Eastwood v Holmes: 1860

An article in a newspaper describing leaden figures ‘reported to have been found in the Thames,’ and sold as antiquities, as being of recent fabrication, and stigmatizing their sale as an attempt at deception and extortion, held not actionable ; the alleged libel being aimed not at any particular individual but of a class, and being privileged, in the absence of evidence of malice, as pertaining to fair description or criticism on a matter of public interest.
Willes J said: Assuming the article to be libellous, it is not a libel on the plaintiff ; it only reflects on a class of persons dealing in such objects ; and it is immaterial in this view whether they are genune or not. If a man wrote that all lawyers were thieves, no particular lawyer could sue him unless there is something to point to the particular individual, which there is not here. There is nothing to show that the article was inserted with any special reference to the plaintiff. It does not appear that the defendant knew of his existence.’


Willes J


[1860] EngR 56 (B), (1860) 1 F and F 347



Cited by:

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 . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.


Updated: 05 May 2022; Ref: scu.284895