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
Defamation Act 1996 15
England and Wales
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.


Leading Case

Updated: 09 November 2021; Ref: scu.267358