de 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 public libraries. The plaintiffs complained that the report was defamatory of them, in alleging theft. The defendants pleaded that the publication was made on a privileged occasion on the ground that there was a common interest between the council and the ratepayers in the subject matter of the words complained of.
Held: The plaintiff’s appeal succeeded. No privilege could attach to such a publication. There was no public interest in such allegations being publicised generally. However, there might be reasons justifying publication of ex parte allegations, for instance publication by an employer of allegations against an employee which resulted in the latter’s dismissal ‘to bring home to its employees the type of action which was regarded . . as a proper subject for . . dismissal’.


Lord Greene MR


[1942] 1 KB 156

Cited by:

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


Updated: 02 May 2022; Ref: scu.421378