Godfrey 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 reputation claimed to be damaged, and the defendant had to be free to put forward evidence in this regard. This has to be balanced against a need to keep such litigation within bounds, and therefore the general rule severely limits admission of such evidence. In this case the defendant was to be allowed to argue a causal connection between the bad conduct alleged and the defamation complained of.

Morland J
1998-G-No 30, [1999] EWHC QB 240, [1999] 4 All ER 342, [1999] Masons CLR 267, [1999] ITCLR 282, [2001] QB 201, [1999] EMLR 542, [2000] 3 WLR 1020
Defamation Act 1996
England and Wales
CitedMackenzie v Business Magazines (UK) Ltd and Others CA 18-Jan-1996
Consent to amendment of defence wrongfully refused without finding of mala fides. . .
CitedBasham v Gregory and Little Brown and Co CA 2-Jul-1998
The defendant sought a retrial of his action for defamation.
Held: The judge’s directions on meaning as to the respective contentions was correct, and also the allocation of the burden of proof. Whilst the court had reservations about the . .
CitedScott v Sampson QBD 1882
The court explained why evidence of particular acts of misconduct on the part of the Plaintiff tending to show his character and disposition should be excluded, saying ‘Both principle and authority seems equally against its admission. It would give . .
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 . .
CitedCassell and Co Ltd v Broome and Another HL 23-Feb-1972
Exemplary Damages Award in Defamation
The plaintiff had been awarded damages for defamation. The defendants pleaded justification. Before the trial the plaintiff gave notice that he wanted additional, exemplary, damages. The trial judge said that such a claim had to have been pleaded. . .
CitedKelly v Sherlock 1866
The defendant had claimed that the plaintiff preached a sermon against the appointment of a Roman Catholic chaplain to the Liverpool borough gaol, and another sermon reflecting in strong terms on the conduct of the town council of Liverpool electing . .
CitedJudd v Sun Newspapers 1930
(Australia) The plaintiff was put in the box as a witness but not asked any questions by his counsel, nor did he give any evidence in chief; he was, however, cross-examined by counsel for the defendants, at great length, not only in regard to . .
See AlsoGodfrey v Demon Internet Limited QBD 26-Mar-1999
An Internet Service Provider who was re-distributing Usenet postings it had received, to its users in general, remained a publisher at common law, even though he was not such within the definitions of the Act, and it was therefore liable in . .

Cited by:
CitedSmith v ADVFN Plc and others QBD 25-Jul-2008
The claimant had brought multiple actions in defamation against anonymous posters on an online forum. The claimant sought to lift the stay which had been imposed because of the number of actions. The claimant had not yet paid outstanding costs . .
CitedMetropolitan International Schools Ltd. (T/A Skillstrain And/Or Train2Game) v Designtechnica Corp (T/A Digital Trends) and Others QBD 16-Jul-2009
The claimant complained that the defendant had published on its internet forums comments by posters which were defamatory of it, and which were then made available by the second defendant search engine. The court was asked what responsibility a . .
CitedTamiz v Google Inc Google UK Ltd QBD 2-Mar-2012
The claimant sought damages in defamation against the defendant company offering internet search facilities. The words complained of had been published in a blog, and in comments published on the blog.
Held: Jurisdiction should be declined. . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Defamation, Damages

Leading Case

Updated: 01 November 2021; Ref: scu.163130