Lonhro Plc and Others v Fayed and Others (No 5): CA 6 Oct 1993

The plaintiff sought to amend a conspiracy claim, based on arrangements to publish defamatory statements, by adding a claim for damage to reputation and feelings.
Held: Such a claim could not be made in conspiracy. A Plaintiff’s motives in commencing proceedings, as to whether they constituted an abuse of process, are only assessable by the judge at trial, and not on an interlocutory application. The action was re-instated. ‘[N]o one has a right to a reputation which is unmerited. Accordingly one can only suffer an injury to reputation if what is said is false. In defamation the falsity of the libel or slander is presumed; but justification is a complete defence.’
Dillon LJ said: ‘In my judgment, if the plaintiffs want to claim damages for injury to reputation or injury to feelings, they must do so in an action for defamation, not in this very different form of action. Injury to reputation and to feelings is, with very limited exceptions, a field of its own and the established principles in that field are not to be side-stepped by alleging a different cause of action. Justification, truth, is an absolute defence to an action for defamation and it would, in my judgment, be lamentable if a plaintiff could recover damages against defendants who had combined to tell the truth about the plaintiff and so had destroyed his unwarranted reputation. But that would be the consequence if damages for injury to reputation and injury to feelings could be claimed in a ‘lawful means’ conspiracy action. To tell the truth would be wrongful. I see no difference in this regard between general reputation and commercial or business reputation.’


Stuart-Smith, Dillon LJ


Gazette 06-Oct-1993, Gazette 29-Sep-1993, [1993] 1 WLR 1489


England and Wales


CitedFoaminol Laboratories Ltd v British Artide Plastics Ltd 1941
There is no justification for artificially excising from the damages recoverable for breach of contract that part of the financial loss which might or might not be the subject of a successful claim in defamation. A claim for mere loss of reputation . .

Cited by:

CitedGreene v Associated Newspapers Ltd CA 5-Nov-2004
The claimant appealed against refusal of an order restraining publication by the respondent of an article about her. She said that it was based upon an email falsely attributed to her.
Held: ‘in an action for defamation a court will not impose . .
CitedAshley and Another v Sussex Police CA 27-Jul-2006
The deceased was shot by police officers raiding his flat in 1998. The claimants sought damages for his estate. They had succeeded in claiming damages for false imprisonment, but now appealed dismissal of their claim for damages for assault and . .
CitedHannon and Another v News Group Newspapers Ltd and Another ChD 16-May-2014
The claimants alleged infringement of their privacy, saying that the defendant newspaper had purchased private information from police officers emplyed by the second defendant, and published them. The defendants now applied for the claims to be . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Litigation Practice, Defamation, Torts – Other

Updated: 19 May 2022; Ref: scu.83189