Gough v Local Sunday Newspapers (North) Ltd and Another: CA 12 Mar 2003

The appellant claimed he had been libelled, when he was called incompetent by the respondent in the way he dealt with finding an uncounted bundle of votes after an election. He appealed a finding of justification. The finding was based upon an interpretation of election law which, it was claimed, were themselves contentious.
Held: No rule explicitly provided for the situation which had occurred. An inspection could only be proper if the number of votes and mjority were such as to suggest that the uncounted votes might affect the result, and a petition might be expected. In the circumstances of doubt and clear difference of opinion between the court of appeal, and the judge at first instance, the finding of justification of the libel could not be supported.


The Hon Mr Justice Bell Mr Justice Keene Lord Justice Simon Brown


[2003] EWCA Civ 297, Times 27-Mar-2003, Gazette 22-May-2003




Representation of the People Act 1983 36(2), Local Elections (Principal Areas) Rules 1986 38 47


England and Wales


CitedRe Lancashire Darwen Division, Case 1885
Strong grounds for making an order for inspection of uncounted ballot papers must be shown, and the court must be satisfied that the application for it is made in good faith, and will rarely, if ever, grant it unless a petition or prosecution has . .
CitedMcWhirter v Platten QBD 1970
An order was made for the inspection of uncounted ballot papers before the institution of a prosecution under the Act, on the ground that the offenders, and the nature of offences could not be ascertained until the ballot papers had been inspected. . .
CitedUllah and Others, Ahmed v Pagel, Scallan, Kennedy CA 12-Dec-2002
The claimants sought to issue election petitions to challenge the results of local elections. The petitioners had complied with all the rules save that they had failed to serve the notice of presentation within the five day period. The claimants . .
CitedAbsalom v Gillett QBD 1995
An application was made under rule 13 to strike out a local government election petition for non-compliance with s.136(3) and rule 6: the petitioners there had served the notice on the returning officer but had not served the successful candidates. . .
CitedIn re Rapier (Deceased) QBD 1988
A young prisoner had been found dead in his cell hanging. A report suggested that he may have been sniffing solvents. The coroner himself initiated proceedings both under the Coroners’ Act and for judicial review to quash the inquisition over which . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Elections, Defamation

Updated: 07 June 2022; Ref: scu.179745