Houston v Smith: CA 16 Dec 1993

Doctors operated within the same building. The defendant falsely accused the plaintiff of harassing her and her staff, groping them and fondling them sexually. The allegation was made in the hearing of several of the plaintiff’s patients in the doctors’ joint waiting room. The defendant denied having suggested impropriety with her staff but sought to justify her allegation of personal harassment, alleging that the plaintiff had brushed up against her deliberately. The allegation of sexual harassment was plainly a matter of the utmost gravity for a general practitioner, there were aggravating features and there had been no apology. The publication, however, had been only to a very small number of people. The Court of Appeal reduced the jury’s award of andpound;150,000 to andpound;50,000. If a prompt apology had been published the appropriate award would have been a very small fraction that sum.


Hirst LJ


Unreported, 16 December 1993


England and Wales

Cited by:

CitedKiam v MGN Ltd CA 28-Jan-2002
Where a court regards a jury award in a defamation case as excessive, a ‘proper’ award can be substituted for it is not whatever sum court thinks appropriate, wholly uninfluenced by jury’s view, but the highest award which a jury could reasonably . .
CitedNail and Another v News Group Newspapers Ltd and others CA 20-Dec-2004
The claimant appealed the award of damages in his claim for defamation. The defendants had variously issued apologies. The claimant had not complained initially as to one publication.
Held: In defamation proceedings the damage to feelings is . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Defamation, Damages

Updated: 16 May 2022; Ref: scu.184742