Gaddafi v Telegraph Group Ltd: CA 28 Oct 1998

The claimant, the son of the leader of Libya, sought damages for defamation from the defendant for an article alleging his involvement in criminal activities. The defendant appealed orders striking out certain parts of his defence, and the claimant appealed orders leaving other parts in place. Was there a qualified privilege for the articles because of the claimant’s involvement in politics? The newspaper claimed that, when claiming privilege, it was proper to hide the identity of the sources of information upon which the claim was based.
Held: A claim of qualified privilege required a social duty to publish, that those receiving the information had a proper interest in receiving it, and where the nature, status and source of the material, and the circumstances of the publication such as to justify a privilege. An order requiring disclosure of the sources would severely risk press freedom, and was not justified. Appeal and cross appeal s allowed in part.


Lord Justice Stuart-Smith Lord Justice Hirst And Lord Justice Tuckey


[1998] EWCA Civ 1626, [2000] EMLR 431




Contempt of Court Act 1981 10


England and Wales


AppliedReynolds TD v Times Newspapers Ltd; Ruddock and Witherow CA 8-Jul-1998
The claimant, the former Taoiseach of Ireland sought damages after the defendant newspaper published an article falsely accusing him of duplicity. The paper said that his position meant that they should have the defence of quaified privilege . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Defamation, Media, Human Rights

Updated: 25 November 2022; Ref: scu.145105