Jennings v Buchanan: PC 14 Jul 2004

(New Zealand) (Attorney General of New Zealand intervening) The defendant MP had made a statement in Parliament which attracted parliamentary privilege. In a subsequent newspaper interview, he said ‘he did not resile from his claim’. He defended the action for defamation claiming the privilege.
Held: The original statement had privilege but the repetition outside parliament by a mere reference was a republication which did not attract the same privilege. The court could rely upon the Hansard record to provide evidence of what was being repeated. At common law every republication of a libel is a new libel and a new cause of action.
‘In a case such as the present, however, reference is made to the parliamentary record only to prove the historical fact that certain words were uttered. The claim is founded on the later extra-parliamentary statement. The propriety of the member’s behaviour as a parliamentarian will not be in issue. Nor will his state of mind, motive or intention when saying what he did in Parliament. The situation is analogous with that where a member repeats outside the House, in extenso, a statement previously made in the House. The claim will be directed solely to the extra-parliamentary republication, for which the parliamentary record will supply only the text. ‘


Lord Bingham of Cornhill, Lord Scott of Foscote, Lord Walker of Gestingthorpe, Baroness Hale of Richmond, Dame Sian Elias


[2004] UKPC 36, Times 19-Jul-2004, [2004] EMLR 22, [2005] 1 AC 115, [2005] 2 All ER 273


Bailii, PC, PC


Bill of Rights 1689 9


CitedAttorney-General of Ceylon v de Livera PC 1963
A member of the House of Representatives was offered 5,000 rupees for writing to the Minister of Lands and Development withdrawing an application previously made to the Minister to acquire an estate. The offeror was found guilty of offering a . .
CitedSir Francis Burdett, Bart v The Right Hon Charles Abbot KBD 1811
Speaker’s Powers to Arrest House Members
To an action of trespass against the Speaker of the House of Commons for forcibly, and, with the assistance of armed soldiers, breaking into the messuage of the plaintiff (the outer door being shut and fastened,) and arresting him there, and taking . .
CitedStockdale v Hansard 1839
Bailii It is no defence in law to an action for publishing a libel, that defamatory matter is part of a order of the House of Commons, laid before the House, and thereupon became part of the proceedings of the . .
CitedPrebble v Television New Zealand Ltd PC 27-Jun-1994
(New Zealand) The plaintiff, an MP, pursued a defamation case. The defendant wished to argue for the truth of what was said, and sought to base his argument on things said in Parliament. The plaintiff responded that this would be a breach of . .
CitedPepper (Inspector of Taxes) v Hart HL 26-Nov-1992
Reference to Parliamentary Papers behind Statute
The inspector sought to tax the benefits in kind received by teachers at a private school in having their children educated at the school for free. Having agreed this was a taxable emolument, it was argued as to whether the taxable benefit was the . .
CitedBradlaugh v Gossett 9-Feb-1884
Bradlaugh, though duly elected Member for a Borough, was refused by the Speaker to administer oath and was excluded from the House by the serjeant at arms. B challenged the action.
Held: The matter related to the internal management of the . .
CitedPickin v British Railways Board HL 30-Jan-1974
Courts Not to Investigate Parliament’s Actions
It was alleged that the respondent had misled Parliament to secure the passing of a private Act. The claimant said that the land taken from him under the Act was no longer required, and that he should be entitled to have it returned.
Held: . .
CitedAttorney-General of Ceylon v de Livera PC 1963
A member of the House of Representatives was offered 5,000 rupees for writing to the Minister of Lands and Development withdrawing an application previously made to the Minister to acquire an estate. The offeror was found guilty of offering a . .
CitedHamilton v Al Fayed HL 23-Mar-2000
The claimant MP sued the defendant in defamation after he had alleged that the MP had corruptly solicited and received payments and benefits in kind as a reward for parliamentary services rendered.
Held: Parliament has protected by privilege . .
CitedChurch of Scientology of California v Johnson-Smith QBD 1971
The plaintiff church sued the defendant, a Member of Parliament, for remarks made by the defendant in a television programme. He pleaded fair comment and the plaintiff replied with a plea of malice, relying on statements made in Parliament. The . .
CitedA v United Kingdom ECHR 2002
‘Statements made by MPs outside the Houses of Parliament are subject to the ordinary laws of defamation and breach of confidence, save where they are protected by qualified privilege.’ and ‘Furthermore, the immunity afforded to MPs in the United . .
CitedRegina v Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs Ex Parte the World Development Movement Ltd QBD 11-Jan-1995
Judicial Review was granted in respect of a decision to fund the Pergau Dam. There was a possible argument that it involved a misuse of money which had been intended for foreign aid. . .
CitedRex v Lord Abingdon 1794
A Member of Parliament chose to have his earlier speech in the House re-published ‘under his authority and sanction . . and at his expense’.
Held: Statements made outside Parliament are not protected by absolute privilege even if they simply . .
CitedRex v Creevey Esq MP 1813
A statement made out of Parliament is not to be protected by its absolute privilege even if what is said simply repeats what was said inside the House.
A member of the House of Commons may be convicted upon an indictment for a libel in . .
CitedRegina v Secretary of State for the Home Department ex parte Brind HL 7-Feb-1991
The Home Secretary had issued directives to the BBC and IBA prohibiting the broadcasting of speech by representatives of proscribed terrorist organisations. The applicant journalists challenged the legality of the directives on the ground that they . .

Cited by:

CitedCuristan v Times Newspapers Ltd CA 30-Apr-2008
The court considered the availability of qualified privilege for reporting of statements made in parliament and the actionable meaning of the article, which comprised in part those statements and in part other factual material representing the . .
CitedRegina v Morley; Regina v Chaytor; Regina v Devine; Regina v Lord Hanningfield CC 11-Jun-2010
(Southwark Crown Court) The defendants faced charges of false accounting in connection with expense claims as members of parliament, three of the House of Commons and one of the Lords. Each claimed that the matter was covered by Parliamentary . .
CitedChaytor and Others, Regina v CACD 30-Jul-2010
The defendants had been members of the Houses of Commons and of Lords. They faced charges of dishonesty in respect of their expenses claims. They now appealed a finding that they were not subject to the exclusive jurisdiction of Parliament under . .
CitedChaytor and Others, Regina v SC 1-Dec-2010
The defendants faced trial on charges of false accounting in connection in different ways with their expenses claims whilst serving as members of the House of Commons. They appealed against rejection of their assertion that the court had no . .
CitedMakudi v Baron Triesman of Tottenham In London Borough of Haringey QBD 1-Feb-2013
The claimant, former chairman of the Thailand Football Association, claimed in defamation against the defendant who had been chairman of the English Football Association. The defendant asked the court to strike out the claim, saying that some of the . .
CitedMakudi v Baron Triesman of Tottenham CA 26-Feb-2014
Appeal against strike out of claims for defamation and malicious falsehood. The defendant had given evidence to the Culture Media and Sport Select Committee of the House of Commons with material highly critical of the claimant, a member of FIFA’s . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Commonwealth, Defamation, Constitutional

Updated: 11 June 2022; Ref: scu.198904