Grobbelaar v News Group Newspapers Ltd and Another: HL 24 Oct 2002

The claimant appealed against a decision of the Court of Appeal quashing the judgement in his favour for damages for defamation.
Held: The Court of Appeal was not able to quash a jury verdict as perverse, and the appeal succeeded. An appellate court could not substitute its own verdict on the facts for that of the jury. However it was still clear that the claimant had behaved disgracefully, and that he could have no reputation capable of being protected, and the damages award was reduced from andpound;850,000.00 to andpound;1.00. As to the withdrawal of a concession previously given: ‘Only rarely and with extreme caution will the House permit counsel to withdraw from a concession which has formed the basis of argument and judgment in the Court of Appeal.’ (Lord Bingham)
Lord Scott drew attention to the difficulty caused by the fact that the jury do not disclose their reasons. Their reasoning had to be reconstructed by the appellate court. However, he concluded that their factual conclusions should be treated with no greater, but no less, respect than the factual conclusions of judges.


Bingham, Steyn, Hobhouse, Millett, Scott LLJ


Times 25-Oct-2002, [2002] UKHL 40, [2002] 1 WLR 3024, [2002] 4 All ER 732, [2003] EMLR 1


House of Lords, Bailii


England and Wales


Appeal fromGrobbelaar v News Group Newspapers and Another CA 18-Jan-2001
. .
See AlsoGrobbelaar v Sun Newspapers Ltd CA 9-Jul-1999
With the new Civil Procedure Rules, it was no longer correct that a court could not exclude evidence which was relevant, on the grounds that its probative value was outweighed by its prejudicial effect. The court now has full power and discretion to . .
CitedO’Brien v Marquis of Salisbury QBD 1889
The court considered the jury’s verdict as to the meaning of the words complained of. Field J said: ‘If, therefore, as I think, the jury had only relevant evidence submitted to them and were properly directed as to the use they were to make of it, . .
CitedReynolds v Times Newspapers Ltd and others HL 28-Oct-1999
Fair Coment on Political Activities
The defendant newspaper had published articles wrongly accusing the claimant, the former Prime Minister of Ireland of duplicity. The paper now appealed, saying that it should have had available to it a defence of qualified privilege because of the . .
MentionedRegina v Mills CACD 1968
Geoffrey Lane LJ considered what was meant by ‘a bribe’: ‘Realising what we say is obiter nevertheless we feel it right to say that in our judgment it is enough that the recipient takes the gift knowing that it is intended as a bribe. By accepting . .
MentionedRegina v Carr CCA 1956
Lord Goddard CJ considered the elements of the offence of obtaining property by fraud. In doing so he considered the position of a defendant who took a bribe but did not then carry out what he had ben paid to do and said: ‘It does not matter if he . .
CitedPamplin v Express Newspapers Ltd (2) CA 1988
In considering what evidence can be used in mitigation of damages in defamation, it is necessary to draw a distinction between evidence which is put forward to show that the plaintiff is a man of bad reputation and evidence which is already before . .
CitedAshworth Security Hospital v MGN Limited HL 27-Jun-2002
Order for Journalist to Disclose Sources
The newspaper published details of the medical records of Ian Brady, a prisoner and patient of the applicant. The applicant sought an order requiring the defendant newspaper to disclose the identity of the source of material which appeared to have . .

Cited by:

CitedNew Zealand Meat Board and Another v Paramount Export Ltd and Another PC 26-Jul-2004
(New Zealand) Two meat exporting companies complained that the appellant’s failures had led to their own financial failures. The Board had changes its quota allocation system, which failed to allow any export quotas to the company.
Held: There . .
CitedArmstrong v Times Newspapers Ltd and David Walsh, Alan English CA 29-Jul-2005
The claimant sought damages after publication by the first defendant of articles which it was claimed implied that he had taken drugs. The paper claimed qualified privilege, and claimed Reynolds immunity.
Held: The defence of qualified . .
CitedCommissioner of Police of The Metropolis v Copeland CA 22-Jul-2014
The defendant appealed against the award of damages for assault, false imprisonment and malicious prosection, saying that the question posed for the jury were misdirections, and that the jury’s decision was perverse. The claimant was attending the . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Defamation, Damages

Updated: 06 June 2022; Ref: scu.177487

Comments are closed.