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 have thought necessary. ‘In a great many cases proof of a cold-blooded cost-benefit calculation that it was worth publishing a known libel is not there, and the ineffectiveness of a moderate award in deterring future libels is painfully apparent . . judges, juries and the public face the conundrum that compensation proportioned to personal injury damages is insufficient to deter, and that deterrent awards make a mockery of the principle of compensation.’
Awards in an adequate amount may also be necessary to deter the media from riding roughshod over the rights of other citizens. ‘[I]n a great many cases proof of a cold-blooded cost benefit calculation that it was worth publishing a known libel is not there, and the ineffectiveness of a moderate award in deterring future libels is painfully apparent . . Judges, juries and the public face the conundrum that compensation proportioned to personal injury damages is insufficient to deter, and that deterrent awards make a mockery of the principle of compensation.’
Lords Justice Simon Brown, Waller and Sedley
Gazette 15-Mar-2002,  EWCA Civ 43,  1 WLR 2810,  QB 281
Courts and Legal Services Act 1990 8
England and Wales
Cited – Attorney-General v Guardian Newspapers Ltd (No 2) (‘Spycatcher’) HL 13-Oct-1988
Loss of Confidentiality Protection – public domain
A retired secret service employee sought to publish his memoirs from Australia. The British government sought to restrain publication there, and the defendants sought to report those proceedings, which would involve publication of the allegations . .
Cited – Kiam v Neill and Another (No 2) CA 26-Jul-1996
An allegation of insolvency was made against a well known businessman. An apology in agreed terms was published after 3 weeks.
Held: A jury award of 45,000 in damages was not excessive for a libel despite an apology having been given. The . .
Cited – Rantzen v Mirror Group Newspapers (1986) Ltd and Others CA 1-Apr-1993
Four articles in the People all covered the same story about Esther Rantzen’s organisation, Childline, suggesting that the plaintiff had protected a teacher who had revealed to Childline abuses of children occurring at a school where he taught, by . .
Cited – Sutcliffe v Pressdram Ltd CA 1991
A andpound;600,000 compensatory award was set aside by the Court of Appeal on the grounds that it must have been made on the wrong basis, almost certainly so as to punish Private Eye. The Court of Appeal could not substitute its own award for that . .
Cited – Youssoupoff v MGM Pictures CA 1934
The plaintiff (herself a Princess) complained that she could be identified with the character Princess Natasha in the film ‘Rasputin, the Mad Monk’. On the basis that the film suggested that, by reason of her identification with ‘Princess Natasha’, . .
Cited – Khodaparast v Mohammed Reza Farrokh-Shad CA 26-Feb-1997
The claimant an Iranian woman teacher at an Iranian religious school in London claimed damages for malicious falsehood from her former lover. He created documents using her photographs superimposed on pornographic pictures from a magazine and . .
Cited – Jones v Pollard; Mirror Group Newspapers; Limited and Bailey CA 12-Dec-1996
Articles in consecutive issues of The Sunday Mirror accused the plaintiff of pimping for the KGB, organising sex with prostitutes for visiting British businessmen and then blackmailing them. The defendants pleaded justification. The plaintiff . .
Cited – John v MGN Ltd CA 12-Dec-1995
MGN appealed as to the level of damages awarded against it namely pounds 350,000 damages, comprising pounds 75,000 compensatory damages and pounds 275,000 exemplary damages. The newspaper contended that as a matter of principle there is no scope in . .
Cited – 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 . .
Cited – Gorman v Mudd CA 15-Oct-1992
The plaintiff, a Conservative MP, complained of a ‘mock press release’ written and circulated by the defendant, Mudd, a prominent member of the local community and chairman of the Billericay Conservative Businessman’s Association, to ninety-one . .
Cited – Heil v Rankin, Rees v Mabco (102) Ltd, Schofield v Saunders and Taylor Ltd and Other cases CA 23-Mar-2000
The Law Commission had recommended that the general level of damages awarded for pain suffering and loss of amenity in personal injury cases should be raised. The Court now considered several cases on the issue.
Held: The court would do so. . .
Cited – Brawley v Marczynski and Another CA 21-Oct-2002
The defendants appealed an award of costs on an indemnity basis against them in the favour of a legally aided claimant.
Held: Indemnity costs were often intended to indicate disapproval of a party’s behaviour in an action, and were awarded in . .
Cited – Gleaner Company Ltd and Another v Abrahams PC 14-Jul-2003
Punitive Defamation Damages Order Sustained
(Jamaica) The appellants challenged a substantial award of damages for defamation. They had wrongfully accused a government minister of corruption. There was evidence of substantial financial loss. ‘For nearly sixteen years the defendants, with all . .
Cited – Nail 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 . .
These lists may be incomplete.
Updated: 08 January 2021; Ref: scu.167886