Jones v Skelton: PC 1963

(New South Wales) Lord Morris of Borth-y-Gest discussed how words subject to a claim in defamation should be read: ‘In deciding whether words are capable of conveying a defamatory meaning the court will reject those meanings which can only emerge as the product of some strained or forced or utterly unreasonable interpretation.’
As to the width of the concept of ‘natural and ordinary meaning’, he said: ‘The ordinary and natural meaning of words may be either the literal meaning or it may be an implied or inferred or an indirect meaning: any meaning that does not require the support of extrinsic facts passing beyond general knowledge but is a meaning which is capable of being detected in the language used can be a part of the ordinary and natural meaning of words. See Lewis v. Daily Telegraph Ltd . . The ordinary and natural meaning may therefore include any implication or inference which a reasonable reader guided not by any special but only by general knowledge and not fettered by any strict legal rules of construction would draw from the words.’
Lord Morris of Borth-y-Gest, Viscont Radcliffe, Lord Jenkins, Lord Gest, Sir kenneth Gresson
[1963] 1 WLR 1362, [1963] 3 All ER 952, [1963] UKPC 29
England and Wales
Cited by:
CitedRichard Branson v Guy Snowden and Richard Branson v Gtech UK Corporation (a Body Corporate) and Robert Rendine CA 3-Jul-1997
The respective parties had been preparing competing bids for the National Lottery. One (Branson) alleged that the other had offerered a bribe. The other responded that the allegation was a lie, and each sued the other for defamation.
Held: The . .
CitedAssociated Newspapers Ltd v Burstein CA 22-Jun-2007
The newspaper appealed an award of damages for defamation after its theatre critic’s review of an opera written by the claimant. The author said the article made him appear to sympathise with terrorism.
Held: The appeal succeeded. Keene LJ . .
CitedAjinomoto Sweeteners Europe Sas v Asda Stores Ltd QBD 15-Jul-2009
The claimant said that the defendant’s characterisation of its own products as ‘Good for You’ by reference to a description saying that it did not include the claimant’s product as a component, was a malicious falsehood. The defendant sold other . .
CitedMcAlpine v Bercow QBD 24-May-2013
The claimant alleged defamation in a tweet by the defendant. The court now decided as a preliminary point, the meaning of the words: ‘Why is Lord McAlpine trending? *Innocent face*’. There had been other but widespread (mistaken) allegations against . .

These lists may be incomplete.
Updated: 10 January 2021; Ref: scu.185963