Joseph and Others v Spiller and Another: CA 22 Oct 2009

The claimants, members of a rock band, alleged defamation by the defendants on their web-site. The defendants provided booking services. They said that the claimants were unreliable in failing to meet their contractual obligations. Their terms incorporated an additional set of terms which required the claimants to go through the agency to rebook any venue. The claimants said that the terms were unlawful under the 2003 Regulations.
Held: The defendants’ appeal against the striking out of their defence of justification succeeded. The judge had been wrong to find that the allegations that the claimants took a generally cavalier attitude to contractual obligations and were not to be trusted in business dealings were factual in character rather than an expression of opinions. However, any breach of the regulations might not make the contract unenforceable. Courts should be slow to hold legislation to interfere with the normal remedies for breach of a contract.
The defendants’ appeal on fair comment failed, and the defence was not re-instated. ‘I see no merit in the argument that the comment cannot constitute a matter of public interest. Those in the business of entertaining the public, a business in which many people are engaged, will be concerned, when serving the public, to know which artists can be relied on to perform their contracts and which cannot. The comment is arguably in the public interest.’
Pill LJ, Hooper LJ, Wilson LJ
[2009] EWCA Civ 1075, Times 30-Oct-2009, [2010] ICR 642, [2010] EMLR 7
Conduct of Employment Agencies and Employment Business Regulations 2003 (SI 2003 No 3319)
England and Wales
CitedSt John Shipping Corporation v Joseph Rank Limited 1956
The defendants held a bill of lading for part of the cargo carried on the plaintiffs’ vessel from Mobile, Alabama, to Birkenhead. The vessel was over laden and the plaintiffs were guilty of an offence under the 1932 Act. The defendants relied on the . .
Appeal fromJoseph and Others v Spiller and Another QBD 22-May-2009
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Cited by:
CitedThornton v Telegraph Media Group Ltd QBD 12-Nov-2009
The claimant sought damages for an article in the defendant’s newspaper, a review of her book which said she had falsely claimed to have interviewed artists including the review author and that the claimant allowed interviewees control over what was . .
Appeal fromSpiller and Another v Joseph and Others SC 1-Dec-2010
The defendants had published remarks on its website about the reliability of the claimant. When sued in defamation, they pleaded fair comment, but that was rejected by the Court of Appeal.
Held: The defendants’ appeal succeeded, and the fair . .

These lists may be incomplete.
Updated: 16 May 2021; Ref: scu.376231