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
England and Wales
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