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 belief that the claimant had acted criminally. The three conditions were: the inability to rely upon hearsay, the focusing in the defence on behaviour of the claimant giving rise to suspicion, and that evidence post dating the publication could not be pleaded. The Shah case had failed to take account of the admissibility of hearsay under the 1995 Act, and now also Rule 33.
Brooke LJ identified three possible defamatory meanings that might be derived from a publication alleging police investigations into the conduct of a claimant: ‘The sting of a libel may be capable of meaning that a claimant has in fact committed some serious act, such as murder. Alternatively it may be suggested that the words mean that there are reasonable grounds to suspect that he/she has committed such an act. A third possibility is that they may mean that there are grounds for investigating whether he/she has been responsible for such an act.’
Lord Justice Brooke, Lord Justice Keene, Lord Justice Rix
Times 31-Dec-2002,  EWCA Civ 1772,  EMLR 218,  EMLR 11
European Convention on Human Rights, Civil Evidence Act 1995, Civil Procedure Rules 33
England and Wales
Explained – Shah 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 . .
Appeal from – Chase 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 . .
Cited – Jackson v John Fairfax and Sons Ltd 1981
(New South Wales) Discussing the provisions of the NSW Defamation Act 1974 section 16, Hunt J said: ‘It is, in my view, basic to the scheme of section 16 that both of the imputations in question (that is, the imputation pleaded by the plaintiff and . .
Cited – Stern 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 . .
Cited – 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 . .
Cited – Jameel 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 . .
Cited – Jameel 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 . .
Cited – Miller v Associated Newspapers Ltd QBD 8-Apr-2005
Cited – Fallon v MGN Ltd QBD 10-Apr-2006
The claimant sought damages in defamation.
Held: Questions as to what inferences can be drawn from betting patterns when assessing a jockey’s motives are not within the expertise of a racing-riding expert witness. . .
Cited – 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 . .
Cited – Prince 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 . .
Cited – Flood 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 – Bond 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. . .
Cited – Budu v The British Broadcasting Corporation QBD 23-Mar-2010
The defendant sought to strike out the claimant’s action in defamation. It had reported that the police had withdrawn an employment offer to claimant after doubting his immigration status.
Held: The claims should be struck out. The articles . .
Cited – Miller v Associated Newspapers Ltd QBD 31-Mar-2010
The claimant sought damages in defamation, saying that the defendant newspaper (Daily Mail) had implied abuse of his friendship with a Police Commissioner to obtain contracts. The defendant denied any meaning defamatory of the claimant.
Held: . .
Cited – Horlick 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 . .
Cited – Wright 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 . .
Cited – 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 . .
Cited – Makudi v Baron Triesman of Tottenham In London Borough of Haringey QBD 1-Feb-2013
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 . .
Cited – McAlpine 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 . .
Cited – Brown v Bower and Another QBD 31-Oct-2017
Judgment on issues of meaning and whether defamatory.
As to the Chase levels of meaning: ‘They come from the decision of Brooke LJ in Chase v News Group Newspapers Ltd  EMLR 11  in which he identified three types of defamatory . .
Cited – Koutsogiannis 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 . .
Cited – Hayden 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, Human Rights, Civil Procedure Rules
Updated: 01 November 2021; Ref: scu.178467