held: Some of the pleaded meanings were not supported, but others were clearly defamatory, . .
CitedVaughan v London Borough of Lewisham and Others QBD 11-Apr-2013
The claimant sought an order to restrain anticipated defamatory comments and evidence to be given to an employment tribunal.
Held: It could not be said as the claimant asserted that dfeences were bound to fail, and no determination should be . .
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 . .
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 . .
CitedRoberts and Others v Regina CACD 6-Dec-2018
Sentencing of Political Protesters
The defendants appealed against sentences for causing a public nuisance. They had been protesting against fracking by climbing aboard a lorry and blocking a main road for several days.
Held: The appeals from immediate custodial sentences were . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Defamation, Litigation Practice

Leading Case

Updated: 10 November 2021; Ref: scu.182936

Reynolds 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 claimant’s status as a politician.
Held: The appeal failed (Lords Hope and Steyn dissenting).
Guidelines were given for deciding the limits of fair comment and opinion. Under section 12 of the Human Rights Act 1998, the court is required, in relevant cases, to have particular regard to the importance of the right to freedom of expression. The common law is to be developed and applied in a manner consistent with article 10, and the court must take into account relevant decisions of the European Court of Human Rights. To be justified, any curtailment of freedom of expression must be convincingly established by a compelling countervailing consideration, and the means employed must be proportionate to the end sought to be achieved.
The House identified a defence of privilege where the statement involved discussing a matter of proper public interest, that the allegation said to be defamatory was part of the story, and make a real contribution to it, and that the information on which it was based had been acquired fairly, and the publisher had acted responsibly in publishing the information.
Lord Nichols dismissed the appeal saying that the English law of defamation should not allow the extension of the defence of qualified privilege to protect generally statements made about politicians or other public figures. Qualified privilege protects those making statements to investigating bodies looking at possible malpractice. The recognition of a generic qualified privilege of political speech as likely to make it unacceptably difficult for a victim of defamatory and false allegations of fact to prove reckless disregard of the truth. There is no sure distinction between political issues and issues of general public concern. Nevertheless
Lord Cooke dismissed the appeal.
Lord Hope of Craighead allowed the appeal
Lord Hobhouse dismissed the appeal.
Lord Steyn would have allowed the appeal.

Lord Nicholls of Birkenhead, Lord Steyn, Lord Cooke of Thorndon, Lord Hope of Craighead, Lord Hobhouse of Wood-borough
Times 29-Oct-1999, Gazette 25-Nov-1999, Gazette 17-Nov-1999, [2001] 2 AC 127, [1999] UKHL 45, [1999] 4 All ER 609, [1999] 3 WLR 1010, [2000] EMLR 1, [2000] HRLR 134, 7 BHRC 289
House of Lords, Bailii
Human Rights Act 1998 10 12
England and Wales
Citing:
Appeal fromReynolds TD v Times Newspapers Ltd; Ruddock and Witherow CA 8-Jul-1998
The claimant, the former Taoiseach of Ireland sought damages after the defendant newspaper published an article falsely accusing him of duplicity. The paper said that his position meant that they should have the defence of quaified privilege . .
CitedMcPherson v Daniels 1829
Bayley J said: Upon the great point, viz. whether it is a good defence to an action for slander for a defendant to show he heard it from another, and at that time named the author, I am of the opinion that it is not’ and ‘the law will not permit a . .
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 . .
CitedLondon Artists Ltd v Littler CA 10-Dec-1968
The defence of fair comment on matters of public interest is not to be defined too closely. Lord Denning MR said: ‘Whenever a matter is such as to affect people at large, so that they may be legitimately interested in, or concerned at, what is going . .
CitedToogood v Spyring 1834
Qualified Privilege of Bona Fide Words Under Duty
The defence of qualified privilege arises where the statement in question was bona fide and without malicious intent to injure: ‘In general, an action lies for the malicious publication of statements which are false in fact, and injurious to the . .
CitedCox v Feeney 1863
In an action for libel, consisting of a publication in a newspaper of a report of an inspector of charities under the Charitable Trusts Act, containing a letter, written some years before, reflecting on the plaintiff in hs management of a college: . .
CitedDavies v Snead 1870
There are circumstances where a person is so situated that it ‘becomes right in the interests of society’ that he should tell certain facts to another, and so might have a defence of fair comment to a charge of defamation. . .
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 . .
CitedSilkin v Beaverbrook Newspapers QBD 1958
The test of whether a comment amounted to fair comment, is whether the opinion, however exaggerated, obstinate or prejudiced, was honestly held by the person expressing it. Diplock J said: ‘Let us look a little more closely at the way in which the . .
CitedLondon Association for Protection of Trade v Greenlands Ltd HL 1916
There had been publication in confidence to a single potential customer.
Held: When testing whether an occasion was one for qualified privilege, the court must look to all the circumstances.
Lord Buckmaster LC said: ‘Again, it is, I . .
CitedPurcell v Sowler CA 1877
A Manchester newspaper reported a public meeting of poor-law guardians, in which a medical officer was said to have neglected to attend pauper patients when sent for.
Held: Publication was not privileged. The Court looked beyond the . .
CitedAllbutt v General Council of Medical Education and Registration CA 1889
The defendant had published a book with minutes of a meeting of the council recording that the plaintiff’s name had been removed from the medical register for infamous professional conduct. This followed an inquiry at which the plaintiff had been . .
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 . .
CitedWebb v Times Publishing Co Ltd 1960
The Times newspaper published a report of the criminal trial in Switzerland of a British subject. When sued in defamation they sought to rely upon the defence of fair reporting of judicial proceedings.
Held: A blanket protection for reporting . .
CitedPerera v Peiris PC 1949
Qualified privilege claim upheld
(Ceylon) The ‘Ceylon Daily News’ had published extracts from a report of the Bribery Commission which was critical of Dr. Perera’s lack of frankness in his evidence. The Judicial Committee upheld a claim to qualified privilege. In the light of the . .
CitedWason v Walter; ex parte Wason QBD 1868
Defamation proceedings were begun in respect of newspaper reports of debates in Parliament.
Held: By analogy with reports of judicial proceedings, that fair and accurate reports of parliamentary proceedings were privileged. It was of paramount . .
CitedBlackshaw v Lord CA 1984
Claim to privilege must be precisely focused
The Daily Telegraph carried an article headed ‘Incompetence at ministry cost pounds 52 million’ recording that a number of senior civil servants had been reprimanded after investigation by the Public Accounts Committee. The plaintiff had been in . .
CitedBraddock v Bevins CA 1948
Mr. Bevins’ election address at a local election was the subject of qualified privilege in a defamation action.
Held: The court applied the classic requirements necessary to confer qualified privilege.
Lord Greene MR said: ‘A defamatory . .
CitedKingshott 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 . .
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 . .
CitedFressoz and Roire v France ECHR 21-Jan-1999
Le Canard Enchaine published the salary of M Calvet, the chairman of Peugeot, (which was publicly available information) and also, by way of confirmation, photographs of the relevant part of his tax assessment, which was confidential and could not . .
CitedBladet Tromso and Stensaas v Norway ECHR 20-May-1999
A newspaper and its editor complained that their right to freedom of expression had been breached when they were found liable in defamation proceedings for statements in articles which they had published about the methods used by seal hunters in the . .
CitedGoodwin v The United Kingdom ECHR 27-Mar-1996
An order for a journalist to reveal his source was a breach of his right of free expression: ‘The court recalls that freedom of expression constitutes one of the essential foundations of a democratic society and that the safeguards to be afforded to . .
CitedThorgeir Thorgeirson v Iceland ECHR 25-Jun-1992
Two newspaper articles reported widespread rumours of brutality by the Reykjavik police. These rumours had some substantiation in fact, a policeman had been convicted recently. The purpose of the articles was to promote an investigation by an . .
CitedAttorney-General v Guardian Newspapers Ltd (No 2) (‘Spycatcher’) HL 13-Oct-1988
Loss of Confidentiality Protection – public domain
A retired secret service employee sought to publish his memoirs from Australia. The British government sought to restrain publication there, and the defendants sought to report those proceedings, which would involve publication of the allegations . .
CitedSlim v Daily Telegraph Ltd CA 1968
Courts to Settle upon a single meaning if disputed
The ‘single meaning’ rule adopted in the law of defamation is in one sense highly artificial, given the range of meanings the impugned words sometimes bear. The law of defamation ‘has passed beyond redemption by the courts’. Where in a libel action . .
CitedCassell 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 . .
CitedHebditch v MacIlwaine CA 1894
On the defence of common interest such as to establish qualified privilege: ‘The defendant cannot create a privilege for himself because of honest belief on his part that the person to whom he made a slanderous communication had an interest or duty . .
CitedLingens v Austria ECHR 8-Jul-1986
Freedom of expression, as secured in paragraph 1 of Article 10, constitutes one of the essential foundations of a democratic society and one of the basic conditions for its progress and for each individual’s self-fulfilment. Subject to paragraph 2, . .
CitedOberschlick v Austria ECHR 23-May-1991
A journalist was convicted by a court which regarded itself as bound by the opinion of the court of appeal which had remitted his case to the lower court for trial after it had been dismissed by that court. The judge who presided over the court of . .
CitedThe Sunday Times v The United Kingdom (No 2) ECHR 26-Nov-1991
Any prior restraint on freedom of expression calls for the most careful scrutiny. ‘Freedom of expression constitutes one of the essential foundations of a democratic society subject to paragraph (2) of Article 10. It is applicable not only to . .
CitedCastells v Spain ECHR 23-Apr-1992
The conviction of the applicant for publishing in a weekly magazine an article which insulted the government with the penalty of disqualification from public office, violated the applicants freedom of expression within the meaning of Article 10. ‘ . .
CitedDe Haes and Gijsels v Belgium ECHR 24-Feb-1997
The court emphasised that the press plays an essential role in a democratic society. The court trenchantly observed ‘It is incumbent on the press to impart information and ideas of public interest. Not only does the press have the task of imparting . .
CitedPlummer v Charman 1962
The court discussed the defence of fair comment in political cases: ‘I need hardly say that there is no privilege known to the law which entitles persons engaged in politics to misstate a fact about their opponent provided that they say it honestly . .
CitedDuncombe v Daniell 1837
The defendant was a voter in a parliamentary election. He wrote two letters which were published in a newspaper, the ‘Morning Post,’ which reflected upon the character of one of the candidates in his constituency. The plaintiff was awarded damages. . .
CitedPrebble 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 . .
CitedX Ltd v Morgan-Grampian (Publishers) Ltd HL 1990
In a case where a contemnor not only fails wilfully and contumaciously to comply with an order of the court but makes it clear that he will continue to defy the court’s authority if the order should be affirmed on appeal, the court must have a . .
CitedMaxwell v Pressdram Ltd CA 1987
The court was asked whether disclosure should be ordered in the context of the statutory privilege which was created by s.10 of the 1981 Act. The publisher defendant had deposed that it would justify the material. At trial, however, the defence of . .
CitedBushell’s case 1670
The case was, that Bushel and other jurors in London (for the trial of a traverse on an indictment against several persons for conventicling against the form of the statute lately made) were fin’d and imprisoned at the sessions in the Old Baily, . .
CitedPenn and Mead’s case 1670
. .
CitedAnderson v Bank of British Columbia CA 1876
Litigation was threatened against an English bank concerning the conduct of an account kept at the branch of the bank in Oregon. The English bank’s London manager thought it necessary to ascertain the full facts and cabled the branch manager in . .
CitedAnderson v Bank of British Columbia CA 1876
Litigation was threatened against an English bank concerning the conduct of an account kept at the branch of the bank in Oregon. The English bank’s London manager thought it necessary to ascertain the full facts and cabled the branch manager in . .
CitedClark v Molyneux 1877
The test of malice in a defence of qualified privilege is ‘has it been proved that the defendant did not honestly believe that what he said was true, that is, was he either aware that it was not true or indifferent to its truth or falsity.’ . .
CitedBrims v Reid and Sons 1885
A newspaper had published an anonymous letter concerning the fitness for office of the pursuer who was seeking re-election as a member of a town council and to the public office of Dean of Guild. The publisher refused to disclose the name of the . .
CitedAnderson v Hunter 1891
The pursuer sought election as a county councillor for a division where a parish had been divided into two electoral divisions for county council purposes. The defender lived in the same parish but he was an elector in the other division. He had . .
CitedMcKerchar v Cameron 1892
A newspaper published an anonymous letter containing statements that the pursuer, a salaried official, was unfit for his post as a teacher in a public school. It was argued that the ratepayers and inhabitants of the neighbourhood had an interest and . .
CitedBruce v Leisk 1892
. .
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 . .

Cited by:
AppliedLoutchansky v The Times Newspapers Ltd and Others (Nos 2 to 5) CA 5-Dec-2001
Two actions for defamation were brought by the claimant against the defendant. The publication reported in detail allegations made against the claimant of criminal activities including money-laundering on a vast scale. They admitted the defamatory . .
CitedMills v News Group Newspapers Limited ChD 4-Jun-2001
The applicant was in a relationship with Paul McCartney, and in view of attacks on other former Beatles, she sought to restrain publication of the address of a property she had contracted to buy. The newspaper had said it would not publish unless . .
CitedCream Holdings Limited and others v Banerjee and The Liverpool Daily Post and Echo Limited CA 13-Feb-2003
The defendants considered publication of alleged financial irregularities by the claimant, who sought to restrain publication. The defendants argued that under the Act, prior restraint should not be used unless a later court would be likely to . .
CitedNorwood v Director of Public Prosecutions Admn 3-Jul-2003
The appellant a BNP member had displayed a large poster in his bedroom window saying ‘Islam out of Britain’. He was convicted of an aggravated attempt to cause alarm or distress. The offence was established on proof of several matters, unless the . .
CitedGeorge Worme Grenada Today Limited v The Commissioner of Police PC 29-Jan-2004
PC (Grenada) The defendant was editor of a newspaper which carried a story severely defamatory of the prime minister. He was convicted of criminal libel, and appealed.
Held: The appeal was dismissed. The . .
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 . .
CitedCampbell v Mirror Group Newspapers Ltd (MGN) (No 1) HL 6-May-2004
The claimant appealed against the denial of her claim that the defendant had infringed her right to respect for her private life. She was a model who had proclaimed publicly that she did not take drugs, but the defendant had published a story . .
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 . .
CitedBaldwin v Rusbridger and Another QBD 23-Jul-2001
The newspaper had lost a defamation action, and a leader criticised the law, and defended its journalist in terms which the complainant considered, in effect reaffirmed the original libel.
Held: There is no duty on a newspaper to reply to . .
CitedLoutchansky v Times Newspapers Limited (No 2) CA 12-Mar-2001
The defendants appealed against a refusal to allow them to amend their pleadings. They wished to include allegations as to matters which were unknown to the journalist at the time of publication.
Held: It is necessary for the defendants to . .
CitedPaddick v Associated Newspapers Ltd QBD 10-Dec-2003
The defendant sought disclosure of full statements used by the claimant . Extracts only had been supplied, and he said they contained private and confidential material.
Held: The application failed. The claimant had stated that the balance of . .
CitedIn re S (a Child) (Identification: Restrictions on Publication) HL 28-Oct-2004
Inherent High Court power may restrain Publicity
The claimant child’s mother was to be tried for the murder of his brother by poisoning with salt. It was feared that the publicity which would normally attend a trial, would be damaging to S, and an application was made for reporting restrictions to . .
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 . .
CitedJameel, Abdul Latif Jameel Company Limited v The Wall Street Journal Europe SPRL QBD 20-Jan-2004
It is almost inevitable that in a Reynolds privilege case to be tried by jury there will be presented to them a list of questions, sometimes no doubt formidably long. The object is to enable the judge to have the factual matrix upon which to make . .
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 . .
CitedBonnick v Morris, The Gleaner Company Ltd and Allen PC 17-Jun-2002
(Jamaica) The appellant sought damages from the respondent journalists in defamation. They had claimed qualified privilege. The words alleged to be defamatory were ambiguous.
Held: The publishers were protected by Reynolds privilege. The court . .
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 . .
CitedMiller v Associated Newspapers Ltd QBD 11-Nov-2003
A policemen sued in defamation. The newspaper pleaded Reynolds qualified privilege.
Held: The plea was struck out. There has developed tendency of defendants to plead qualified privilege since the Reynolds decision in ‘rather waffly . .
CitedArmstrong v Times Newspapers Ltd and David Walsh, Alan English CA 29-Jul-2005
The claimant sought damages after publication by the first defendant of articles which it was claimed implied that he had taken drugs. The paper claimed qualified privilege, and claimed Reynolds immunity.
Held: The defence of qualified . .
CitedPanday v Gordon PC 5-Oct-2005
(Trinidad and Tobago) A senior politician had accused an opponent of pseudo-racism. The defendant asserted that he had a defence under the constitution, allowing freedom of political speech.
Held: The appeal failed. The statements were . .
CitedSingh and others v Chief Constable of West Midlands Police QBD 4-Nov-2005
A play was presented which was seen by many Sikhs as offensive. Protesters were eventually ordered to disperse under s30 of the 2003 Act. The defendants appealed their convictions for having breached that order, saying that it interfered with their . .
CitedGeorge Galloway MP v The Telegraph Group Ltd CA 25-Jan-2006
The defendant appealed agaiunst a finding that it had defamed the claimant by repeating the contents of papers found after the invasion of Iraq which made claims against the claimant. The paper had not sought to justify the claims, relying on . .
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 . .
CitedCharman v Orion Publishing Group Ltd and others QBD 13-Jul-2006
The claimant police officer sought damages from the defendants who had published a book alleging that he had been corrupt. The defendants claimed privilege under Reynolds and the 1996 Act.
Held: The defence of qualified privilege failed. . .
CitedSingh, Regina (on the Application of) v Chief Constable of West Midlands Police CA 28-Jul-2006
Sikh protesters set out to picket a theatre production which they considered to offend their religion. The respondent used a existing ASBO dispersal order which had been obtained for other purposes, to control the demonstration.
Held: The . .
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 . .
CitedNorfolk County Council v Webster and others FD 1-Nov-2006
The claimants wished to claim that they were victims of a miscarriage of justice in the way the Council had dealt with care proceedings. They sought that the proceedings should be reported without the children being identified.
Held: A judge . .
CitedMersey Care NHS Trust v Ackroyd CA 21-Feb-2007
The defendant journalist had published confidential material obtained from the claimant’s secure hospital at Ashworth. The hospital now appealed against the refusal of an order for him to to disclose his source.
Held: The appeal failed. Given . .
CitedRoberts and Another v Gable and others CA 12-Jul-2007
The claimants appealed a finding of qualified privilege in their claim of defamation by the defendant author and magazine which was said to have accused them of theft and threats of violence against other members of the BNP.
Held: The appeal . .
CitedMalik v Newspost Ltd and others QBD 20-Dec-2007
The claimant, a politician, sought damages after another local politician accused him of using physical intimidation at elections. The defendant claimed a Reynolds privilege.
Held: This was not investigative journalism, and ‘There is no doubt . .
CitedBritish Broadcasting Corporation v CAFCASS Legal and others FD 30-Mar-2007
Parents of a child had resisted care proceedings, and now wished the BBC to be able to make a TV programme about their case. They applied to the court for the judgment to be released. Applications were also made to have a police officer’s and . .
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 . .
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 . .
CitedMosley v News Group Newspapers Ltd QBD 24-Jul-2008
mosley_newsgroupQBD2008
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 . .
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 . .
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 . .
CitedTimes Newspapers Ltd (Nos. 1 And 2) v The United Kingdom ECHR 10-Mar-2009
The applicant alleged that the rule under United Kingdom law whereby each time material is downloaded from the Internet a new cause of action in libel proceedings accrued (‘the Internet publication rule’) constituted an unjustifiable and . .
CitedQuinton v Peirce and Another QBD 30-Apr-2009
One election candidate said that another had defamed him in an election leaflet. Additional claims were made in injurious falsehood and under the Data Protection Act.
Held: The claim in defamation failed. There were no special privileges in . .
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 . .
CitedThe Author of A Blog v Times Newspapers Ltd QBD 16-Jun-2009
The claimant, the author of an internet blog (‘Night Jack’), sought an order to restrain the defendant from publishing his identity.
Held: To succeed, the claimant would have to show that there would be a legally enforceable right to maintain . .
CitedFlood v Times Newspapers Ltd QBD 2-Oct-2009
The defendant had published a story in its newspaper. At that time it attracted Reynolds qualified privilege. After the circumstances changed, the paper offered an updating item. That offer was rejected as inadequate.
Held: The qualified . .
CitedFlood v Times Newspapers Ltd CA 13-Jul-2010
The claimant police officer complained of an article he said was defamatory in saying he was being investigated for allegations of accepting bribes. The article remained on the internet even after he was cleared. Each party appealed interim orders. . .
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 . .
CitedLord Ashcroft KCMG v Foley and Others QBD 18-Feb-2011
The claimant sought to strike out defences of justification and fair comment saying that the pleadings were unsustainable for lack of clarity.
Held: The pleadings did contain obfuscation, and ‘if there is a viable defence of justification or . .
CitedBaturina v Times Newspapers Ltd CA 23-Mar-2011
The claimant appealed against directions given in her defamation action against the defendant. It had been said that she owned a house, and the defendant said that this was not defamatory. The claimant said that as the wife of the Mayor of Moscow . .
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 . .
CitedCommissioner of Police of The Metropolis and Another v Times Newspapers Ltd and Another QBD 21-Jun-2011
The defendant had published an article based upon information said to be confidential and leaked from the claimant’s offices. A defamation claimant was suing the defendant in defamation, and the defendant wished to rely on the information in its . .
CitedKelly (A Minor) v British Broadcasting Corporation FD 25-Jul-2000
K, aged 16, had left home to join what was said to be a religious sect. His whereabouts were unknown. He had been made a ward of court and the Official Solicitor was appointed to represent his interests. He had sent messages to say that he was well . .
ExplainedFlood 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 . .
CitedBento v The Chief Constable of Bedfordshire Police QBD 1-Jun-2012
bento_ccbpQBD2012
The claimant had been convicted of the murder of his girlfriend. On his acquittal on appeal, the police criticised the CPS decision not to retry the claimant, in effect, the claimant now said, continuing the accusation against him, and so defaming . .
CitedH v A (No2) FD 17-Sep-2015
The court had previously published and then withdrawn its judgment after third parties had been able to identify those involved by pulling together media and internet reports with the judgment.
Held: The judgment case should be published in . .
CitedEconomou v De Freitas QBD 27-Jul-2016
Failed action for defamation on rape allegations
The claimant had been accused by the defendant’s daughter of rape. He was never charged but sought to prosecute her alleging intent to pervert the course of justice. She later killed herself. The defendant sought to have the inquest extended to . .
CitedTurley v Unite The Union and Another QBD 19-Dec-2019
Defamation of Labour MP by Unite and Blogger
The claimant now a former MP had alleged that a posting on a website supported by the first defendant was false and defamatory. The posting suggested that the claimant had acted dishonestly in applying online for a category of membership of the . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Defamation, Media, Human Rights

Leading Case

Updated: 10 November 2021; Ref: scu.159027

Godfrey 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 defamation after failing to remove a posting which it then continued to distribute after the libel had been notified to it. The claimant applied to strike out that part of the defence which denied that it was a publisher.
Held: That part of the application succeeded. Morland J said: ‘In my judgment the defendants, whenever they transmit and whenever there is transmitted from the storage of their news server a defamatory posting, publish that posting to any subscriber to their ISP who accesses the newsgroup containing that posting. Thus every time one of the defendants’ customers accesses soc.culture.thai and sees that posting defamatory of the plaintiff there is a publication to that customer’.

Morland J
Times 20-Apr-1999, Gazette 07-Jul-1999, [1999] EWHC QB 244, [1999] 4 All ER 342, [1999] Masons CLR 267, [1999] ITCLR 282, [2001] QB 201, [1999] EMLR 542, [2000] 3 WLR 1020
Bailii
Defamation Act 1996
England and Wales
Citing:
CitedPullman 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 . .
CitedEmmens v Pottle CA 1885
A subordinate distributor, here a vendor of newspapers, can plead the common law defence to defamation, of innocent dissemination.
Held: The vendor was prima facie liable, and therefore had to demonstrate the defence to avoid liability. He . .
CitedDay 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 . .
CitedVizetelly v Mudie’s Select Library 1900
The court was asked about the liability in defamation of a circulating library who provided books to subscribers, in this case about the book on Stanley’s search for Emir Pasha in Africa. . .
CitedWeldon v The Times Book Co Ltd 1911
The court considered the case of a bookseller who sells a book defamatory of the Plaintiff, in this case the books on Gounod. . .
CitedByrne v Deane CA 1937
A notice had been displayed on a golf club notice board. The court considered whether this constituted publication for defamation purposes.
Held: Greene LJ said: ‘Now on the substantial question of publication, publication, of course, is a . .
CitedSun 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. . .
CitedBottomley v F W Woolworth 1932
The court examined the liability in defamation of distributors of a magazine, ‘The detective story magazine’ containing the article ‘Swindlers and Scoundrels. Horatio Bottomley, Editor and Embezzler.’ . .
CitedAnderson 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 . .
CitedCubby Inc v CompuServe Inc 1991
(United States) Leisure DJ said: ‘CompuServe develops and provides computer-related products and services, including CompuServe Information Service (‘CIS’), an on-line general information service or ‘electronic library’ that subscribers may access . .
CitedZeran v America Online 1997
(United States of America) Wilkinson CJ discussed the statutory protection given to Internet Service providers in the US: ‘Section 230 creates a federal immunity to any cause of action that would make service providers liable for information . .
CitedStratton Oakmont Inc v Prodigy Services Co 1995
(New York) The defendant computer network company held itself out as having editorial control over notes posted on its bulletin board, imposed content guidelines on its users by prescreening notes for offensive language, and permitted board leaders . .
CitedLunney v Prodigy Services Co 1998
(United States) Some ‘infantile practical joker’ sent an e-mail to a boy scout leader, which falsely gave the impression that it came from Alex G Lunney, ‘a prospective eagle scout’. He complained of that as well as two bulletin board messages . .

Cited by:
See AlsoGodfrey v Demon Internet Limited (2) QBD 23-Apr-1999
Evidence of Reputation Admissible but Limited
The plaintiff had brought an action for damages for defamation. The defendant wished to amend its defence to include allegations that the plaintiff had courted litigation by his action.
Held: A judge assessing damages should be able see the . .
CitedHer Majesty’s Advocate v William Frederick Ian Beggs (Opinion No 2) HCJ 21-Sep-2001
The defendant complained that an article published on the Internet was a contempt of court in that it prejudiced his trial for murder by reference inter alia to previous proceedings against him. There were others also. The court was aksed whether . .
CitedBunt v Tilley and others QBD 10-Mar-2006
bunt_tilleyQBD2006
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 . .
CitedTimes Newspapers Ltd (Nos. 1 And 2) v The United Kingdom ECHR 10-Mar-2009
The applicant alleged that the rule under United Kingdom law whereby each time material is downloaded from the Internet a new cause of action in libel proceedings accrued (‘the Internet publication rule’) constituted an unjustifiable and . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Defamation

Leading Case

Updated: 10 November 2021; Ref: scu.163129

Mitchell v News Group Newspapers Ltd: QBD 28 Jul 2014

The claimant MP had a bad tempered altercation with police officers outside Downing Street. He sued the defendant newspaper in defamation saying that they had falsely accused him of calling te officers ‘plebs’. One officer now sued the MP saying that the MP’s public denials amounted to defamation of the officer as a liar. The parties ought an order allowing a joint trial of preliminary issues.
Held: The order was granted as requested. Though there were substantial differences in the claims there was a common core of factual issues to be resolved.

Warby J
[2014] EWHC 2615 (QB)
Bailii
Senior Courts Act 1981 69, Defamation Act 2013 11
England and Wales
Citing:
See AlsoMitchell v News Group Newspapers Ltd QBD 1-Aug-2013
The defamation claimant sought relief from sanctions imposed after a failure to comply with orders requiring him to discuss budgets and budgetary assumptions.
Held: The claimant had failed to deliver the required costs budget in time, and any . .
See AlsoMitchell MP v News Group Newspapers Ltd CA 27-Nov-2013
(Practice Note) The claimant brought defamation proceedings against the defendant newspaper. His solicitors had failed to file his costs budget as required, and the claimant now appealed against an order under the new Rule 3.9, restricting very . .
See AlsoMitchell v News Group Newspapers Ltd QBD 27-Mar-2014
Application for discovery of documents held by a third party, the Police Complaints Commission) in a defamation action. . .
See AlsoMitchell v News Group Newspapers Ltd QBD 11-Jun-2014
. .

Cited by:
See AlsoMitchell v News Group Newspapers Ltd QBD 31-Oct-2014
The claimant alleged defamation by the defendant. In the second action, the policeman claimant alleged defamation by the first claimant. The court heard applications as to the admission of expert evidence, and as to the inclusion or otherwise of . .
See AlsoMitchell v News Group Newspapers Limited QBD 27-Nov-2014
. .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Defamation, Litigation Practice

Updated: 10 November 2021; Ref: scu.535392

Flood 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 privilege in respect of the publication. A report of the simple fact of the investigation would have had qualified privilege, but the paper had added the alleged supporting facts.
Held: The newspaper’s appeal succeeded. To claim Reynolds privilege it was for the defendant to establish both that there was a public interest in the story, and that the publisher was actingvresponsibly.
The creation of Reynolds privilege reflected a recognition that the existing law of defamation did not cater adequately for the importance of the article 10 right of freedom of expression.
The court distinguished between reportage and public interest Reynolds privilege: ‘Reportage is a special, and relatively rare, form of Reynolds privilege. It arises where it is not the content of a reported allegation that is of public interest, but the fact that the allegation has been made. It protects the publisher if he has taken proper steps to verify the making of the allegation and provided that he does not adopt it.’ As to public interest privilege: ‘where the public interest in the allegation that is reported lies in its content. In such a case the public interest in learning of the allegation lies in the fact that it is, or may be, true. It is in this situation that the responsible journalist must give consideration to the likelihood that the allegation is true. Reynolds privilege absolves the publisher from the need to justify his defamatory publication, but the privilege will normally only be earned where the publisher has taken reasonable steps to satisfy himself that the allegation is true before he publishes it.’

Lord Phillips, President, Lord Brown , Lord Mance, Lord Clarke, Lord Dyson
[2012] UKSC 11, UKSC 2010/0166, [2012] 2 WLR 760, [2012] WLR(D) 93, [2012] EMLR 21, [2012] 4 All ER 913, [2012] 2 AC 273, [2012] HRLR 18
Bailii, Bailii Summary, SC Summary, SC
European Convention on Human Rights 10
England and Wales
Citing:
At first instanceFlood v Times Newspapers Ltd QBD 2-Oct-2009
The defendant had published a story in its newspaper. At that time it attracted Reynolds qualified privilege. After the circumstances changed, the paper offered an updating item. That offer was rejected as inadequate.
Held: The qualified . .
Appeal fromFlood v Times Newspapers Ltd CA 13-Jul-2010
The claimant police officer complained of an article he said was defamatory in saying he was being investigated for allegations of accepting bribes. The article remained on the internet even after he was cleared. Each party appealed interim orders. . .
CitedCowley 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 . .
CitedStern v Piper and Others CA 21-May-1996
The defendant newspaper said that allegations had been made against the plaintiff that he was not paying his debts. In their defence they pleaded justification and the fact that he was being sued for debt.
Held: A defamation was not to be . .
ExplainedReynolds 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 . .
CitedAl-Fagih v H H Saudi Research and Marketing (UK) Ltd CA 1-Nov-2001
The media’s right to freedom of expression, particularly in the field of political discussion ‘is of a higher order’ than ‘the right of an individual to his good reputation.’ The majority upheld an appeal against a trial judge’s ruling that the . .
CitedRoberts and Another v Gable and others CA 12-Jul-2007
The claimants appealed a finding of qualified privilege in their claim of defamation by the defendant author and magazine which was said to have accused them of theft and threats of violence against other members of the BNP.
Held: The appeal . .
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 . .
CitedLoutchansky v The Times Newspapers Ltd and Others (Nos 2 to 5) CA 5-Dec-2001
Two actions for defamation were brought by the claimant against the defendant. The publication reported in detail allegations made against the claimant of criminal activities including money-laundering on a vast scale. They admitted the defamatory . .
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 . .
CitedPurcell v Sowler CA 1877
A Manchester newspaper reported a public meeting of poor-law guardians, in which a medical officer was said to have neglected to attend pauper patients when sent for.
Held: Publication was not privileged. The Court looked beyond the . .
CitedPolanco Torres And Movilla Polanco v Spain ECHR 21-Sep-2010
(French Text) The Spanish Newspaper El Mundo published an article defamatory of the petitioners. It was based on computer disks of company accounts authenticated by an accountant dismissed by the company. The Spanish Constitutional Court had applied . .
CitedPfeifer v Austria ECHR 15-Nov-2007
The right to protect one’s honour and reputation is to be treated as falling within the protection of Article 8: ‘a person’s reputation, even if that person is criticised in the context of a public debate, forms part of his or her personal identity . .
Citedde Buse v McCarthy CA 1942
The defendant town clerk sent out a notice of a meeting of the borough council to consider a committee report about the loss of petrol from one of the council’s depots. The report was attached to the notice which was posted at the town hall and in . .
CitedBonnick v Morris, The Gleaner Company Ltd and Allen PC 17-Jun-2002
(Jamaica) The appellant sought damages from the respondent journalists in defamation. They had claimed qualified privilege. The words alleged to be defamatory were ambiguous.
Held: The publishers were protected by Reynolds privilege. The court . .
CitedIn re S (a Child) (Identification: Restrictions on Publication) HL 28-Oct-2004
Inherent High Court power may restrain Publicity
The claimant child’s mother was to be tried for the murder of his brother by poisoning with salt. It was feared that the publicity which would normally attend a trial, would be damaging to S, and an application was made for reporting restrictions to . .
CitedCumpana and Mazare v Roumanie ECHR 17-Dec-2004
(Grand Chamber) Reputation falls within the ambit of the protection afforded by article 8 . .

Cited by:
CitedMcAlpine v Bercow QBD 24-May-2013
The claimant alleged defamation in a tweet by the defendant. The court now decided as a preliminary point, the meaning of the words: ‘Why is Lord McAlpine trending? *Innocent face*’. There had been other but widespread (mistaken) allegations against . .
At Supreme CourtFlood v Times Newspapers Ltd QBD 25-Jul-2013
. .
At Supreme CourtFlood v Times Newspapers Ltd QBD 19-Dec-2013
The claimant policeman alleged defamation in an article published by the defendant newspaper. The defendant advanced two substantive defences, a defence of public interest (Reynolds) privilege and justification. After protracted litigation, the . .
CitedTurley v Unite The Union and Another QBD 19-Dec-2019
Defamation of Labour MP by Unite and Blogger
The claimant now a former MP had alleged that a posting on a website supported by the first defendant was false and defamatory. The posting suggested that the claimant had acted dishonestly in applying online for a category of membership of the . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Defamation

Updated: 10 November 2021; Ref: scu.452187

Kearns and Others v The General Council of the Bar: CA 17 Mar 2003

The claimants had sought to recover from the General Council of the Bar damages for libel in a communication from the head of the Bar Council’s Professional Standards and Legal Services Department to all heads of chambers, their senior clerks and practice managers to the effect that the claimants were not solicitors and were thus not entitled to instruct counsel with the result that it would be improper for members of the Bar to accept work from them. The letter was clearly noth libellous and untrue, but also not malicious. The court was asked when is verification a relevant circumstance in determining whether or not a defamatory communication is protected by qualified privilege?
Held: On the defence of qualified privilege: ‘The argument, as it seems to me, has been much bedevilled by the use of the terms ‘common interest’ and ‘duty-interest’ for all the world as if these are clear-cut categories and any particular case is instantly recognisable as falling within one or other of them. It also seems to me surprising and unsatisfactory that privilege should be thought to attach more readily to communications made in the service of one’s own interests than in the discharge of a duty – as at first blush this distinction would suggest. To my mind an altogether more helpful categorisation is to be found by distinguishing between on the one hand cases where the communicator and the communicatee are in an existing and established relationship (irrespective of whether within that relationship the communications between them relate to reciprocal interests or reciprocal duties or a mixture of both) and on the other hand cases where no such relationship has been established and the communication is between strangers (or at any rate is volunteered otherwise than by reference to their relationship . . Once the distinction is made in this way, moreover, it becomes to my mind understandable that the law should attach privilege more readily to communications within an existing relationship than to those between strangers. The latter present particular problems.’

Mr Justice Keene Lord Justice Mantell Lord Justice Simon Brown
[2003] EWCA Civ 331, [2003] 1 WLR 1357
Bailii
England and Wales
Cited by:
CitedDowntex v Flatley CA 2-Oct-2003
The claimants sought damages for defamation and breach of contract. The claimants had purchased a business from the defendant, which contract included a clause requiring the defendant to say nothing damaging about the business. The defendant . .
CitedHowe and Co v Burden QBD 11-Feb-2004
Defence of consent – no strike out. The precise ambit of the defence of consent in a defamation case is best established at trial on the basis of the tribunal’s findings of fact. . .
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 . .
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 . .
CitedClift v Slough Borough Council and Another QBD 6-Jul-2009
clift_sloughQBD09
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 . .
CitedLewis v Commissioner of Police of The Metropolis and Others (Rev 1) QBD 31-Mar-2011
lewis_cpmQBD11
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 . .
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 . .
CitedClift v Slough Borough Council CA 21-Dec-2010
The court was asked how, if at all, the Human Rights Act 1998 has affected a local authority’s defence of qualified privilege in defamation cases. The claimant had been placed on the Council’s Violent Persons Register after becoming very upset and . .
CitedWood v Chief Constable West Midlands Police CA 8-Dec-2004
The claimant was a director of a limited company. A Detective Chief Inspector with responsibility for crime prevention was investigating a series of car thefts and arrested the claimant’s business partner and, before the accused had even stood his . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Legal Professions, Defamation

Leading Case

Updated: 10 November 2021; Ref: scu.179914

Jackson v Liverpool City Council: CA 15 Jun 2011

Having left the defendant with a satisfactory reference, on moving jobs again a further reference was requested, but given this time in terms which the claimant said was defamatory, as to his record-keeping.
Held: The Council’s appeal was allowed. The second reference was true, accurate and fair. Accuracy and truth are derived from the facts underlying the reference and fairness from an overall balancing of the reference and any opinion expressed. A failure to give a reference may have left the defendant in a worse position.
An employer has no duty to give a character reference, but if it does so, that reference it should be true and fair.Any concerns should be disclosed in a measured and unprejudiced way, and where allegations had not been investigated, the correct response, as here, was point this out and, where appropriate that even if investigated and established that the allegations would not have led to disciplinary action.

Maurice Kay, Richards, Leveson LJJ
[2011] EWCA Civ 1068
Bailii
England and Wales
Citing:
CitedSpring v Guardian Assurance Plc and Others HL 7-Jul-1994
The plaintiff, who worked in financial services, complained of the terms of the reference given by his former employer. Having spoken of his behaviour towards members of the team, it went on: ‘his former superior has further stated he is a man of . .
DistinguishedBartholomew v London Borough of Hackney and Yeboah CA 23-Oct-1998
An employee was suspended, but complained of race discrimination. A settlement was reached. When applying for another job, the reference given mentioned only one side of the dispute.
Held: A reference had to be viewed as a whole, and to be . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Employment, Defamation

Updated: 10 November 2021; Ref: scu.444596

Bowman 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 the complaint, the claimant said that it had generated repeats of the libel.
Held: Damages after an offer of amends were to be assessed as in a normal damages claim recognising the particular circumstances. Here the libel was mere celebrity gossip, but had been hurtful to the claimant. The starting point in this case was andpound;8,500. The defendant’s apology had not been given the same prominence as the original libel, and it had taken an unco-operative approach to the claim. Even so, the apology earned a discount of 50%.

Eady J
[2010] EWHC 895 (QB)
Bailii
Defamation Act 1996 2 3 4
England and Wales
Citing:
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 . .
CitedSlipper v British Broadcasting Corporation CA 1990
The plaintiff, a retired policeman was featured in a film about the Great Train Robbery. He sought to say that paper reviews of the film, and trailers worked to spread the libel, and should count in the assessment of damages against the defendant, . .
CitedAbu 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 . .
CitedCleese v Clark QBD 2003
The court looked at the calculation of damages after an offer of amends under the Act by the defendant.
Held: Such calculations have to be linked to the very different circumstances of each case. Comparisons with awards after jury trial were . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Defamation, Damages

Updated: 10 November 2021; Ref: scu.408602

Duke of Brunswick v Harmer: QBD 2 Nov 1849

brunswick_harmerQBD1849

On 19 September 1830 an article was published in the Weekly Dispatch. The limitation period for libel was six years. The article defamed the Duke of Brunswick. Seventeen years after its publication an agent of the Duke purchased a back number containing the article from the Weekly Dispatch’s office. Another copy was obtained from the British Museum. The Duke sued on those two publications. The defendant contended that the cause of action was time barred, relying on the original publication date.
Held: The delivery of a copy of the newspaper to the plaintiff’s agent constituted a separate publication in respect of which suit could be brought, and it was not necessary to tell the jury, in estimating the damages as to such matter, to take into consideration the fact that the only publication proved had been the sale to the agent: ‘The defendant, who, on the application of a stranger, delivers to him the writing which libels a third person, publishes the libellous matter to him, though he may have been sent for the purpose of procuring the work by that third person. So far as in him lies, he lowers the reputation of the principal in the mind of the agent, which, although that of an agent, is as capable of being affected by the assertions as if he were a stranger. The act is complete by the delivery: and its legal character is not altered, either by the plaintiff’s procurement or by the subsequent handing over of the writing to him.’

Coleridge J
(1849) 14 QB 185, [1849] EngR 915, (1849) 117 ER 75
Commonlii
Cited by:
CitedLoutchansky v The Times Newspapers Ltd and Others (Nos 2 to 5) CA 5-Dec-2001
Two actions for defamation were brought by the claimant against the defendant. The publication reported in detail allegations made against the claimant of criminal activities including money-laundering on a vast scale. They admitted the defamatory . .
CitedGutnick 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 . .
No longer Good lawDow Jones and Co Inc v Jameel CA 3-Feb-2005
Presumption of Damage in Defamation is rebuttable
The defendant complained that the presumption in English law that the victim of a libel had suffered damage was incompatible with his right to a fair trial. They said the statements complained of were repetitions of statements made by US . .
MentionedSteinberg v Pritchard Englefield (A Firm) and Another CA 3-Mar-2005
The defendant appealed dismissal of his defence to an action in defamation.
Held: The court proceeded in his absence, discerning two grounds of appeal from the papers. He had suggested that he awaited pro bono representation but was by . .
CitedBerezovsky v Forbes Inc and Michaels; Glouchkov v Same HL 16-May-2000
Plaintiffs who lived in Russia sought damages for defamation against an American magazine with a small distribution in England. Both plaintiffs had real connections with and reputations in England. A judgment in Russia would do nothing to repair the . .
See AlsoThe Duke Of Brunswick v Harmer 21-Jun-1850
If JH and MY be registered at the stamp office as ‘the sole proprietors’ of a newspaper, ‘that is to say, the said JH as legal owner as mortgagee, and MY as owner of the equity of redemption,’ this is sufficient to fix JH as a proprietor of the . .
CitedTimes Newspapers Ltd (Nos. 1 And 2) v The United Kingdom ECHR 10-Mar-2009
The applicant alleged that the rule under United Kingdom law whereby each time material is downloaded from the Internet a new cause of action in libel proceedings accrued (‘the Internet publication rule’) constituted an unjustifiable and . .
OutmodedGregoire v GP Putnam’s Sons 1948
(New York Court of Appeals) A book had been placed on sale in 1941, but was still being reprinted and sold in 1946.
Held: The rule in Duke of Brunswick v Harmer was formulated ‘in an era which long antedated the modern process of mass . .
CitedFlood v Times Newspapers Ltd QBD 2-Oct-2009
The defendant had published a story in its newspaper. At that time it attracted Reynolds qualified privilege. After the circumstances changed, the paper offered an updating item. That offer was rejected as inadequate.
Held: The qualified . .
MentionedHays Plc v Hartley QBD 17-May-2010
hays_hartleyQBD10
Mr Hartley operated a news agency, and provided to the publisher of the Sunday Mirror, MGN Ltd, allegations of racism that had been levelled at the claimant company by former employees. The allegations were reported in an article headed ”KKK . .
CitedReed Elsevier Uk Ltd (T/A Lexisnexis) and Another v Bewry CA 30-Oct-2014
Appeal from a decision granting the claimant’s application made pursuant to section 32A of the Limitation Act 1980 to disapply the limitation period in his proceedings for libel and dismissing the defendants’ application to strike out the claimant’s . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Defamation, Limitation, Damages

Leading Case

Updated: 10 November 2021; Ref: scu.181216

Jeynes 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 Clarke MR said: ‘no reasonable reader of the words complained of could come to the conclusion that they were suggesting that the woman portrayed in the photograph was deceiving people or intending to deceive people into believing that she was a woman when she was in fact a man or a transsexual. Any such conclusion would be perverse.’
However: ‘While I entirely accept that all questions of meaning are matters for the jury at a jury trial or for the judge at a non-jury trial, I do not think that it is right to say that this is especially so in matters of ‘demotic literature and popular culture’.
In every case, meaning is a matter for the jury unless a judge concludes, on an appropriate application, that the words complained of could not be defamatory, or put another way that a decision by a jury or indeed a judge at a non-jury trial that the words were defamatory would be perverse. On such an application, it is the judge’s duty in every case to decide whether the words complained of are capable of having the defamatory meaning or meanings alleged.’
Sir Anthony Clarke MR discussed the principles: ‘The legal principles relevant to meaning . . may be summarised in this way: (1) The governing principle is reasonableness. (2) The hypothetical reasonable reader is not naive but he is not unduly suspicious. He can read between the lines. He can read in 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. (3) Over-elaborate analysis is best avoided. (4) The intention of the publisher is irrelevant. (5) The article must be read as a whole, and any ‘bane and antidote’ taken together. (6) The hypothetical reader is taken to be representative of those who would read the publication in question. (7) In delimiting the range of permissible defamatory meanings, the court should rule out any meaning which, ‘can only emerge as the produce of some strained, or forced, or utterly unreasonable interpretation’ . . (8) It follows that ‘it is not enough to say that by some person or another the words might be understood in a defamatory sense.”.

Sir Anthony Clarke MR, Tuckey, Jacob LJJ
[2008] EWCA Civ 130
Bailii
England and Wales
Citing:
CitedNeville 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) . .
CitedJameel, Abdul Latif Jameel Company Limited v The Wall Street Journal Europe Sprl (No 1) CA 26-Nov-2003
The court considered the levels of meaning in an article falsely connecting the claimant with terrorist activity: ‘Once it is recognised that the article may be asserting no more than that in one way or another the respondents may unwittingly have . .
CitedPatterson v ICN Photonics Ltd CA 13-Mar-2003
The Court considered its own power to intervene in a defamation case to look at the meanings found by the judge hearing the case. The established principles ‘do not, however, prevent this court from intervening in an appropriate case, where it is . .
CitedGillick v Brook Advisory Centres and Another CA 23-Jul-2001
The claimant appealed after closing her action for an alleged defamation by the respondents in a leaflet published by them. She challenged an interim decision by the judge as to the meaning of the words complained of.
Held: The leaflet made . .
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 . .
CitedCharleston and Another v News Group Newspapers Ltd and Another HL 31-Mar-1995
The plaintiffs were actors playing Harold and Madge Bishop in the Australian soap series ‘Neighbours’. They sued on a tabloid newspaper article which showed their faces superimposed on the near-naked bodies of models apparently engaged in sexual . .

Cited by:
CitedBond v British Broadcasting Corporation QBD 19-Mar-2009
The court set out to establish the natural and ordinary meanings to be attached to the words complained of in a defamation action, and found defamatory meanings under Chase two principles. . .
CitedAjinomoto Sweeteners Europe Sas v Asda Stores Ltd QBD 15-Jul-2009
ajinomoto_asdaQBD2009
The claimant said that the defendant’s characterisation of its own products as ‘Good for You’ by reference to a description saying that it did not include the claimant’s product as a component, was a malicious falsehood. The defendant sold other . .
CitedBudu v The British Broadcasting Corporation QBD 23-Mar-2010
budu_bbcQBD2010
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 . .
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 . .
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 . .
CitedLewis v Commissioner of Police of The Metropolis and Others (Rev 1) QBD 31-Mar-2011
lewis_cpmQBD11
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 . .
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 . .
CitedRothschild v Associated Newspapers Ltd QBD 10-Feb-2012
rothschild_anQBD2012
The claimant said that an article published by the defendant was defamatory. He said that the article implied that in his business associations he had put others at risk to their reputations.
Held: The action failed. The words were indeed . .
CitedTilbrook v Parr QBD 13-Jul-2012
The claimant, chair of a political party, the English Democrats, said that a blog written and published on the Internet by the defendant was defamatory and contained malicious falsehoods. The blog was said to associate the claimant’s party with . .
CitedMakudi v Baron Triesman of Tottenham In London Borough of Haringey QBD 1-Feb-2013
makudi_triesmanQBD2013
The claimant, former chairman of the Thailand Football Association, claimed in defamation against the defendant who had been chairman of the English Football Association. The defendant asked the court to strike out the claim, saying that some of the . .
CitedAuladin v Shaikh and Others QBD 5-Feb-2013
The court set out to settle the precise defamatory meanings alleged. Trustees of an Education Centre had appointed a relative of three existing trustees to join them. The claimant chairman resigned, objecting to what he said was poor governence. The . .
CitedTesla Motors Ltd and Another v British Broadcasting Corporation CA 5-Mar-2013
The claimant said that the defendant, in its Top Gear programme in a review of its car, caused it damage through malicious falsehood and defamation. They appealed against a finding that the words used were incapable of bearing the defamatory . .
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.
CitedCammish v Hughes QBD 20-Apr-2012
The defendant disputed whether the words complained of were defamatory, and whether the action was an abuse as being ‘not worth the candle’. The parties were in opposition over a proposed development of a biomass plant.
Held: The court found . .
CitedMcAlpine v Bercow QBD 24-May-2013
The claimant alleged defamation in a tweet by the defendant. The court now decided as a preliminary point, the meaning of the words: ‘Why is Lord McAlpine trending? *Innocent face*’. There had been other but widespread (mistaken) allegations against . .
CitedRufus v Elliott QBD 1-Nov-2013
rufus_elliottQBD2013
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 . .
CitedUppal v Endemol UK Ltd and Others QBD 9-Apr-2014
The claimant alleged defamation by other contestants at the time when she was participating in the defendants’ TV show, Big Brother. The defendants had broadcast the material. The defendant now sought a ruling that the words complained of were not . .
CitedCooke and Another v MGN Ltd and Another QBD 13-Aug-2014
The claimants made a television programme about the lives of people on benefits. The defendant published an article critical of many, and included a statement ‘Three more homes in the road where residents claim they have been portrayed as scroungers . .
CitedMcAlpine v Bercow QBD 2014
The claimant alleged defamation by the defendant in making a false allegation against him.
Held: The second Jeynes principle does not mean that the court must always choose the least defamatory meaning available. Where there are two possible . .
CitedHamaizia and Another v The Commissioner of Police for The Metropolis QBD 21-Oct-2014
The two claimants, each convicted of serious offences of false imprisonment and violent assault, complained of a press release issued by the defendant which, they said accused them of involvement in a murder.
Held: The words complained of did . .
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 . .
CitedEconomou v De Freitas QBD 27-Jul-2016
Failed action for defamation on rape allegations
The claimant had been accused by the defendant’s daughter of rape. He was never charged but sought to prosecute her alleging intent to pervert the course of justice. She later killed herself. The defendant sought to have the inquest extended to . .
CitedMonroe v Hopkins QBD 10-Mar-2017
The claimant, a transgender chef and food blogger claimed in defamation against the defendant journalist in respect of two tweets. The court now set out to decide the meanings, whether they were defamatory by nature, and whether the serious harm . .
CitedLachaux v Independent Print Ltd (1) CA 12-Sep-2017
Defamation – presumption of damage after 2013 Act
The claimant said that the defendant had published defamatory statements which were part of a campaign of defamation brought by his former wife. The court now considered the requirement for substantiality in the 2013 Act.
Held: The defendant’s . .
CitedAhuja v Politika Novine I Magazini Doo and Others QBD 23-Nov-2015
Action for misuse of private information and libel. Application to have set aside leave to serve out of the jurisdiction. The defendant published a newspaper in Serbian, in print in Serbia and online. Though in Serbian, the claimant said that online . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Defamation

Leading Case

Updated: 10 November 2021; Ref: scu.265996

Chalmers v Payne: 1835

Bane and Antidote Doctrine – Take them as One

The court considered the bane and antidote doctrine in defamation. B Alderson said: ‘But the question here is, whether the matter be slanderous or not, which is a question of the Jury; who are to take the whole together and say whether the result of the whole is calculated to injure Plaintiffs character. In one part of this publication something disreputable to the Plaintiff is stated but that is removed by the conclusion: the bane and the antidote must be taken together.’

B Alderson
[1835] 2 Cr MandR 156, [1835] EngR 38, (1835) 2 CrM and R 156, (1835) 150 ER 67
Commonlii
England and Wales
Cited by:
CitedCharman v Orion Publishing Group Ltd and others QBD 14-Oct-2005
The court decided the issue of what meaning the words complained of would have been understood to bear. The ordinary reader of an article may well not think in legalistic terms such as ‘strong grounds to suspect’ or ‘reasonable grounds to suspect’ . .
CitedCharleston and Another v News Group Newspapers Ltd and Another HL 31-Mar-1995
The plaintiffs were actors playing Harold and Madge Bishop in the Australian soap series ‘Neighbours’. They sued on a tabloid newspaper article which showed their faces superimposed on the near-naked bodies of models apparently engaged in sexual . .
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 . .
CitedStern v Piper and Others CA 21-May-1996
The defendant newspaper said that allegations had been made against the plaintiff that he was not paying his debts. In their defence they pleaded justification and the fact that he was being sued for debt.
Held: A defamation was not to be . .
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 . .
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 . .
CitedCaplin v Associated Newspapers Ltd QBD 20-Jun-2011
The defendant sought clarification through the court as to the meanings inherent in the words complained of.
Held: The application failed. ‘I do not consider the ordinary reasonable reader would be perverse to conclude that the suspicions . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Defamation

Leading Case

Updated: 09 November 2021; Ref: scu.199770

Lucas-Box v News Group Newspapers Ltd; Polly Peck (Holdings) Plc v Trelford, Viscount De L’Isle v Times Newspapers Ltd: CA 1986

Justification To be Clearly Set Out

The former practice which dictated that a defendant who wished to rely on a different meaning in support of a plea of justification or fair comment, did not have to set out in his defence the meaning on which he based his plea, was ill-founded and should not be followed.
A defendant who relies on a plea of justification must make his plea with sufficient clarity and particularity to enable the plaintiff to know what case he has to meet the meaning or meanings he seeks to justify. Whether a defence is permitted depends on the answer to three questions. First, is the defence meaning capable of arising from the publication? Second, does the defence meaning arise from a separate and distinct allegation in the publication, about which the plaintiff does not complain? Third, has the defendant provided proper particulars of fact that are capable of supporting the defence?

[1986] 1 WLR 147, [1986] 1 All ER 177
England and Wales
Cited by:
CitedBranson v Snowden; Branson v Gtech UK Corporation (a Body Corporate) and Rendine CA 3-Jul-1997
The respective parties had been preparing competing bids for the National Lottery. One (Branson) alleged that the other had offerered a bribe. The other responded that the allegation was a lie, and each sued the other for defamation.
Held: The . .
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 . .
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 . .
CitedFlood v Times Newspapers Ltd and others QBD 5-Mar-2009
The claimant police officer complained of an alleged defamation in an article published by the defendant. The defendant wished to obtain information from the IPCC to show that they were investigating the matter as a credible issue. The court . .
CitedRath v Guardian News and Media Ltd and Another QBD 5-Mar-2008
The Claimant requested summary judgment on the fair comment defence to his defamation claim which was pleaded by the Defendant: ‘the Claimant’s conduct in relation to the false claims and criticisms has contributed in large part to a madness which . .
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 . .
CitedCuristan v Times Newspapers Ltd QBD 25-Apr-2007
Mr Curistan, a chartered accountant, prominent in Northern Ireland, contended that an article published by the defendant which was partly based on statements made in Parliament, was defamatory of him. . .
CitedChase v News Group Newspapers Ltd QBD 29-May-2002
A libel defence of justification which was based on ‘reasonable grounds for suspicion’ must focus on conduct of claimant that gives rise to suspicion. It was not permissible to rely upon hearsay. Defendant may not plead as ‘grounds’ material which . .
CitedHunt v Evening Standard Ltd QBD 18-Feb-2011
The defamation claimant sought that certain paragraphs of the defence should be struck out.
Held: Several paragraphs of the defence were struck out, and others left. . .
CitedLord Ashcroft KCMG v Foley and Others QBD 18-Feb-2011
The claimant sought to strike out defences of justification and fair comment saying that the pleadings were unsustainable for lack of clarity.
Held: The pleadings did contain obfuscation, and ‘if there is a viable defence of justification or . .
CitedControl Risks v New English Library CA 1989
In a defamation claim, there is a parallel to be drawn between what is necessary in respect of the defence of justification and what is necessary where the defence of fair comment is raised. Where justification is pleaded, a defendant is required to . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Defamation

Leading Case

Updated: 09 November 2021; Ref: scu.185959

Dee 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 newspaper was taken into account.
Held: The request for summary judgment succeeded.
Charleston did not assist the defendant since that referred only to articles on the same page. The key question is whether the various items under consideration ‘were sufficiently closely connected as to be regarded as a single publication’ – and this is so whether or not the items in the same publication are continuation pages or different items of published material relating to the same subject matter. In this case the small front page item was designed only to attract attention to the full story inside. The articles were to be read together.
The defendant argued that the words were not defamatory in that they only ridiculed the claimant. They clearly contained meanings capable of being defamatory, but those were not the one complained of which was as to the claimant’s sporting skills. In truth the real complaint was of ridicule. It remained arguable that the words in issue were defamatory of the Claimant on the grounds they are capable of suggesting ‘want of skill’, incompetence and/or on the ground that he is ridiculed by the suggestion he is absurdly bad at tennis.

Sharp DBE J
[2010] EWHC 924 (QB), [2010] EMLR 20
Bailii
England and Wales
Citing:
CitedChalmers v Payne 1835
Bane and Antidote Doctrine – Take them as One
The court considered the bane and antidote doctrine in defamation. B Alderson said: ‘But the question here is, whether the matter be slanderous or not, which is a question of the Jury; who are to take the whole together and say whether the result of . .
CitedCharleston and Another v News Group Newspapers Ltd and Another HL 31-Mar-1995
The plaintiffs were actors playing Harold and Madge Bishop in the Australian soap series ‘Neighbours’. They sued on a tabloid newspaper article which showed their faces superimposed on the near-naked bodies of models apparently engaged in sexual . .
CitedThornton v Stephen 13-Jun-1837
. .
CitedHedley v Barlow and Another QBD 1865
Public Interest Discussion Can Excuse Defamation
The right of free discussion on a subject of public interest excuses the pubication of defamatory matter, provided it appears to have been published not in that unfair or improper spirit – that is in the spirit of intemperate and inconsiderate . .
CitedBolton v O’Brien 11-Jan-1885
On a motion for a new trial in a claim in defamation, a majority of the court held that passages in the same newspaper which were not complained of might be adduced in evidence to illustrate the meaning of the passages complained of. At the trial, . .
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 . .
CitedParmiter v Coupland And Another 1840
In an action for libel, the Judge is not bound to state to the jury, as matter of law, whether the publication complained of be a libel or not ; but the proper course is for him to define what is a libel in point of law, and to leave it to the jury . .
CitedSim v Stretch HL 1936
Test For Defamatory Meaning
The plaintiff complained that the defendant had written in a telegram to accuse him of enticing away a servant. The House considered the process of deciding whether words were defamatory.
Held: The telegram was incapable of bearing a . .
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 . .
CitedHackenschmidt v Odhams Press 23-Oct-1950
. .
CitedEdsall v Russell 18-Nov-1842
An apothecary claimed in slander. First was ‘He killed my child; it was the saline injection that did it.’ The innuendo was that the plaintiff had been guilty of feloniously killing the child by improperly and with gross ignorance and with gross and . .
CitedBotterill v Whytehead 1879
Kelly CB said: ‘[t]o impute to an architect employed in the restoration of an ancient church that he has no experience in the work in which he has been employed is itself a libel upon the architect in the way of his profession or calling . . and . .
CitedRadio 2UE Sydney Pty Ltd v Chesterton 17-Apr-2008
Austlii (Supreme Court of New South Wales – Court of Appeal) DEFAMATION – nature of- actual disparagement of the plaintiff’s reputation – reputation includes general character and standing and trade, business or . .
CitedDauncey v Holloway CA 1901
The court was asked whether a slander conveyed an imputation on the plaintiff in his business as a solicitor and was therefore actionable in the absence of proof of special damage.
Held: AL Smith MR said: ‘The words do not, in my opinion, . .
CitedBerkoff v Burchill and and Times Newspapers Limited CA 31-Jul-1996
The plaintiff actor said that an article by the defendant labelling him ugly was defamatory. The defendant denied that the words were defamatory.
Held: It is for the jury to decide in what context the words complained of were used and whether . .
CitedHoeppner 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 . .

Cited by:
CitedHays Plc v Hartley QBD 17-May-2010
hays_hartleyQBD10
Mr Hartley operated a news agency, and provided to the publisher of the Sunday Mirror, MGN Ltd, allegations of racism that had been levelled at the claimant company by former employees. The allegations were reported in an article headed ”KKK . .
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 . .
See AlsoDee v Telegraph Media Group Ltd QBD 28-Jul-2010
The defendant having successfully had the claimant’s defamation action struck out summarily, sought costs on an indemnity basis, saying that his conduct of the matter had substantially and unnecessarily increased the costs. . .
CitedMonroe v Hopkins QBD 10-Mar-2017
The claimant, a transgender chef and food blogger claimed in defamation against the defendant journalist in respect of two tweets. The court now set out to decide the meanings, whether they were defamatory by nature, and whether the serious harm . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Defamation

Updated: 09 November 2021; Ref: scu.408681

Winslet v Associated Newspapers Ltd: QBD 3 Nov 2009

The parties had compromised a defamation claim with an offer of amends, but the claimant wished to read out a statement in accordance with the rules, being unhappy with the apology offered. The defendant objected, saying that she had no entitlement to make such an application, this being a defendant’s right.
Held: The court rejected the defendant’s contention that it is not open to a claimant to make a unilateral statement in open court where the offer of amends regime is engaged.
The claimant’s proposal would provide a way forward with each side able to make a statement, but the defendant argued that this would be a continuation of the proceedings. The current rule is very broad in its terms, and was intended to allow a statement after a settlement in any terms, and public policy would encourage the settlement of proceedings. The present rule had been brought in alongside the 1996 Act and must be taken to work alongside it, allowing the jurisdiction claimed. The defendant’s apology was modest and dismissive, and the claimant should be allowed her statement.

Eady J
[2009] EWHC 2735 (QB), [2010] EMLR 11
Bailii
Defamation Act 1996 3, Civil Procedure Rules 53 PD 6.1
England and Wales
Citing:
CitedBarnet v Crozier CA 1987
The court considered an application by a third party to proceedings to prevent a statement being read out in open court in defamation proceedings. Justification had originally been pleaded by both defendants but, as part of a settlement with the . .

Cited by:
CitedMurray v Associated Newspapers Ltd QBD 15-Apr-2014
Application to read unilateral statement in satisfaction of defamation claim.
Held: It follows from the terms of section 3 of the 1996 Act that the court should not regard as normal an oral hearing of submissions by a defendant that a claimant . .
CitedAssociated Newspapers Ltd v Murray CA 15-May-2015
The newspaper had been sued in defamation, and it had been agreed that a statement would be made. The parties however differed as to the form of statement to be read out in court.
Held: The appeal failed: ‘The allegation complained of is that . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Defamation, Litigation Practice

Updated: 09 November 2021; Ref: scu.377361

Charman v Orion Publishing Group Ltd and others: QBD 13 Jul 2006

The claimant police officer sought damages from the defendants who had published a book alleging that he had been corrupt. The defendants claimed privilege under Reynolds and the 1996 Act.
Held: The defence of qualified privilege failed.

Gray J
[2006] EWHC 1756 (QB), [2007] 1 All ER 622
Bailii
Defamation Act 1996
England and Wales
Citing:
CitedLoutchansky v Times Newspapers Ltd and others QBD 12-Dec-2002
The court considered the possible affront to jurors in a defamation action when asked to decide some elements of an action, but not others. . .
CitedGeorge Galloway MP v The Telegraph Group Ltd CA 25-Jan-2006
The defendant appealed agaiunst a finding that it had defamed the claimant by repeating the contents of papers found after the invasion of Iraq which made claims against the claimant. The paper had not sought to justify the claims, relying on . .
See AlsoCharman v Orion Publishing Group Ltd and others QBD 14-Oct-2005
The court decided the issue of what meaning the words complained of would have been understood to bear. The ordinary reader of an article may well not think in legalistic terms such as ‘strong grounds to suspect’ or ‘reasonable grounds to suspect’ . .
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 . .
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 . .
CitedTsikata v Newspaper Publishing Plc CA 30-Sep-1996
. .
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 . .
CitedAl-Fagih v H H Saudi Research and Marketing (UK) Ltd CA 1-Nov-2001
The media’s right to freedom of expression, particularly in the field of political discussion ‘is of a higher order’ than ‘the right of an individual to his good reputation.’ The majority upheld an appeal against a trial judge’s ruling that the . .

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 . .
Appeal fromCharman v Orion Group Publishing Group Ltd and others CA 10-Oct-2007
. .
CitedCaplin v Associated Newspapers Ltd QBD 20-Jun-2011
The defendant sought clarification through the court as to the meanings inherent in the words complained of.
Held: The application failed. ‘I do not consider the ordinary reasonable reader would be perverse to conclude that the suspicions . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Defamation

Updated: 09 November 2021; Ref: scu.244006

Merivale v Carson: CA 1887

A published criticism of a play made reference to one of the characters being ‘a naughty wife’, though in fact there was no adulterous wife in the play.
Held: The defence of fair comment is open to a commentator however prejudiced he might be, and however exaggerated or obstinate his views. The test in literary criticism isdifferent from that in relation toa personal attack on an individual.
Bowen LJ said: ‘Still there is another class of cases in which, as it seems to me, the writer would be travelling out of the region of fair criticism – I mean if he imputes to the author that he has written something which in fact he has not written.
That would be a misdescription of the work. There is all the difference in the world between saying that you disapprove of the character of a work, and that you think it has an evil tendency, and saying that a work treats adultery cavalierly, when in fact there is no adultery at all in the story. A jury would have a right to consider the latter beyond the limits of fair criticism.’
After citing Campbell, Lord Esher MR asked what was meant by ‘fair comment’ and answered: ‘What is the meaning of a ‘fair comment’? I think the meaning is this: is the article in the opinion of the jury beyond that which any fair man, however prejudiced or however strong his opinion may be, would say of the work in question? Every latitude must be given to opinion and to prejudice, and then an ordinary set of men with ordinary judgment must say whether any fair man would have made such a comment on the work . . Mere exaggeration, or even gross exaggeration, would not make the comment unfair. However wrong the opinion expressed may be in point of truth, or however prejudiced the writer, it may still be within the prescribed limit. The question which the jury must consider is this – would any fair man, however prejudiced he may be, however exaggerated or obstinate his views, have said that which this criticism has said of the work which is criticised? If it goes beyond that, then you must find for the plaintiff; if you are not satisfied that it does, then it falls within the allowed limit, and there is no libel at all.’

Lord Esher MR, Bowen LJ
(1887) 20 QBD 275
England and Wales
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:
CitedTurner v Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures Ltd (MGM) HL 1950
A letter was published which criticised a film critic’s review of the week’s films.
Held: A person (including a corporation) whose character or conduct has been attacked is entitled to answer the attack, and the answer will be protected 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 . .
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 . .
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 . .
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 . .
CitedHunt v Star Newspaper Co Ltd CA 1908
The defendant’s publication imputed to the plaintiff improper conduct in the discharge of his duties as a deputy returning officer at a municipal election. The defendant pleaded fair comment.
Held: The complaint related to allegations of fact . .
CitedRobins v Kordowski and Another QBD 22-Jul-2011
robins_kordQBD11
The claimant solicitor said he had been defamed on the first defendant’s website (‘Solicitors from Hell’) by the second defendant. The first defendant now applied to set aside judgment entered by default. The claimant additionally sought summary . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Defamation

Leading Case

Updated: 09 November 2021; Ref: scu.240312

Stratton Oakmont Inc v Prodigy Services Co: 1995

(New York) The defendant computer network company held itself out as having editorial control over notes posted on its bulletin board, imposed content guidelines on its users by prescreening notes for offensive language, and permitted board leaders to delete notes that did not meet guideline requirements.
Held: It was liable to be sued as ‘publisher’ of defamatory statements posted on its bulletin board. Ain J said: ‘A computerised database is the functional equivalent of a more traditional news vendor, and the inconsistent application of a lower standard of liability to an electronic news distributor such as CompuServe than that which is applied to a public library, book store, or newstand would impose an undue burden on the free flow of information.’ and ‘That such control is not complete and is enforced both as early as the notes arrive and as late as a complaint is made, does not minimise or eviscerate the simple fact that PRODIGY has uniquely arrogated to itself the role of determining what is proper for its members to post and read on its bulletin boards. Based on the foregoing, this Court is compelled to conclude that for the purposes of plaintiffs’ claims in this action, PRODIGY is a publisher rather than a distributor’

Ain J
(1995) 23 Media L Rep 1794, (1995) 63 US Law Week 2765, [1995] NY Misc Lexis 229
United States
Citing:
CitedCubby Inc v CompuServe Inc 1991
(United States) Leisure DJ said: ‘CompuServe develops and provides computer-related products and services, including CompuServe Information Service (‘CIS’), an on-line general information service or ‘electronic library’ that subscribers may access . .

Cited by:
CitedBunt v Tilley and others QBD 10-Mar-2006
bunt_tilleyQBD2006
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 . .
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

Leading Case

Updated: 09 November 2021; Ref: scu.277104

Adelson 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 that they had taken steps before the limitation period had expired, but chose to pursue a different and failed approach. Moreover, ‘I accept that Parliament, following the recommendations of the Neill Committee, decided to put in place a more flexible regime, in the sense that the much reduced period of limitation should be balanced by a broader discretion on the court’s part to extend the period, having regard to what is perceived to be ‘equitable’ in all the circumstances of the case. But genuine libel claims must still be pursued with vigour: that is the most important policy consideration underlying the legislative change.’

Eady J
[2007] EWHC 3028 (QB)
Bailii
Defamation Act 1996
England and Wales
Citing:
CitedD and L Caterers Ltd v D’Ajou 1945
Damages in favour of a corporate body in defamation cases are limited to financial damage. . .
CitedGrovit and others v Doctor and others HL 24-Apr-1997
The plaintiff began a defamation action against seven defendants. Each had admitted publication but pleaded justification. The claims against the fourth to seventh defendants were dismissed by consent, and the third had gone into liquidation. The . .
CitedSteedman, Clohosy, Smith, Kiernan, Newman, Creevy, Anderson v The British Broadcasting Corporation CA 23-Oct-2001
The claimants had issued defamation proceedings. The defendant said they were out of time, having begun the action more than one year after the alleged publication, but accepted that they had not been prejudiced in their defence. The court refused . .
CitedHartley v Birmingham City District Council CA 1992
The writ was issued one day late; there had been early notification of the claim; and the defendant’s ability to defend the case was unaffected. The plaintiff asked the court to exercide its discretion to allow the claim t proceed.
Held: The . .
See AlsoAdelson and Another v Associated Newspapers Ltd QBD 1-May-2007
. .
See AlsoAdelson and Another v Associated Newspapers Ltd CA 9-Jul-2007
The claimant sought to add the name of a further claimant. The defendant objected, saying that it was after the expiry of the limitation period.
Held: The claimant was seeking to use the rules for substitution of parties to add a party. In . .

Cited by:
See AlsoAdelson and Another v Associated Newspapers QBD 19-Feb-2008
Complaint was made that an article was defamatory of the owner of Manchester United. The defendant now argued that the game was not worth the candle. The costs vastly exceeded any possible recovery, and it had openly offered vindication, and that . .
CitedBewry v Reed Elseveir (UK) Ltd and Another QBD 10-Oct-2013
The claimant had begin proceedings against the defendant legal publishers, saying that their summary of a cash had brought was defamatory. He now sought leave to extend the limitation period for his claim, and the defendants argued that, given the . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Defamation, Damages, Limitation

Updated: 09 November 2021; Ref: scu.263254

Cooke and Another v MGN Ltd and Another: QBD 13 Aug 2014

The claimants made a television programme about the lives of people on benefits. The defendant published an article critical of many, and included a statement ‘Three more homes in the road where residents claim they have been portrayed as scroungers and lowlife by Channel 4 are owned by the Midland Heart housing association. Its chief Ruth Cooke, 45, earns 179,000 pounds a year and lives in a large house in Stroud, Glos.’ The court was now asked whether these words carried defamatory meanings. The defendants argued that no serious harm would result as now required by the 2013 Act.
Held: The date from which one looks backwards (to see whether substantial harm has been caused) or forwards (to see whether substantial harm is likely to be caused) is the date on which the claim is issued. However, the claimants had brought no specific evidence that the Article had cause serious harm, and such could not be inferred, and nor was there evidence that such harm was more likely than not in the future.
Evidence was not required in every case to satisfy the ‘serious harm’ test. there is, in contrast with, say, financial damage or physical damage, no generally accepted way of ascertaining the extent of actual or likely reputational damage. Bean J said: ‘I do not accept that in every case evidence will be required to satisfy the serious harm test. Some statements are so obviously likely to cause serious harm to a person’s reputation that this likelihood can be inferred. If a national newspaper with a large circulation wrongly accuses someone of being a terrorist or a paedophile, then in either case (putting to one side for the moment the question of a prompt and prominent apology) the likelihood of serious harm to reputation is plain, even if the individual’s family and friends know the allegation to be untrue. In such a case the matter would be taken no further by requiring the claimant to incur the expense of commissioning an opinion poll survey, or to produce a selection of comments from the blogosphere which might in any event be unrepresentative of the population of ‘right thinking people’ generally. . . ‘

Bean J
[2014] EWHC 2831 (QB), [2014] WLR(D) 379, [2014] EMLR 31, [2015] 1 WLR 895, [2015] 2 All ER 622
Bailii
Defamation Act 2013 1
England and Wales
Citing:
CitedSlim v Daily Telegraph Ltd CA 1968
Courts to Settle upon a single meaning if disputed
The ‘single meaning’ rule adopted in the law of defamation is in one sense highly artificial, given the range of meanings the impugned words sometimes bear. The law of defamation ‘has passed beyond redemption by the courts’. Where in a libel action . .
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 . .
CitedCairns v Modi CA 31-Oct-2012
Three appeals against the levels of damages awards were heard together, and the court considered the principles to be applied.
Held: In assessing compensation following a libel, the essential question was how much loss and damage did the . .

Cited by:
Part criticisedLachaux v Independent Print Ltd (1) CA 12-Sep-2017
Defamation – presumption of damage after 2013 Act
The claimant said that the defendant had published defamatory statements which were part of a campaign of defamation brought by his former wife. The court now considered the requirement for substantiality in the 2013 Act.
Held: The defendant’s . .
CitedTheedom v Nourish Training (T/A Recruitment Colin Sewell) QBD 11-Dec-2015
The Court heard preliminary issues both as to the defamatory meaning of the words used and as to whether publication of those words had caused or was likely to cause serious harm pursuant to s.1 (1) of the 2013 Act.
Held: Following Cooke and . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Defamation

Updated: 09 November 2021; Ref: scu.535717

Elliott 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 defamatory.
Held: The appeal failed. The events took place before the 2013 Act, and the court could not determine meaning without the consent of both parties.
Sharp LJ said: ‘the law of defamation must be sufficiently flexible to take account of the subtleties both of language, and of the human response to what is published in a particular place and time, within the limits of the established principles of law by which, in this case, the judge correctly directed himself. In the end, as the judge recognised, the application turned on the particular words used in their context. It is possible (and no more) that those who read the Press Release thought both that the defendant should not have said what he did, but the worse of the claimant for having made what was essentially a private row public, given the circumstances. It is equally possible that such people could infer from what was said that the claimant owed the defendant some residual loyalty, having regard to their past friendship, and by going public, was acting in a way that was both disloyal and wrong.’

McCombe, Sharp, Mitting LJJ
[2015] EWCA Civ 121
Bailii
Defamation Act 2013
England and Wales
Citing:
CitedBerezovsky and Glouchkov v Forbes Inc and Michaels CA 31-Jul-2001
The claimant sought damages from the defendant for a magazine article claiming that he was involved in organised crime in Russia. The defendants appealed against the striking out of elements of the defence suggesting lesser meanings. Was meaning a . .
CitedJameel, Abdul Latif Jameel Company Limited v The Wall Street Journal Europe Sprl (No 1) CA 26-Nov-2003
The court considered the levels of meaning in an article falsely connecting the claimant with terrorist activity: ‘Once it is recognised that the article may be asserting no more than that in one way or another the respondents may unwittingly have . .
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 . .
CitedMcAlpine v Bercow QBD 24-May-2013
The claimant alleged defamation in a tweet by the defendant. The court now decided as a preliminary point, the meaning of the words: ‘Why is Lord McAlpine trending? *Innocent face*’. There had been other but widespread (mistaken) allegations against . .
CitedMawe v Pigott 1869
A claim for libel was brought by an Irish priest, who was said to be an informer against disloyal and criminal classes.
Held: The action was dismissed. The argument on behalf of the priest was noted to be that amongst certain classes who were . .
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 . .
CitedMyroft 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 . .
CitedByrne v Deane CA 1937
A notice had been displayed on a golf club notice board. The court considered whether this constituted publication for defamation purposes.
Held: Greene LJ said: ‘Now on the substantial question of publication, publication, of course, is a . .
CitedLewis v Daily Telegraph Ltd CA 1963
The court considered a request from jurors when assessing damages in a defamation trial for details of the movements in share prices of the plaintiff.
Held: No further evidence could be called. . .
CitedLewis v Daily Telegraph Ltd HL 1964
Ascertaining Meaning of Words for Defamation
The Daily Telegraph had published an article headed ‘Inquiry on Firm by City Police’ and the Daily Mail had published an article headed ‘Fraud Squad Probe Firm’. The plaintiffs claimed that those articles carried the meaning that they were guilty of . .
CitedMorgan v Odhams Press Ltd HL 1971
The plaintiff claimed in defamation. The defence was that the words did not refer to the plaintiff and could not be understood to refer to him.
Held: The question as to what meaning words are capable of bearing has been described as a question . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Defamation

Updated: 09 November 2021; Ref: scu.543079

Wright v Caan: QBD 27 Jul 2011

The claimant sought damages in defamation and malicious falsehood and in respect of a conversation with a journalist and the defendant’s website. The defendant had made offers of support to her business venture in a television program. After she withdrew, the defendant made the comments of which the claimant now complained to a journalist reporting her story, and on his website.
Held: The fact that the defendant’s version of events differed from her own to the extent that both could not be true, the assertion by the defendant did not amount to an accusation against her of having lied, and could not carry the meaning pleaded whether naturally or by innuendo: ‘when a journalist is given one account of events by witness A, and then receives another account from witness B, she could conclude that A is lying. I suppose that she could reach that conclusion, and indeed it is Mr Munden’s case that she did, but there are many other conclusions which she could reach – for example, that both witnesses had given what they believed was an honest account, although one or other of them must have been mistaken to a degree, or even that it was the defendant who was lying.’
An essential element of a claim for malicious falsehood is that the claimant asserts damage suffered. That was not pleaded here.
Applications for leave to amend should not be allowed where even with the amendment there was no prospect of success.
As to the website claims, the defamation elements were incorrectly pleaded, amendments were refused and the claim struck out.
The claimant also alleged defamation on the defendant’s web-site.

Richard Parkes QC J
[2011] EWHC 1978 (QB)
Bailii
Defamation Act 1952 3(1)
England and Wales
Citing:
CitedSpring v Guardian Assurance Plc and Others CA 1993
The test for malice is the same whether it arises in the context of libel or of injurious falsehood. Glidewell LJ said that ‘Maliciously’ in this context means either knowing that the words were false or being reckless as to whether they were false . .
CitedWilts United Dairies Ltd v Thomas Robinson Sons and Co QBD 1957
Stable J, noted that the case concerned a sweetened condensed milk very similar to the product that his Honour remembered consuming in large quantities at preparatory school, and said: ‘As I understand the law it is this, that if you publish a . .
CitedGillick v Brook Advisory Centres QBD 2002
The claimant asserted that the defendant had defamed her in a leaflet. The defendant asked the court to determine that the pamphlet did not carry a defamatory meaning.
Held: Eady J formulated the principles applicable when determining meaning: . .
CitedGillick v Brook Advisory Centres and Another CA 23-Jul-2001
The claimant appealed after closing her action for an alleged defamation by the respondents in a leaflet published by them. She challenged an interim decision by the judge as to the meaning of the words complained of.
Held: The leaflet made . .
CitedDow Jones and Co Inc v Jameel CA 3-Feb-2005
Presumption of Damage in Defamation is rebuttable
The defendant complained that the presumption in English law that the victim of a libel had suffered damage was incompatible with his right to a fair trial. They said the statements complained of were repetitions of statements made by US . .
CitedCobbold v London Borough of Greenwich CA 9-Aug-1999
The tenant had sought an order against the council landlord for failure to repair her dwelling. The defendant appealed refusal of leave to amend the pleadings in anticipation of the trial, now due to start on the following day.
Held: Leave was . .
CitedSimons Proprietary Ltd v Riddle 1941
(New Zealand) Blair J said: ‘On the authorities – see Cassidy v. Daily Mirror Newspapers 1929] 2KB 331 and Tolley v. JS Fry and Sons Ltd. [1930] 1 KB 467 – innocent matter may be given a defamatory meaning by readers with knowledge of facts not . .
CitedFulham (orse Fullam) v Newcastle Chronicle and Journal Ltd and Another CA 1977
A local newspaper circulating in Teesside, where the claimant had been appointed deputy headmaster of a school, published an article in 1973 saying of the claimant that he was a former Roman Catholic priest who had left his parish in the Salford . .
CitedGrappelli v Derek Block (Holdings) Ltd CA 20-Jan-1981
Stephane Grappelli, an renowned musician, employed the defendants to promote him. They purported to arrange various concerts, but did so without his authority. When they were cancelled, they told the venue owners that they were cancelled because the . .
CitedBaturina v Times Newspapers Ltd QBD 31-Mar-2010
The claimant sought damages in defamation in respect of an article published by the defendant newspaper. She was the wife of the Mayor of Moscow, and was required to disclose on a public list assets held by her. The defendant said that she owned a . .
CitedBaturina v Times Newspapers Ltd CA 23-Mar-2011
The claimant appealed against directions given in her defamation action against the defendant. It had been said that she owned a house, and the defendant said that this was not defamatory. The claimant said that as the wife of the Mayor of Moscow . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Defamation, Torts – Other

Updated: 09 November 2021; Ref: scu.442246

Mosley v News Group Newspapers Ltd: QBD 24 Jul 2008

mosley_newsgroupQBD2008

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 claimed in breach of confidence.
Held: ‘The law [of confidence] now affords protection to information in respect of which there is a reasonable expectation of privacy, even in circumstances where there is no pre-existing relationship giving rise of itself to an enforceable duty of confidence. That is because the law is concerned to prevent the violation of a citizen’s autonomy, dignity and self-esteem. It is not simply a matter of ‘unaccountable’ judges running amok. Parliament enacted the 1998 statute which requires these values to be acknowledged and enforced by the courts.’ The clandestine recording of sexual activity on private property must be taken to engage Article 8. What requires closer examination is the extent to which such intrusive behaviour could be justified by reference to a countervailing public interest.
As to the application for exemplary damages, the extension of such awards to cases involving breach of confidence would no doubt have to be dealt with at the House of Lords. However, there was another factor which ‘probably’ had to be taken into account, namely vindication to mark the infringement of the right.
Eady J considered the criticism of CC v AB in its moral relativism. It was ‘largely because of a failure to appreciate the task which judges are now required to carry out in the context of the rights-based environment introduced by the Human Rights Act, hitherto largely unfamiliar in our common law tradition. In deciding whether a right has been infringed, and in assessing the relative worth of competing rights, it is not for judges to make individual moral judgments or to be swayed by personal distaste. It is not simply a matter of personal privacy versus the public interest. The modern perception is that there is a public interest in respecting personal privacy. It is thus a question of taking account of conflicting public interest considerations and evaluating them according to increasingly well recognised criteria. ‘

Eady J
[2008] EWHC 1777 (QB), [2008] EMLR 20
Bailii
European Convention on Human Rights 8 10
Citing:
CitedAttorney-General v Guardian Newspapers Ltd (No 2) (‘Spycatcher’) HL 13-Oct-1988
Loss of Confidentiality Protection – public domain
A retired secret service employee sought to publish his memoirs from Australia. The British government sought to restrain publication there, and the defendants sought to report those proceedings, which would involve publication of the allegations . .
CitedDouglas, Zeta Jones, Northern and Shell Plc v Hello! Limited (No 1) CA 21-Dec-2000
The first two claimants sold exclusive rights to photograph their wedding to the third claimant. A paparrazzi infiltrated the wedding and then sold his unauthorised photographs to the defendants, who now appealed injunctions restraining them from . .
CitedD v L CA 31-Jul-2003
L and D lived together. Fearing the breakdown of the relationship, L used a voice activated recorder to record their conversations. D sought an order to restrain their publication after elements appeared in national newspapers. The court also . .
CitedCampbell v Mirror Group Newspapers Ltd (MGN) (No 1) HL 6-May-2004
The claimant appealed against the denial of her claim that the defendant had infringed her right to respect for her private life. She was a model who had proclaimed publicly that she did not take drugs, but the defendant had published a story . .
CitedIn re S (a Child) (Identification: Restrictions on Publication) HL 28-Oct-2004
Inherent High Court power may restrain Publicity
The claimant child’s mother was to be tried for the murder of his brother by poisoning with salt. It was feared that the publicity which would normally attend a trial, would be damaging to S, and an application was made for reporting restrictions to . .
CitedAsh and Another v McKennitt and others CA 14-Dec-2006
The claimant was a celebrated Canadian folk musician. The defendant, a former friend, published a story of their close friendship. The claimant said the relationship had been private, and publication infringed her privacy rights, and she obtained an . .
CitedAubry v Editions Vice-Versa Inc 9-Apr-1998
(Supreme Court of Canada) Publication in a magazine of an unauthorised photograph of a 17 year old girl sitting on the steps of a public building had violated her right to respect for private life conferred under Article 5 of the ‘Quebec Charter’ of . .
CitedPeck v The United Kingdom ECHR 28-Jan-2003
peck_ukECHR2003
The claimant had been filmed by CCTV. He had, after attempting suicide, left home with a knife, been arrested by the police and disarmed, but then sent home without charge. The CCTV film was used on several occasions to advertise the effectiveness . .
CitedDudgeon v The United Kingdom ECHR 22-Oct-1981
ECHR (Plenary Court) Legislation in Northern Ireland that criminalised homosexual behaviour which was lawful in the rest of the UK.
Held: There was a violation of article 8, but it was not necessary to . .
CitedLaskey, Jaggard and Brown v The United Kingdom ECHR 19-Feb-1997
A prosecution for sado-masochist acts was a necessary invasion of privacy to protect health. The Court found no violation where applicants were imprisoned as a result of sado-masochistic activities captured on video tape when police obtained . .
CitedFressoz and Roire v France ECHR 21-Jan-1999
Le Canard Enchaine published the salary of M Calvet, the chairman of Peugeot, (which was publicly available information) and also, by way of confirmation, photographs of the relevant part of his tax assessment, which was confidential and could not . .
CitedTammer v Estonia ECHR 6-Feb-2001
Freedom of expression constitutes one of the essential foundations of a democratic society and one of the basic conditions for its progress and the self-fulfilment of each individual. Criminal penalties imposed in respect of the reporting of a . .
CitedPG and JH v The United Kingdom ECHR 25-Sep-2001
The use of covert listening devices within a police station was an infringement of the right to privacy, since there was no system of law regulating such practices. That need not affect the right to a fair trial. The prosecution had a duty to . .
CitedMurray v Big Pictures (UK) Ltd; Murray v Express Newspapers CA 7-May-2008
The claimant, a famous writer, complained on behalf of her infant son that he had been photographed in a public street with her, and that the photograph had later been published in a national newspaper. She appealed an order striking out her claim . .
CitedTheakston v MGN Ltd QBD 14-Feb-2002
The claimant, a celebrity sought to restrain publication by the defendant of information about his sex life, consisting of pictures of him in a brothel. The court considered the test for the grant of an injunction to restrain publication under the . .
CitedCraxi (No. 2) ECHR 17-Jul-2003
Hudoc Judgment (Merits and just satisfaction) Violation of Art. 8 with regard to release of transcripts into the public domain ; Violation of Art. 8 with regard to reading out of transcripts at trial ; Pecuniary . .
CitedADT v United Kingdom ECHR 4-Aug-2000
The UK law which had the effect of prohibiting non-violent homosexual acts by groups of males, was a violation of the right to respect for his private life. The law went beyond that which might properly be required in a democratic society for the . .
CitedSilver v United Kingdom ECHR 1980
(Commission) Complaint was made as to the censorship of prisoners’ correspondence. The censorship of prisoners’ correspondence was ancillary to prison rules restricting the contents of correspondence. The Commission, therefore, and the Court had to . .
CitedRegina v Brown (Anthony); Regina v Lucas; etc HL 11-Mar-1993
The appellants had been convicted of assault, after having engaged in consensual acts of sado-masochism in which they inflicted varying degreees of physical self harm. They had pleaded guilty after a ruling that the prosecution had not needed to . .
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 . .
CitedCC v AB QBD 4-Dec-2006
The claimant sought an order to prevent the defendant and others from making it known that the claimant had had an adulterous relationship with the defendant’s wife. . .
CitedPolanski v Conde Nast Publications Ltd HL 10-Feb-2005
The claimant wished to pursue his claim for defamation against the defendant, but was reluctant to return to the UK to give evidence, fearing arrest and extradition to the US. He appealed refusal of permission to be interviewed on video tape. Held . .
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 . .
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. . .
CitedLeempoel and SA ED Cine Revue v Belgium ECHR 9-Nov-2006
‘In matters relating to striking a balance between protecting private life and the freedom of expression that the Court had had to rule upon, it has always emphasised . . the requirement that the publication of information, documents or photographs . .
CitedFrancome v Mirror Group Newspapers Ltd CA 1984
The defendant had acquired illegal tapes of telephone conversations which it said implicated the plaintiff. He sought to restrain publication of the material pending forthcoming discliplinary charges at the Jockey Club.
Held: The court had to . .
CitedKuddus v Chief Constable of Leicestershire Constabulary HL 7-Jun-2001
There is no rule of law preventing the award of exemplary damages against police officers. The fact that no case of misfeasance in public office had led to such awards before 1964, did not prevent such an award now. Although damages are generally . .
CitedKitetechnology v Unicor GmbH Plastmaschinen 1995
It would not be correct to describe a infringement of breach of privacy as a tort. . .
CitedZ Ltd v A-Z and AA-LL CA 1982
The plaintiffs, an overseas company with an office in London had been defrauded here. They sought and obtained Mareva injunctions against defendants and against six clearing banks. The banks sought clarification of their duties.
Held: The . .
CitedMaxwell v Pressdram Ltd CA 1987
The court was asked whether disclosure should be ordered in the context of the statutory privilege which was created by s.10 of the 1981 Act. The publisher defendant had deposed that it would justify the material. At trial, however, the defence of . .
CitedRowlands v Chief Constable of Merseyside Police CA 20-Dec-2006
The claimant succeeded in her claims for general damages against the respondent for personal injury, false imprisonment and malicious prosecution, but appealed refusal of the court to award aggravated damages against the chief constable.
Held: . .
CitedTolstoy 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 . .
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 . .
CitedJones v Pollard, Mirror Group Newspapers Limited and Bailey CA 12-Dec-1996
Articles in consecutive issues of The Sunday Mirror accused the plaintiff of pimping for the KGB, organising sex with prostitutes for visiting British businessmen and then blackmailing them. The defendants pleaded justification. The plaintiff . .
CitedAshley and Another v Chief Constable of Sussex Police HL 23-Apr-2008
The claimants sought to bring an action for damages after a family member suspected of dealing drugs, was shot by the police. At the time he was naked. The police officer had been acquitted by a criminal court of murder. The chief constable now . .
CitedChester v Afshar HL 14-Oct-2004
The claimant suffered back pain for which she required neurosurgery. The operation was associated with a 1-2% risk of the cauda equina syndrome, of which she was not warned. She went ahead with the surgery, and suffered that complication. The . .
CitedArcher v Williams QBD 3-Jul-2003
The claimant brought an action for breach of confidence against a former employee. . .
CitedBonnick v Morris, The Gleaner Company Ltd and Allen PC 17-Jun-2002
(Jamaica) The appellant sought damages from the respondent journalists in defamation. They had claimed qualified privilege. The words alleged to be defamatory were ambiguous.
Held: The publishers were protected by Reynolds privilege. The court . .
See AlsoMosley v News Group Newspapers Ltd QBD 9-Apr-2008
The claimant sought to continue an interim injunction requiring the defendant not to publish a film on its website.
Held: A claimant’s Article 8 rights may be engaged even where the information in question has been previously publicised. . .

Cited by:
CitedCallaghan v Independent News and Media Ltd QBNI 7-Jan-2009
callaghan_inmQBNI2009
The claimant was convicted in 1987 of a callous sexual murder. He sought an order preventing the defendant newspaper publishing anything to allow his or his family’s identification and delay his release. The defendant acknowledged the need to avoid . .
CitedLumba (WL) v Secretary of State for The Home Department SC 23-Mar-2011
The claimants had been detained under the 1971 Act, after completing sentences of imprisonment pending their return to their home countries under deportations recommended by the judges at trial, or chosen by the respondent. They challenged as . .
See AlsoMosley v The United Kingdom ECHR 22-Oct-2009
. .
See AlsoMosley v The United Kingdom ECHR 10-May-2011
The claimant complained of the reporting of a sexual encounter which he said was private.
Held: The reporting of ‘tawdry allegations about an individual’s private life’ does not attract the robust protection under Article 10 afforded to more . .
CitedCTB v News Group Newspapers Ltd and Another (1) QBD 16-May-2011
ctb_newsQBD11
A leading footballer had obtained an injunction restraining the defendants from publishing his identity and allegations of sexual misconduct. The claimant said that she had demanded money not to go public.
Held: It had not been suggested that . .
CitedGoodwin v NGN Ltd and VBN QBD 9-Jun-2011
goodwin_ngn4QBD11
The claimant had obtained an injunction preventing publication of his name and that of his coworker with whom he had had an affair. After widespread publication of his name elsewhere, the defendant had secured the discharge of the order as regards . .
CitedFerdinand v MGN Limited QBD 29-Sep-2011
fedinand_mgnQBD2011
The claimant, a famous footballer, complained that an article by the defendant relating an affair he had had, had infringed his right to privacy. The defendant relied on its right to freedom of expression. The claimant had at an earlier stage, 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.

Defamation, Media, Human Rights, Damages

Leading Case

Updated: 09 November 2021; Ref: scu.271044

Somerville v Hawkins: 1851

It is necessary for a claimant who wishes to prove malice in an alleged defamation to plead and prove facts which are more consistent with its presence than with its absence. Mawle J said: ‘it is certainly not necessary in order to enable a plaintiff to have the question of malice submitted to the jury, that the evidence should be such as necessarily leads to the conclusion that malice existed, or that it should be inconsistent with the non existence of malice; but it is necessary that the evidence should raise a probability of malice, and be more consistent with its existence than its non existence.’

Mawle J
(1851) 10 CB 583, [1851] EngR 73, (1851) 138 ER 231
Commonlii
England and Wales
Cited by:
AppliedTelnikoff v Matusevitch CA 1991
The court considered the element of malice in a defamation defence: ‘If a piece of evidence is equally consistent with malice and the absence of malice, it cannot as a matter of law provide evidence on which the jury could find malice. The judge . .
CitedMcBride v The Body Shop International Plc QBD 10-Jul-2007
The claimant sought damages for libel in an internal email written by her manager, accusing her of being a compulsive liar. The email had not been disclosed save in Employment Tribunal proceedings, and the claimant sought permission to use the email . .
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 . .
CitedSmith v ADVFN Plc and others QBD 25-Jul-2008
The claimant had brought multiple actions in defamation against anonymous posters on an online forum. The claimant sought to lift the stay which had been imposed because of the number of actions. The claimant had not yet paid outstanding costs . .
FollowedTurner v Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures Ltd (MGM) HL 1950
A letter was published which criticised a film critic’s review of the week’s films.
Held: A person (including a corporation) whose character or conduct has been attacked is entitled to answer the attack, and the answer will be protected by . .
CitedHughes v Risbridger and Another QBD 9-Dec-2009
hughes_risbridgerQBD2009
The defendants, employees of British Airways, sought summary judgement against the claimant in his claim for defamation in several emails. They had discussed the detention of the claimant under suspicion of theft at the airport, and claimed . .
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 . .
CitedKhader v Aziz and Others CA 23-Jun-2010
The claimant brought defamation proceedings after she had found and returned a valuable necklace belonging to the first respondent. The claim had been dismissed as an abuse of process.
Held: The claimant’s appeal failed: ‘there is such a . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Defamation

Leading Case

Updated: 09 November 2021; Ref: scu.194320

Turner v Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures Ltd (MGM): HL 1950

A letter was published which criticised a film critic’s review of the week’s films.
Held: A person (including a corporation) whose character or conduct has been attacked is entitled to answer the attack, and the answer will be protected by qualified privilege provided that it is proportional and fairly relevant to the attack and the extent of its publication.
As to the question of extrinsic evidence it is necessary to inquire into the state of mind of the defendant at the time of the publication, and to evaluate all the circumstances surrounding its publication. This may include events before and after the publication
Fair comment must be one which could have been made by an honest person, however prejudiced he might be, and however exaggerated or obstinate his views. Grossly exaggerated language may be evidence of malice.
Lord Oaksey said: ‘If you are attacked with a deadly weapon you can defend yourself with a deadly weapon or any other weapon which may protect your life. The law does not concern itself with niceties in such matters. If you are attacked by a prize-fighter you are not bound to adhere to the Queensbury rules in your defence.’ and ‘He is entitled, if he can, to defend himself effectively, and he only loses the protection of the law if he goes beyond defence and proceeds to offence’. The word ‘honest’ should be substituted for ‘fair’ in the usual phrase ‘fair comment.’
Whether the words are capable of being a statement of fact or conversely are only capable of being seen as comment is an issue properly to be dealt with judicially.
Lord Porter said: ‘were a statement of fact, and the facts were untrue, a plea of fair comment would not avail and it is for the jury in a proper case to determine what is comment and what is fact, but a pre-requisite to their right is that the words are capable of being a statement of a fact or facts.’

Lord Porter, Lord Oaksey
[1950] 1 All ER 449
England and Wales
Citing:
CitedMerivale v Carson CA 1887
A published criticism of a play made reference to one of the characters being ‘a naughty wife’, though in fact there was no adulterous wife in the play.
Held: The defence of fair comment is open to a commentator however prejudiced he might be, . .
FollowedSomerville v Hawkins 1851
It is necessary for a claimant who wishes to prove malice in an alleged defamation to plead and prove facts which are more consistent with its presence than with its absence. Mawle J said: ‘it is certainly not necessary in order to enable a . .

Cited by:
CitedTelnikoff v Matusevitch CA 1991
The court considered the element of malice in a defamation defence: ‘If a piece of evidence is equally consistent with malice and the absence of malice, it cannot as a matter of law provide evidence on which the jury could find malice. The judge . .
CitedAssociated Newspapers Ltd v Burstein CA 22-Jun-2007
The newspaper appealed an award of damages for defamation after its theatre critic’s review of an opera written by the claimant. The author said the article made him appear to sympathise with terrorism.
Held: The appeal succeeded. Keene LJ . .
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 . .
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 . .
CitedHughes v Risbridger and Another QBD 9-Dec-2009
hughes_risbridgerQBD2009
The defendants, employees of British Airways, sought summary judgement against the claimant in his claim for defamation in several emails. They had discussed the detention of the claimant under suspicion of theft at the airport, and claimed . .
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 . .
CitedRobins v Kordowski and Another QBD 22-Jul-2011
robins_kordQBD11
The claimant solicitor said he had been defamed on the first defendant’s website (‘Solicitors from Hell’) by the second defendant. The first defendant now applied to set aside judgment entered by default. The claimant additionally sought summary . .
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

Leading Case

Updated: 09 November 2021; Ref: scu.240311

Bonnard v Perryman: QBD 1891

The libel in issue was a very damaging one. Unless it could be justified at the trial it was one in which a jury would give the plaintiff ‘very serious damages’. The court was asked to grant an interlocutory injunction to restrain publication.
North J said: ‘I have this to bear in mind, that, if in such a case as this an interlocutory injunction is not granted, I cannot imagine any case in which an interlocutory injunction to restrain a libel could be granted, whereas it is clear on the authorities that there are cases in which it would be proper to grant it. Then there is this further matter to be considered with reference to the point made, that the matter ought to be tried before a jury. I am satisfied of this, that if the matter was before a jury now, upon the evidence which is before me – that is to say, the evidence of the Plaintiffs uncontradicted, not cross-examined to, and merely resting on the Defendant’s evidence in answer to it – I am perfectly satisfied there is not any jury in England who would say there should be a verdict for the Defendant in such a case, and, what is more, if they did, I am quite satisfied it is a case in which a new trial would be directed. This, of course, does not touch what may be the case when the action comes to be tried. There may be evidence before the Court then which would satisfy a jury who tries it that the Defendant has made out a justification. I am merely referring to the materials before me, which are all I can look to now in considering what I am to do in the matter. In these circumstances I have come to the conclusion that an injunction must be granted in the terms which I have mentioned.’

North J
[1891] 2 Ch 269
England and Wales
Citing:
CitedWilliam Coulson and Sons v James Coulson and Co CA 1887
Lord Esher MR said: ‘It could not be denied that the court had jurisdiction to grant an interim injunction before trial. It was, however, a most delicate jurisdiction to exercise, because, though Fox’s Act only applied to indictments and . .

Cited by:
Appeal fromBonnard 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 . .
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 . .
CitedCC v AB QBD 4-Dec-2006
The claimant sought an order to prevent the defendant and others from making it known that the claimant had had an adulterous relationship with the defendant’s wife. . .
CitedMerlin Entertainments LPC and Others v Cave QBD 25-Sep-2014
The claimants operated amusement parks. The defendant, believing that the parks were not being opearated as safely as they should be set up web-sites attacking the claimants and some employees in intemperate terms. The claimants sought interim . .
CitedBrett Wilson Llp v Person(s) Unknown, Responsible for The Operation and Publication of The Website www.solicitorsfromhelluk.com QBD 16-Sep-2015
The claimant solicitors sought remedies against the unknown publishers of the respondent website which was said to publish material defamatory of them, and to ampunt to harassment.
Held: The alleged defamatory meanings were not challenged by . .
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

Leading Case

Updated: 09 November 2021; Ref: scu.219252

Uppal v Endemol UK Ltd and Others: QBD 9 Apr 2014

The claimant alleged defamation by other contestants at the time when she was participating in the defendants’ TV show, Big Brother. The defendants had broadcast the material. The defendant now sought a ruling that the words complained of were not defamatory.
Held: The defamation action was dismissed summarily.
Dingemans J said: ‘the words were not capable of meaning that Ms Uppal had below average intelligence or was socially or intellectually inferior. The words did not reflect on Ms Uppal’s social or intellectual status. The use of the words, and in particular the use of the words ‘piece of shit’ to describe Ms Uppal, was vile abuse.’ Vile abuse as such was not actionable in defamation, although there remained a clear difference between ridicule, and exposure to ridicule by others.

Dingemans J
[2014] EWHC 1063 (QB)
Bailii
England and Wales
Citing:
CitedSim v Stretch HL 1936
Test For Defamatory Meaning
The plaintiff complained that the defendant had written in a telegram to accuse him of enticing away a servant. The House considered the process of deciding whether words were defamatory.
Held: The telegram was incapable of bearing a . .
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 . .
CitedBerkoff v Burchill and and Times Newspapers Limited CA 31-Jul-1996
The plaintiff actor said that an article by the defendant labelling him ugly was defamatory. The defendant denied that the words were defamatory.
Held: It is for the jury to decide in what context the words complained of were used and whether . .
CitedLukowlak v Unidad Editorial SA (No 1) QBD 23-Jul-2001
When a court considered a defamation contained in a multi-jurisdictional publication, and the question of whether there might be any duty to publish, it should recognise and respect the global nature of modern publications, with more widely . .
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 . .
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 . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Defamation, Media

Updated: 09 November 2021; Ref: scu.523634

White 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 disclosure in other proceedings and also that material was privileged.
Held: The defendant was entitled to summary judgment as regards the letter to the BMA initiating the complaint. There was no way that that claim could succeed. ‘The public policy objective is to enable people to speak freely, without inhibition and without fear of being sued, whether making a complaint of criminal conduct to the police or drawing material to the attention of a professional body such as the GMC or the Law Society for the purpose of investigation. It is important that the person in question must be able to know at the time he makes the relevant communication whether or not the immunity will attach; that is to say, the policy would be undermined if, in order to obtain the benefit of the immunity, he was obliged to undergo the stress and expense of resisting a plea of malice.’
As to the letter disclosed in other proceedings, that could not be used for any other purpose without consent. That consent had been refused under the discretion of the judge, and that discretion should not be disturbed without good reason. In fact it had been exercised correctly: ‘it is necessary always to bear in mind that the ultimate purpose of any libel litigation is for the claimant to achieve vindication in respect of his or her character. Since she is not complaining of any of the other passages in the reference, it is not easy to see how a libel action in respect of this letter could ever achieve anything by way of vindication. Accordingly, it seems to me, as in effect it also did to the Master, that any rights on the part of Dr White under Article 6 or Article 8 of the Convention are outweighed by the rights of the Defendants under Article 10 and, specifically, their right not to be vexed with unmeritorious and futile litigation over a confidential document disclosed under compulsion of law.’

Eady J
[2011] EWHC 825 (QB)
Bailii
Civil Procedure Rules 31.22
England and Wales
Citing:
CitedLincoln v Daniels CA 1961
The defendant claimed absolute immunity in respect of communications sent by him to the Bar Council alleging professional misconduct by the plaintiff, a Queen’s Counsel.
Held: Initial communications sent to the secretary of the Bar Council . .
CitedTanfern Ltd v Cameron-MacDonald, Cameron-MacDonald CA 12-May-2000
The court gave detailed guidance on the application of the new procedures on civil appeals in private law cases introduced on May 2. Appeals from a County Court District Judge’s final decision in a multi-track case could now go straight to the Court . .
CitedLilley v Roney 1892
A complaint to the Law Society or its equivalent had been held to be made on occasion of absolute privilege. . .
CitedHung v Gardiner 6-May-2003
Canlii (Court of Appeal for British Columbia) The court was asked whether a person who provides information to a professional disciplinary body about the conduct of one of its members is liable in an action . .
CitedVaidya 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 . .
CitedVaidya 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.’ . .
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 . .
CitedAhari v Birmingham Heartlands and Solihull NHS Trust EAT 1-Apr-2008
EAT Practice and Procedure: Strikingout/dismissal
Jurisdictional Points: Claim in time and effective date of termination
Race discrimination: Direct
Absolute witness immunity – quasi-judicial . .
CitedTaylor and Others v Director of The Serious Fraud Office and Others HL 29-Oct-1998
The defendant had requested the Isle of Man authorities to investigate the part if any taken by the plaintiff in a major fraud. No charges were brought against the plaintiff, but the documents showing suspicion came to be disclosed in the later . .
CitedTrapp v Mackie HL 1979
Dr Trapp had been dismissed from his post by the Aberdeenshire Education Committee of which Mr Mackie was chairman. Dr Trapp petitioned the Secretary of State for an inquiry into the reasons for his dismissal. An inquiry was set up, and in the . .
CitedDawkins v Lord Rokeby 1873
dawkins_rokeby1873
Police officers (among others) are immune from any action that may be brought against them on the ground that things said or done by them in the ordinary course of the proceedings were said or done falsely and maliciously and without reasonable and . .
CitedD v National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children HL 2-Feb-1977
Immunity from disclosure of their identity should be given to those who gave information about neglect or ill treatment of children to a local authority or the NSPCC similar to that which the law allowed to police informers.
Lord Simon of . .
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 . .
CitedG v G (Minors: Custody Appeal) HL 25-Apr-1985
The House asked when a decision, on the facts, of a first instance court is so wrong as to allow it to be overturned on appeal.
Held: The epithet ‘wrong’ is to be applied to the substance of the decision made by the lower court. ‘Certainly it . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Defamation, Civil Procedure Rules

Updated: 09 November 2021; Ref: scu.431659

Stockdale v Hansard: 1839

Bailii It is no defence in law to an action for publishing a libel, that defamatory matter is part of a order of the House of Commons, laid before the House, and thereupon became part of the proceedings of the House and which was afterwards, by orders of the House, printed and published by defendant; and that the House of Commons heretofore resolved, declared, and adjudged ‘that the power of publishing such of its reports, votes, and proceedings as it shall deem necessary or conducive to the public interests is an essential incident to the constitutional functions of parliament, more especially to the Commons’ House of Parliament as the representative portion of it.’
On demurrer to a plea suggesting such a defence, a court of law is competent to determine whether or not the House of Commons has such privilege as will support the plea.
Lord Denman CJ said: ‘Our respect and gratitude to the Convention Parliament ought not to blind us to the fact that this sentence of imprisonment was as unjust and tyrannical as any of those of arbitrary power for which they deprived King James of his Crown.’ and ‘Where the subject matter falls within their jurisdiction, no doubt we cannot question their judgment; but we are now enquiring whether the subject matter does fall within the jurisdiction of the House of Commons. It is contended that they can bring it within their jurisdiction by declaring it so. To this claim, as arising from their privileges, I have already stated my answer: it is perfectly clear that none of these Courts could give themselves jurisdiction by adjudging that they enjoy it.’

Lord Denman CJ
(1839) 9 Ad and El 1, [1839] EWHC QB J21, 112 ER 1112, (1839) 9 Ad and Ell 96
Bailii
England and Wales
Citing:
appeal fromStockdale v Hansard And Others 7-Feb-1837
The order of the House of Commons for the publication and sale by certain booksellers of Reports laid before the House, does not exempt the booksellers from answering in an action of libel any individual injured by defamatory matters in such Reports . .
appeal fromStockdale v Hansard And Others 7-Feb-1837
The House of Commons, in the years 1836 and 1836, made resolutions that parliamentary papers and reports, printed for the use of the house, should be publicly sold by their printer ; and afterwards a report from the Inspectors of Prisons was ordered . .
CitedEntick v Carrington KBD 1765
The Property of Every Man is Sacred
The King’s Messengers entered the plaintiff’s house and seized his papers under a warrant issued by the Secretary of State, a government minister.
Held: The common law does not recognise interests of state as a justification for allowing what . .

Cited by:
CitedJennings v Buchanan PC 14-Jul-2004
(New Zealand) (Attorney General of New Zealand intervening) The defendant MP had made a statement in Parliament which attracted parliamentary privilege. In a subsequent newspaper interview, he said ‘he did not resile from his claim’. He defended the . .
CitedPrebble 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 . .
CitedChaytor and Others, Regina v CACD 30-Jul-2010
The defendants had been members of the Houses of Commons and of Lords. They faced charges of dishonesty in respect of their expenses claims. They now appealed a finding that they were not subject to the exclusive jurisdiction of Parliament under . .
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 . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Constitutional, Defamation

Leading Case

Updated: 09 November 2021; Ref: scu.199236

Curistan 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 newspaper’s own investigative findings. Challenge to the so-called ‘repetition rule’ which generally applies to reported speech in defamation proceedings.
Held: The newspaper’s appeal was allowed. The inclusion of non-privileged material alongside privileged material did not work to defeat the protection given to the privileged material, though ‘reporting privilege will be lost if the quality of fairness required for reporting privilege is lost by intermingling extraneous material with the material for which privilege is claimed.’ Nor in this case had the paper adopted the comments it referred to.
‘There was no suggestion by The Sunday Times that Mr Curistan was guilty of association with IRA money laundering or dirty money or financial malpractice. The operation of the repetition rule is in these circumstances arbitrary and for the reasons given above diminishes the privilege given to reports of Parliamentary proceedings. In my judgment, in those circumstances, it is not disproportionate to hold that the repetition rule does not apply to determine the meaning of the non-privileged parts of the article. Mr Curistan’s private interest in the protection of his reputation has to give way to the public interest in knowing what was said in Parliament. ‘

Lord Phillips of Worth Matravers, Lord Chief Justice, Lord Justice Laws and Lady Justice Arden
[2008] EWCA Civ 432, Times 06-May-2008, [2009] 2 WLR 149, [2008] 3 All ER 923, [2008] EMLR 17
Bailii
Defamation Act 1996 15
England and Wales
Citing:
Appeal fromCuristan v Times Newspapers Ltd QBD 25-Apr-2007
Mr Curistan, a chartered accountant, prominent in Northern Ireland, contended that an article published by the defendant which was partly based on statements made in Parliament, was defamatory of him. . .
CitedLewis v Daily Telegraph Ltd CA 1963
The court considered a request from jurors when assessing damages in a defamation trial for details of the movements in share prices of the plaintiff.
Held: No further evidence could be called. . .
CitedDe Crespigny v Wellesley 9-Feb-1829
In an action for a libel, it is no plea, that the defendant had the libellous statement from another, and upon publication disclosed the author’s name. . .
CitedMcPherson v Daniels 1829
Bayley J said: Upon the great point, viz. whether it is a good defence to an action for slander for a defendant to show he heard it from another, and at that time named the author, I am of the opinion that it is not’ and ‘the law will not permit a . .
CitedCookson 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 . .
CitedStern v Piper and Others CA 21-May-1996
The defendant newspaper said that allegations had been made against the plaintiff that he was not paying his debts. In their defence they pleaded justification and the fact that he was being sued for debt.
Held: A defamation was not to be . .
CitedLewis v Daily Telegraph Ltd HL 1964
Ascertaining Meaning of Words for Defamation
The Daily Telegraph had published an article headed ‘Inquiry on Firm by City Police’ and the Daily Mail had published an article headed ‘Fraud Squad Probe Firm’. The plaintiffs claimed that those articles carried the meaning that they were guilty of . .
CitedAl-Fagih v H H Saudi Research and Marketing (UK) Ltd CA 1-Nov-2001
The media’s right to freedom of expression, particularly in the field of political discussion ‘is of a higher order’ than ‘the right of an individual to his good reputation.’ The majority upheld an appeal against a trial judge’s ruling that the . .
CitedDingle v Associated Newspapers HL 1964
The plaintiff complained of an article written in the Daily Mail which included the reporting of a report of a Parliamentary select committee. The reporting of the select committee’s report was privileged under the Parliamentary Papers Act 1840. At . .
CitedLucas-Box v News Group Newspapers Ltd; Polly Peck (Holdings) Plc v Trelford, Viscount De L’Isle v Times Newspapers Ltd CA 1986
Justification To be Clearly Set Out
The former practice which dictated that a defendant who wished to rely on a different meaning in support of a plea of justification or fair comment, did not have to set out in his defence the meaning on which he based his plea, was ill-founded and . .
CitedCharleston and Another v News Group Newspapers Ltd and Another HL 31-Mar-1995
The plaintiffs were actors playing Harold and Madge Bishop in the Australian soap series ‘Neighbours’. They sued on a tabloid newspaper article which showed their faces superimposed on the near-naked bodies of models apparently engaged in sexual . .
CitedChalmers v Payne 1835
Bane and Antidote Doctrine – Take them as One
The court considered the bane and antidote doctrine in defamation. B Alderson said: ‘But the question here is, whether the matter be slanderous or not, which is a question of the Jury; who are to take the whole together and say whether the result of . .
CitedWason v Walter; ex parte Wason QBD 1868
Defamation proceedings were begun in respect of newspaper reports of debates in Parliament.
Held: By analogy with reports of judicial proceedings, that fair and accurate reports of parliamentary proceedings were privileged. It was of paramount . .
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 . .
CitedMark v Associated Newspapers Limited CA 29-May-2002
The claimant sought damages in defamation saying that the defendant had said she had authorised publication of extracts from her book about her time working as housekeeper for the prime minister’s family before she had obtained proper authority for . .
CitedTsikata v Newspaper Publishing Plc CA 30-Sep-1996
. .
CitedCook 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 . .
CitedAndrews v Chapman 1853
A report does not cease to be fair because there are some slight inaccuracies or omissions. However, comment in order to be justifiable as fair comment must appear as comment and must not be so mixed up with the facts that the reader cannot . .
CitedMangena v Wright 1909
Where the defamatory allegations are in fact untrue, the defence of fair comment is available only where the occasion was privileged. . .
CitedChakravarti 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 . .
CitedJennings v Buchanan PC 14-Jul-2004
(New Zealand) (Attorney General of New Zealand intervening) The defendant MP had made a statement in Parliament which attracted parliamentary privilege. In a subsequent newspaper interview, he said ‘he did not resile from his claim’. He defended the . .
CitedShah and Another v Standard Chartered Bank CA 2-Apr-1998
The plaintiffs appealed against refusal of orders striking out the defences of justification to their libel action.
Held: The words complained of bore an accusation of money laundering. A plea of justification based upon a reasonable belief in . .
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 . .
CitedBerezovsky and Glouchkov v Forbes Inc and Michaels CA 31-Jul-2001
The claimant sought damages from the defendant for a magazine article claiming that he was involved in organised crime in Russia. The defendants appealed against the striking out of elements of the defence suggesting lesser meanings. Was meaning a . .
CitedPedersen and Baadsgaard v Denmark ECHR 19-Jun-2003
Hudoc No violation of Art. 6-1 ; No violation of Art. 10 . .
CitedRoberts and Another v Gable and others CA 12-Jul-2007
The claimants appealed a finding of qualified privilege in their claim of defamation by the defendant author and magazine which was said to have accused them of theft and threats of violence against other members of the BNP.
Held: The appeal . .

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 . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Defamation

Leading Case

Updated: 09 November 2021; Ref: scu.267358

Mawe v Pigott: 1869

A claim for libel was brought by an Irish priest, who was said to be an informer against disloyal and criminal classes.
Held: The action was dismissed. The argument on behalf of the priest was noted to be that amongst certain classes who were either themselves criminal, or who sympathised with crime, it would expose the priest to great odium to represent him as an informer or prosecutor. Lawson J said: ‘that is quite true, but we cannot be called upon to adopt that standard’, and: ‘The very circumstances which will make a person be regarded with disfavour by the criminal classes will raise his character in the estimation of right-thinking men. We can only regard the estimation in which a man is held by society generally.’

Lawson J
(1869) Ir R 4 CL 54
England and Wales
Cited by:
CitedWilliams v MGN Ltd QBD 2-Dec-2009
The claimant, who had been convicted of murder, complained that an article defamed him by calling him a ‘grass’ or police informer. The defendant asked that the claimant’s defamation action be struck out as an abuse.
Held: While the suggestion . .
CitedRufus v Elliott QBD 1-Nov-2013
rufus_elliottQBD2013
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

Leading Case

Updated: 02 November 2021; Ref: scu.421071

Tamiz 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. Any claim would fail. An ISP which performs no more than a passive role in facilitating postings on the internet cannot be deemed to be a publisher at common law. A telephone company or other passive medium of communication, such as an ISP, is not analogous to someone in the position of a distributor, who might at common law be treated as having published so as to need a defence.
Eady J said: ‘Where the law is uncertain, in the face of rapidly developing technology, it is important that judges should strive to achieve consistency in their decisions and that proper regard should be paid, in doing so, to the values enshrined in the European Convention on Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms. In particular, one should guard against imposing legal liability in restraint of Article 10 where it is not necessary or proportionate so to do.’
and ‘It seems to me to be a significant factor in the evidence before me that Google Inc is not required to take any positive step, technically, in the process of continuing the accessibility of the offending material, whether it has been notified of a complainant’s objection or not. In those circumstances, I would be prepared to hold that it should not be regarded as a publisher, or even as one who authorises publication, under the established principles of the common law. As I understand the evidence its role, as a platform provider, is a purely passive one.’

Eady J
[2012] EWHC 449 (QB), [2012] EMLR 24
Bailii
Defamation Act 1996 81, European Convention on Human Rights 10, Electronic Commerce (EC Directive) Regulations 2002 19
England and Wales
Citing:
CitedGodfrey v Demon Internet Limited (2) QBD 23-Apr-1999
Evidence of Reputation Admissible but Limited
The plaintiff had brought an action for damages for defamation. The defendant wished to amend its defence to include allegations that the plaintiff had courted litigation by his action.
Held: A judge assessing damages should be able see the . .
CitedDavison v Habeeb and Others QBD 25-Nov-2011
Parkes QC J recognised that ‘there is in my judgment an arguable case that [Google Inc] is the publisher of the material complained of, and that at least following notification it is liable for publication of that material’. . .
CitedClift v Clarke QBD 18-Feb-2011
The claimant sought disclosure of identities of posters to the defendant’s web-site.
Held: ‘In my view, the postings are clearly one or two-liners, in effect posted anonymously by random members of the public who do not purport, either by . .
CitedDow Jones and Co Inc v Jameel CA 3-Feb-2005
Presumption of Damage in Defamation is rebuttable
The defendant complained that the presumption in English law that the victim of a libel had suffered damage was incompatible with his right to a fair trial. They said the statements complained of were repetitions of statements made by US . .
CitedBunt v Tilley and others QBD 10-Mar-2006
bunt_tilleyQBD2006
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 . .
CitedMetropolitan International Schools Ltd (T/A Skillstrain And/Or Train2Game) v Designtechnica Corporation (T/A Digital Trends) and Others QBD 1-Oct-2010
The court set at andpound;50,000 the damages after a finding of defamation of the claimant training company for materials published by the defendant thorugh their web-site. An internet search engine was not liable in defamation because the mental . .
CitedAl 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 . .
CitedSmith v ADVFN Plc and others QBD 25-Jul-2008
The claimant had brought multiple actions in defamation against anonymous posters on an online forum. The claimant sought to lift the stay which had been imposed because of the number of actions. The claimant had not yet paid outstanding costs . .
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 . .
CitedL’Oreal SA, Lancome parfums et beaute and Cie, Laboratoire Garnier and Cie, L’Oreal (UK) Limited v eBay International AG, eBay Europe SARL, eBay (UK) Limited ECJ 12-Jul-2011
ECJ Grand Chamber – Trade marks – Internet – Offer for sale, on an online marketplace targeted at consumers in the European Union, of trade-marked goods intended, by the proprietor, for sale in third States – . .
CitedKaschke v Gray and Another QBD 29-Mar-2010
kaschke_grayQBD10
The defendant appealed against the refusal of the Master to strike out the claim in defamation in respect of a post by a third party on his unmoderated blog. The claimant said that the article accused her of an historic association with a terrorist . .

Cited by:
Appeal fromTamiz v Google Inc CA 14-Feb-2013
The respondent hosted a blogs platform. One of its user’s blogs was said by the appellant to have been defamatory. On discovery the material had been removed quickly. The claimant now appealed against his claim being struck out. He argued as to: (1) . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Defamation, Human Rights, Media

Updated: 02 November 2021; Ref: scu.451795

Tiscali UK Ltd v British Telecommunications Plc: QBD 16 Dec 2008

The claimant internet provider claimed damages against the defendant who it said had written to its clients making false assertions about the claimant. An earlier defamation claim had been struck out, but the claimant now alleged interference with its business by unlawful means.
Held: While the allegations were novel the amendments were allowed.

Eady J
[2008] EWHC 3129 (QB)
Bailii
Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 (2008/1277, Misleading and Comparative Advertising Directive (2006/114/EC), Control of Misleading Advertisement Regulations 1988
England and Wales
Citing:
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 . .
CitedCable and Wireless plc v British Telecommunications plc ChD 1998
The court set out the applicable legal principles in trade mark infringement. The court considered the elements necessary to establish a defence under s10(6): The primary objective of section 10(6) of the 1996 Act is to permit comparative . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Media, Defamation, Torts – Other

Updated: 02 November 2021; Ref: scu.278800

ZC v Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust: QBD 26 Jul 2019

Defamation/privacy claims against doctors failed

The claimant, seeking damages for alleged defamation, now asked for the case to be anonymised.
Held: The conditions for anonymisation were not met. The anonymity would be retained temporarily until any time for appeal had passed.
As to the defamation allegation (contained in an email: ‘in order to satisfy the test in s 1(1), the Claimant must prove on the balance of probabilities as a fact that the Email has caused her serious harm, or that it is likely as a matter of fact to do so in the future’. She had been unable to substantiate the assertion that more than four people had seen the email at issue.
The claimant had at times lied to staff and hidden her identity, and without additional evidence the assertions were not made out.
The Defendant having additionally succeeded in showing that the imputations conveyed by the Email that the Claimant was dishonest and fraudulent were substantially true. The defence of truth therefore succeeded.
There can be no expectation of privacy in relation to an attempt to deceive a hospital professional.

Julian Knowles J
[2019] EWHC 2040 (QB)
Bailii
Civil Procedure Rules 39.2.4, Human Rights Act 1998, Defamation Act 2013 1(1)
England and Wales
Citing:
CitedHM Revenue and Customs v Banerjee (1) ChD 19-Jun-2009
The taxpayer sought anonymity in the reporting of the case against her.
Held: No, she could not be given anonymity.
Henderson J said: ‘In determining whether it is necessary to hold a hearing in private, or to grant anonymity to a party, . .
CitedIn re Guardian News and Media Ltd and Others; HM Treasury v Ahmed and Others SC 27-Jan-2010
Proceedings had been brought to challenge the validity of Orders in Council which had frozen the assets of the claimants in those proceedings. Ancillary orders were made and confirmed requiring them not to be identified. As the cases came to the . .
CitedCampbell v Mirror Group Newspapers Ltd (MGN) (No 1) HL 6-May-2004
The claimant appealed against the denial of her claim that the defendant had infringed her right to respect for her private life. She was a model who had proclaimed publicly that she did not take drugs, but the defendant had published a story . .
CitedPrince Abdulaziz v Apex Global Management Ltd and Another SC 26-Nov-2014
The appellant was involved in very substantial litigation with the respondents. As a member of the Saudi Royal family he said that by convention he was not allowed to sign a witness statement, and appealed inter alia against orders requiring him to . .
CitedLachaux v Independent Print Ltd and Another SC 12-Jun-2019
Need to Show Damage Increased by 2013 Act
The claimant alleged defamation by three publishers. The articles were held to have defamatory meaning, but the papers argued that the defamations did not reach the threshold of seriousness in section 1(1) of the 2013 Act.
Held: Section 1 of . .
CitedSim v Stretch HL 1936
Test For Defamatory Meaning
The plaintiff complained that the defendant had written in a telegram to accuse him of enticing away a servant. The House considered the process of deciding whether words were defamatory.
Held: The telegram was incapable of bearing a . .
CitedAsh and Another v McKennitt and others CA 14-Dec-2006
The claimant was a celebrated Canadian folk musician. The defendant, a former friend, published a story of their close friendship. The claimant said the relationship had been private, and publication infringed her privacy rights, and she obtained an . .
CitedPJS v News Group Newspapers Ltd SC 19-May-2016
The appellants had applied for restrictions on the publication of stories about their extra marital affairs. The Court of Appeal had removed the restrictions on the basis that the story had been widely spread outside the jurisdiction both on the . .
CitedKoutsogiannis v The Random House Group Ltd QBD 18-Jan-2019
Settling Meaning in Defamation Cases
Nicklin J set out the approach to meaning in defamation actions: The Court’s task is to determine the single natural and ordinary meaning of the words complained of, which is the meaning that the hypothetical reasonable reader would understand the . .
CitedStocker v Stocker SC 3-Apr-2019
The parties had been married and divorced. Mrs S told M S’s new partner on Facebook that he had tried to strangle her and made other allegations. Mrs S now appealed from a finding that she had defamed him. Lord Kerr restated the approach to meaning . .
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 . .
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 . .
CitedSerafin v Malkiewicz and Others CA 17-May-2019
Appeal from rejection of claim in defamation . .
CitedIn re S (a Child) (Identification: Restrictions on Publication) HL 28-Oct-2004
Inherent High Court power may restrain Publicity
The claimant child’s mother was to be tried for the murder of his brother by poisoning with salt. It was feared that the publicity which would normally attend a trial, would be damaging to S, and an application was made for reporting restrictions to . .
CitedIvey v Genting Casinos (UK) Ltd (T/A Crockfords) SC 25-Oct-2017
The claimant gambler sought payment of his winnings. The casino said that he had operated a system called edge-sorting to achieve the winnings, and that this was a form of cheating so as to excuse their payment. The system exploited tiny variances . .
CitedMurray v Big Pictures (UK) Ltd; Murray v Express Newspapers CA 7-May-2008
The claimant, a famous writer, complained on behalf of her infant son that he had been photographed in a public street with her, and that the photograph had later been published in a national newspaper. She appealed an order striking out her claim . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Defamation, Information

Updated: 02 November 2021; Ref: scu.641728

Dingle v Associated Newspapers: HL 1964

The plaintiff complained of an article written in the Daily Mail which included the reporting of a report of a Parliamentary select committee. The reporting of the select committee’s report was privileged under the Parliamentary Papers Act 1840. At trial the judge held that the part of the article which reported on the proceedings in Parliament was privileged. The remainder of the article was found to be defamatory and the judge then set about fixing the damages for the libel. The court had to decide on how the responsibility might be apportioned.
Held: The appeal was dismissed. It was not permissible to mitigate damages by saying that others had said the same thing. ‘Damages for defamation are an expression of many contributing factors, and, as we know, they can be affected one way or another by a defendant’s conduct, by his pleadings, by his counsel’s handling of his case, just as, occasionally, even a plaintiff may find his damages affected by the way that he has behaved.’ The judge had wrongly taken into account evidence that the plaintiff’s reputation had already been damaged by what had been said in Parliament or by what had been said on other occasions, and that the Daily Mail had subsequently published an article which vindicated the plaintiff’s reputation.

Lord Radcliffe, Lord Morton of Henryton, Lord Cohen, Lord Denning and Lord Morris of Borth-y-Guest
[1964] AC 371, [1972] UKHL 2
Bailii
England and Wales
Citing:
Appeal fromDingle v Associated Newspapers CA 1961
A defamation of the claimant had been published and then repeated by others.
Held: The court discussed the logical impossibility of apportioning damage between different tortfeasors: ‘Where injury has been done to the plaintiff and the injury . .

Cited by:
CitedGodfrey v Demon Internet Limited (2) QBD 23-Apr-1999
Evidence of Reputation Admissible but Limited
The plaintiff had brought an action for damages for defamation. The defendant wished to amend its defence to include allegations that the plaintiff had courted litigation by his action.
Held: A judge assessing damages should be able see the . .
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 . .
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 . .
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 . .
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 . .
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 . .
CitedCairns v Modi CA 31-Oct-2012
Three appeals against the levels of damages awards were heard together, and the court considered the principles to be applied.
Held: In assessing compensation following a libel, the essential question was how much loss and damage did the . .
Still Good LawLachaux v Independent Print Ltd (1) CA 12-Sep-2017
Defamation – presumption of damage after 2013 Act
The claimant said that the defendant had published defamatory statements which were part of a campaign of defamation brought by his former wife. The court now considered the requirement for substantiality in the 2013 Act.
Held: The defendant’s . .
CitedTurley v Unite The Union and Another QBD 19-Dec-2019
Defamation of Labour MP by Unite and Blogger
The claimant now a former MP had alleged that a posting on a website supported by the first defendant was false and defamatory. The posting suggested that the claimant had acted dishonestly in applying online for a category of membership of the . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Defamation, Damages

Leading Case

Updated: 02 November 2021; Ref: scu.185259

Flood v Times Newspapers Ltd: QBD 2 Oct 2009

The defendant had published a story in its newspaper. At that time it attracted Reynolds qualified privilege. After the circumstances changed, the paper offered an updating item. That offer was rejected as inadequate.
Held: The qualified privilege was attracted at the time of the original publication. Striking the appropriate balance, this was a story of proper public interest. The damage to the claimant’s reputation was real, but was still outweighed.
However, privilege ceased to be available where, as here, the investigations recorded had concluded that the claimant was innocent of the allegations related. The continued publication of the original article on the newpaper’s web-site was no longer privileged, since there could be no continuing public interest in its publication.

Tugendhat J
[2009] EWHC 2375 (QB), Times 23-Oct-2009, [2010] EMLR 8
Bailii
England and Wales
Citing:
CitedPurcell v Sowler CA 1877
A Manchester newspaper reported a public meeting of poor-law guardians, in which a medical officer was said to have neglected to attend pauper patients when sent for.
Held: Publication was not privileged. The Court looked beyond the . .
CitedAttorney General’s Reference No 3 of 1999: Application By the British Broadcasting Corporation To Set Aside or Vary a Reporting Restriction Order HL 17-Jun-2009
An application was made to discharge an anonymity order made in previous criminal proceedings before the House. The defendant was to be retried for rape under the 2003 Act, after an earlier acquittal. The applicant questioned whether such a order . .
CitedStern v Piper and Others CA 21-May-1996
The defendant newspaper said that allegations had been made against the plaintiff that he was not paying his debts. In their defence they pleaded justification and the fact that he was being sued for debt.
Held: A defamation was not to be . .
CitedPfeifer v Austria ECHR 15-Nov-2007
The right to protect one’s honour and reputation is to be treated as falling within the protection of Article 8: ‘a person’s reputation, even if that person is criticised in the context of a public debate, forms part of his or her personal identity . .
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 . .
CitedRoberts and Another v Gable and others CA 12-Jul-2007
The claimants appealed a finding of qualified privilege in their claim of defamation by the defendant author and magazine which was said to have accused them of theft and threats of violence against other members of the BNP.
Held: The appeal . .
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 . .
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 . .
CitedAl-Fagih v H H Saudi Research and Marketing (UK) Ltd CA 1-Nov-2001
The media’s right to freedom of expression, particularly in the field of political discussion ‘is of a higher order’ than ‘the right of an individual to his good reputation.’ The majority upheld an appeal against a trial judge’s ruling that the . .
CitedIn re S (a Child) (Identification: Restrictions on Publication) HL 28-Oct-2004
Inherent High Court power may restrain Publicity
The claimant child’s mother was to be tried for the murder of his brother by poisoning with salt. It was feared that the publicity which would normally attend a trial, would be damaging to S, and an application was made for reporting restrictions to . .
CitedCumpana Et Mazare -c- Roumanie ECHR 10-Jun-2003
Reputation can be a Convention right within Article 8. . .
Citedex parte HTV Cymru (Wales) Ltd 2002
The court granted an injunction to restrain the media from interviewing witnesses during the course of a criminal trial, and until all the evidence was complete. One witness would have to be recalled, and others might be recalled, and accordingly . .
CitedBonnick v Morris, The Gleaner Company Ltd and Allen PC 17-Jun-2002
(Jamaica) The appellant sought damages from the respondent journalists in defamation. They had claimed qualified privilege. The words alleged to be defamatory were ambiguous.
Held: The publishers were protected by Reynolds privilege. The court . .
CitedDuke of Brunswick v Harmer QBD 2-Nov-1849
brunswick_harmerQBD1849
On 19 September 1830 an article was published in the Weekly Dispatch. The limitation period for libel was six years. The article defamed the Duke of Brunswick. Seventeen years after its publication an agent of the Duke purchased a back number . .
CitedTimes Newspapers Ltd (Nos. 1 And 2) v The United Kingdom ECHR 10-Mar-2009
The applicant alleged that the rule under United Kingdom law whereby each time material is downloaded from the Internet a new cause of action in libel proceedings accrued (‘the Internet publication rule’) constituted an unjustifiable and . .
CitedBerezovsky v Forbes Inc and Michaels; Glouchkov v Same HL 16-May-2000
Plaintiffs who lived in Russia sought damages for defamation against an American magazine with a small distribution in England. Both plaintiffs had real connections with and reputations in England. A judgment in Russia would do nothing to repair the . .
CitedLoutchansky v The Times Newspapers Ltd and Others (Nos 2 to 5) CA 5-Dec-2001
Two actions for defamation were brought by the claimant against the defendant. The publication reported in detail allegations made against the claimant of criminal activities including money-laundering on a vast scale. They admitted the defamatory . .
CitedClarke (T/A Elumina Iberica Uk) v Bain and Another QBD 19-Nov-2008
The defendant asked the court to dismiss claims in defamation in an email saying that it lacked jurisdiction: ‘what is to be found on the internet may become like a tattoo’
Held: The court emphasised the need for careful control by the court . .
See AlsoFlood v Times Newspapers Ltd and others QBD 5-Mar-2009
The claimant police officer complained of an alleged defamation in an article published by the defendant. The defendant wished to obtain information from the IPCC to show that they were investigating the matter as a credible issue. The court . .

Cited by:
CitedBudu v The British Broadcasting Corporation QBD 23-Mar-2010
budu_bbcQBD2010
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 . .
Appeal fromFlood v Times Newspapers Ltd CA 13-Jul-2010
The claimant police officer complained of an article he said was defamatory in saying he was being investigated for allegations of accepting bribes. The article remained on the internet even after he was cleared. Each party appealed interim orders. . .
At first instanceFlood 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.

Defamation

Updated: 02 November 2021; Ref: scu.376177

Seaga v Harper: PC 30 Jan 2008

Public meeting gave no qualified privilege

(Jamaica) The appellant politician pleaded that his words about a senior policemen when spoken at a public meeting were protected from an action in slander by qualified privilege.
Held: The appeal failed.

Lord Scott of Foscote, Lord Walker of Gestingthorpe, Lord Carswell, Lord Neuberger of Abbotsbury, Sir Henry Brooke
[2008] UKPC 9, [2008] 3 WLR 478, [2008] 1 All ER 965, [2009] 1 AC 1, [2008] EMLR 18
Bailii
England and Wales
Citing:
CitedPerera v Peiris PC 1949
Qualified privilege claim upheld
(Ceylon) The ‘Ceylon Daily News’ had published extracts from a report of the Bribery Commission which was critical of Dr. Perera’s lack of frankness in his evidence. The Judicial Committee upheld a claim to qualified privilege. In the light of the . .
CitedBlackshaw v Lord CA 1984
Claim to privilege must be precisely focused
The Daily Telegraph carried an article headed ‘Incompetence at ministry cost pounds 52 million’ recording that a number of senior civil servants had been reprimanded after investigation by the Public Accounts Committee. The plaintiff had been in . .

Cited by:
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 . .
See AlsoSeaga v Harper (No 2) PC 29-Jun-2009
No conditional fees without country approval
(Jamaica) Jamaican domestic law did not allow conditional fees or for the recovery of an after the event insurance premium for costs. When the case was appealed to the Board, his English solicitors represented him under a conditional fee agreement . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Defamation

Updated: 02 November 2021; Ref: scu.266061

Fiddes v Channel Four Television Corporation and Others: CA 29 Jun 2010

The claimants in a defamation case made an interlocutory appeal against an order for trial by judge alone. The parties had agreed for trial by jury, but the defendants made a late application for trial by judge alone.
Held: The claimant’s appeal failed. The right to a trial by jury is a constitutional right subject to the conditions in section 69. Nevertheless there were advantages to trial by judge including the availability of a reasoned judgment and the reduction in cost. Taking account of the extent of documentation involved and other relevant factors, the conclusion that the matter fell within the conditions was inescapable.
Lord Neuberger MR spoke of the principles appliccable on hearing an application for jury trial iin a defamation case: There are, however, four factors which have been identified in the earlier cases, which have some general application and which are presently relevant, as the judge recognised:
(1) The emphasis now is against trial by juries, and this should be taken into account by the court when exercising its discretion (Goldsmith v Pressdram (supra) at page 68 per Lawton LJ with whom Slade LJ expressly agreed). This conclusion is based on section 69(3), which was a new section appearing for the first time in the 1981 Act to replace section 6(1) of the Administration of Justice (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1933, the provision in force at the date when Rothermere v Times Newspapers was decided.
(2) An important consideration in favour of a jury arises where, as here, the case involves prominent figures in public life and questions of great national interest . .
(3) The fact that the case involves issues of credibility, and that a party’s honour and integrity are under attack is a factor which should properly be taken into account but is not an overriding factor in favour of trial by jury . .
(4) The advantage of a reasoned judgment is a factor properly to be taken into account . .’

Lord Neuberger of Abbotsbury MR, Maurice Kay VP, Sedley LJJ
[2010] EWCA Civ 730, [2010] WLR (D) 163, [2010] 1 WLR 2245
Bailii, WLRD
Senior Courts Act 1981 69(1)
England and Wales
Citing:
CitedViscount de L’Isle v Times Newspapers Ltd CA 1988
May LJ said that the three questions which a Judge has to decide under section 69 so as to conclude whether a defamation trial should by by jury or judge alone, ‘requires a value judgment, based on what he is told by counsel, and his experience at . .
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 . .
See AlsoFiddes v Channel 4 TV Corporation and Another CA 24-Mar-2010
. .
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 . .
CitedBeta Construction Ltd v Channel Four Television Co Ltd CA 1990
When considering the number of documents to be considered when deciding whether a defamation case should proceed before a judge or judge and jury, the court was entitled to look also at any specialised technical content of the documents and also . .

Cited by:
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 . .
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, Litigation Practice

Updated: 02 November 2021; Ref: scu.418430

Alfred 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 additionai Ecclesiastical patronage in the Bishop, in which he impugned the conduct of the Bishop, and attributed to him motives and conduct unworthy of his character and position.
Held: The charge of a Bishop to his Clergy in Convocation is, in the ordinary sense of the term, a privileged communication; on the well-known principle that a communication made bona fide upon any subject matter in which the party has an interest, or in reference to which he has, or honestly believes he has, a duty, is privileged, if made to a person having a corresponding interest or duty, although it contains criminatory matter which, without that privilege, would be defamatory and actionable, provided that, the occasion on which the communication is made rebuts the prima facie inference of malice, in fact, arising from a statement prejudicial to the character of the Plaintiff, and the onus is upon him to prove that there was actuaI malice, that the Defendant was actuated by motives of personal spite or ill-will, independent of the occasion on which the communication was made.
The Privy Council said: ‘To submit the language of privileged communications to a strict scrutiny, and to hold all excess beyond the absolute exigency of the occasion to be evidence of malice, would in effect greatly limit, if not altogether defeat, the protection which the law throws over privileged communications.’

[1872] EngR 35, (1872) 9 Moo PC NS 318, (1872) 17 ER 534
Commonlii
Citing:
ApprovedSpill 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 . .

Cited by:
CitedCurran v Scottish Daily Record and Sunday Mail Ltd SCS 20-Dec-2011
The pursuer a Scottish Socialist Party Member and Scottish Parliament member had been involved as a witness (though not called) in defamation proceedings. She issued a press notice critical of one of the parties. The defender published stories based . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Defamation, Ecclesiastical

Leading Case

Updated: 02 November 2021; Ref: scu.280125

Fressoz and Roire v France: ECHR 21 Jan 1999

Le Canard Enchaine published the salary of M Calvet, the chairman of Peugeot, (which was publicly available information) and also, by way of confirmation, photographs of the relevant part of his tax assessment, which was confidential and could not lawfully be published.
Held: Article 10 protects the right of journalists to divulge information on issues of general interest provided they are acting in good faith and on ‘an accurate factual basis’ and supply reliable and precise information in accordance with the ethics of journalism. But a journalist is not required to guarantee the accuracy of his facts. Article 10 leaves it for journalists to decide whether or not it is necessary to reproduce material to ensure credibility: ‘It protects journalists’ rights to divulge information on issues of general interest provided that they are acting in good faith and on an accurate factual basis and provide ‘reliable and precise’ information in accordance with the ethics of journalism.’

29183/95, [1999] ECHR 1, (1999) 31 EHRR 28, [1997] ECHR 194
Worldlii, Bailii, Bailii
European Convention on Human Rights 10
Human Rights
Cited by:
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 . .
CitedCampbell v Mirror Group Newspapers Ltd (MGN) (No 1) HL 6-May-2004
The claimant appealed against the denial of her claim that the defendant had infringed her right to respect for her private life. She was a model who had proclaimed publicly that she did not take drugs, but the defendant had published a story . .
CitedMersey Care NHS Trust v Ackroyd QBD 7-Feb-2006
The trust, operators of Ashworth Secure Hospital sought from the defendant journalist disclosure of the name of their employee who had revealed to the defendant matters about the holding of Ian Brady, the Moors Murderer, and in particular medical . .
CitedAssociated Newspapers Ltd v Prince of Wales CA 21-Dec-2006
The defendant newspaper appealed summary judgment against it for breach of confidence and copyright infringement having published the claimant’s journals which he said were private.
Held: Upheld, although the judge had given insufficient . .
CitedMersey Care NHS Trust v Ackroyd CA 21-Feb-2007
The defendant journalist had published confidential material obtained from the claimant’s secure hospital at Ashworth. The hospital now appealed against the refusal of an order for him to to disclose his source.
Held: The appeal failed. Given . .
CitedMosley v News Group Newspapers Ltd QBD 24-Jul-2008
mosley_newsgroupQBD2008
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 . .
CitedTimes Newspapers Ltd (Nos. 1 And 2) v The United Kingdom ECHR 10-Mar-2009
The applicant alleged that the rule under United Kingdom law whereby each time material is downloaded from the Internet a new cause of action in libel proceedings accrued (‘the Internet publication rule’) constituted an unjustifiable and . .
CitedAttorney General’s Reference No 3 of 1999: Application By the British Broadcasting Corporation To Set Aside or Vary a Reporting Restriction Order HL 17-Jun-2009
An application was made to discharge an anonymity order made in previous criminal proceedings before the House. The defendant was to be retried for rape under the 2003 Act, after an earlier acquittal. The applicant questioned whether such a order . .
CitedFinancial Times Ltd and Others v The United Kingdom ECHR 15-Dec-2009
The claimants said that an order that they deliver up documents leaked to them regarding a possible takeover violated their right to freedom of expression. They complained that such disclosure might lead to the identification of journalistic . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Human Rights, Defamation, Media

Leading Case

Updated: 02 November 2021; Ref: scu.165681

Brady v Norman: QBD 26 May 2010

The claimant appealed against refusal of the Master to extend the 12 month limitation period in his proposed defamation claim. The allegations related to a dispute at an Aslef barbecue, and later of forgery. The claimant was a former General Secretary of the union, and the defendant the current General Secretary. Earlier allegations had been litigated, but the claimant said that more serious defamations had subsequently come to light.
Held: The appeal failed.
The master had properly considered the various elements, and looked at it, as he should, ‘in the round’: ‘In deciding whether to disapply the limitation period, it was certainly legitimate to weigh up (as he did) whether there remained any need for further vindication, having regard to all that had taken place, and to set that consideration alongside Mr Norman’s loss of the limitation defence and the prospect for him of being vexed, yet again, with litigation over the circumstances of the dismissal five or six years on.’

Eady J
[2010] EWHC 1215 (QB)
Bailii
Defamation Act 1996
England and Wales
Citing:
CitedG v G (Minors: Custody Appeal) HL 25-Apr-1985
The House asked when a decision, on the facts, of a first instance court is so wrong as to allow it to be overturned on appeal.
Held: The epithet ‘wrong’ is to be applied to the substance of the decision made by the lower court. ‘Certainly it . .
CitedLonzim Plc and Others v Sprague QBD 11-Nov-2009
The court asked whether any damages recovered by the claimant might be so small as to be totally disproportionate to the very high costs that any libel action involves.
Held: Tugendhat J said: ‘It is not enough for a claimant to say that a . .
CitedDow Jones and Co Inc v Jameel CA 3-Feb-2005
Presumption of Damage in Defamation is rebuttable
The defendant complained that the presumption in English law that the victim of a libel had suffered damage was incompatible with his right to a fair trial. They said the statements complained of were repetitions of statements made by US . .
CitedSteedman, Clohosy, Smith, Kiernan, Newman, Creevy, Anderson v The British Broadcasting Corporation CA 23-Oct-2001
The claimants had issued defamation proceedings. The defendant said they were out of time, having begun the action more than one year after the alleged publication, but accepted that they had not been prejudiced in their defence. The court refused . .

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 . .
Appeal fromBrady v Norman CA 9-Feb-2011
The claimant sought to have disapplied the limitation period in his defamation claim. The claimant said that in the case of Cain, the Steedman case had not been cited, and that the decisions were incompatible, and that Cain was to be prefered.
CitedBewry v Reed Elseveir (UK) Ltd and Another QBD 10-Oct-2013
The claimant had begin proceedings against the defendant legal publishers, saying that their summary of a cash had brought was defamatory. He now sought leave to extend the limitation period for his claim, and the defendants argued that, given the . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Defamation, Limitation

Updated: 02 November 2021; Ref: scu.416135

Greenstein v Campaign Against Antisemitism: CA 9 Jul 2021

Failure to plead decisive malice allegation

Appeal by the claimant against an order following a judgment striking out particulars of malice pleaded in the amended reply, among other determinations. Judgment was then entered in favour of the Campaign Against Antisemitsm in respect of a claim for libel. The limited issue on the appeal for which permission has been granted is whether the judge was right to strike out the plea of malice set out in paragraph 26 of the amended reply. The article had referred to spent convictions, and the claimant argued that the defence under s8 of the 1974 Act was disapplied for malice.
Held: The judge had acted correctly. It was clearly a non malicious purpose to say that the convictions pointed toward a greater likelihood that the claimant would lie.

Lord Justice Dingemans
[2021] EWCA Civ 1006
Bailii, Judiciary
Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 8
England and Wales
Citing:
See AlsoGreenstein v Campaign Against Antisemitism QBD 15-Feb-2019
Judgment after a trial of preliminary issues of meaning and whether of fact or opinion.
Nicklin J said: ‘Although the Claimant has selected only parts of the Articles for complaint, the Court must ascertain the meaning of these sections in the . .
See AlsoGreenstein v Campaign Against Antisemitism QBD 6-Nov-2020
Defendant’s application to strike out claims in defamation and misuse of personal information. . .
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 . .
CitedHerbage v Pressdram Ltd CA 1984
There was a publication of articles which referred to convictions which were spent under the 1974 Act. The court restated the principle in Bonnard v Perryman: ‘These principles have evolved because of the value the court has placed on freedom of . .
CitedHerbage v Pressdram Ltd CA 1984
There was a publication of articles which referred to convictions which were spent under the 1974 Act. The court restated the principle in Bonnard v Perryman: ‘These principles have evolved because of the value the court has placed on freedom of . .
CitedKJO v XIM QBD 7-Jul-2011
The claimant had, some 20 years previously, been convicted and sentenced for forgery of a will. The defendants, relatives, had ever since written to those with whom he had dealings to tell them of the conviction and facts. The claimant, unable to . .
CitedThompson v James and Another (2) QBD 15-Mar-2013
A pleading of malice requires a high degree of particularity, and the matters pleaded must be more consistent with the presence of malice than its absence . .
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, . .
CitedBrewster and Cromwell v Regina CACD 27-May-2010
The defendants appealed against their convictions for kidnapping and witness intimidation saying that the court should have allowed them to put the principle prosecution witness’ bad character in issue by admission of her criminal convictions.
Defamation

Updated: 02 November 2021; Ref: scu.664387