Lord Ashcroft KCMG v Foley and Others: QBD 18 Feb 2011

The claimant sought to strike out defences of justification and fair comment saying that the pleadings were unsustainable for lack of clarity.
Held: The pleadings did contain obfuscation, and ‘if there is a viable defence of justification or fair comment in relation to these very important and serious allegations, then it is in everyone’s interests that it sees the light of day and can be properly addressed on a fair and open basis. What is not, however, either in the public interest or to the advantage of either of the parties is for the case to proceed on a muddled basis, with the Claimant and his advisers not being aware of the case they have to meet, either at the stage of disclosure of documents or at the trial itself. That is why the current pleas of justification and fair comment should be struck out.’ Orders accordingly.

Eady J
[2011] EWHC 292 (QB)
England and Wales
CitedHickinbotham v Leach 1842
To a declaration for words, imputing to the plaintiff, a pawnbroker, that he had committed the unfair and dishonourable practice of duffing, that is, of replenishing or doing up goods, being in his hands in a damaged or worn-out condition, and . .
CitedLucas-Box v News Group Newspapers Ltd; Polly Peck (Holdings) Plc v Trelford, Viscount De L’Isle v Times Newspapers Ltd CA 1986
Justification To be Clearly Set Out
The former practice which dictated that a defendant who wished to rely on a different meaning in support of a plea of justification or fair comment, did not have to set out in his defence the meaning on which he based his plea, was ill-founded and . .
CitedAl Rajhi Banking and Investment Corporation v Wall Street Journal Europe Sprl QBD 12-Jun-2003
. .
CitedAl Rajhi Banking and Investment Corporation v the Wall Street Journal Europe Sprl (No 2) QBD 21-Jul-2003
. .
CitedControl Risks v New English Library CA 1989
In a defamation claim, there is a parallel to be drawn between what is necessary in respect of the defence of justification and what is necessary where the defence of fair comment is raised. Where justification is pleaded, a defendant is required to . .
CitedReynolds v Times Newspapers Ltd and others HL 28-Oct-1999
Fair Coment on Political Activities
The defendant newspaper had published articles wrongly accusing the claimant, the former Prime Minister of Ireland of duplicity. The paper now appealed, saying that it should have had available to it a defence of qualified privilege because of the . .
CitedPrince Radu of Hohenzollern v Houston and Another (No 4) QBD 4-Mar-2009
Orders were sought to strike out part of the defendants defence of justification to an allegation of defamation.
Held: Where there remains the possibility of a jury trial, it becomes especially important to identify the issues the jurors are . .
CitedJameel, Abdul Latif Jameel Company Limited v The Wall Street Journal Europe Sprl (No 1) CA 26-Nov-2003
The court considered the levels of meaning in an article falsely connecting the claimant with terrorist activity: ‘Once it is recognised that the article may be asserting no more than that in one way or another the respondents may unwittingly have . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.


Updated: 01 November 2021; Ref: scu.429739