Maxwell v Pressdram Ltd: CA 1987

The court was asked whether disclosure should be ordered in the context of the statutory privilege which was created by s.10 of the 1981 Act. The publisher defendant had deposed that it would justify the material. At trial, however, the defence of justification was abandoned and the judge said he would make a (strong) comment adverse to the defendant in the course of his charge of the jury, but he held that the witness need not reveal the source of his material.
Held: The appeal failed. A plea of negligence is insufficient to found a claim for exemplary damages. Some conscious wrongdoing is necessary.
Parker LJ made the point that ‘it is not sufficient merely to say that the information which is sought (to be obtained) is information which is relevant to the determination of an issue before the court. Were that so, it would always be possible to obtain an order for disclosure . ‘
References: [1987] 1 WLR 298, [1987] 1 All ER 656
Judges: Kerr LJ, Parker LJ
Statutes: Contempt of Court Act 1981 10
Jurisdiction: England and Wales
This case is cited by:

  • Cited – Reynolds 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 . .
    (Times 29-Oct-99, Gazette 25-Nov-99, Gazette 17-Nov-99, , , [2001] 2 AC 127, [1999] UKHL 45, [1999] 4 All ER 609, [1999] 3 WLR 1010, [2000] EMLR 1, [2000] HRLR 134, 7 BHRC 289)
  • Cited – Mosley v News Group Newspapers Ltd QBD 24-Jul-2008
    The defendant published a film showing the claimant involved in sex acts with prostitutes. It characterised them as ‘Nazi’ style. He was the son of a fascist leader, and a chairman of an international sporting body. He denied any nazi element, and . .
    (, [2008] EWHC 1777 (QB), [2008] EMLR 20)

These lists may be incomplete.
Last Update: 27 November 2020; Ref: scu.194515