Mazure v Stubbs Ltd: HL 28 Jul 1919

A weekly paper with a large trade circulation published weekly the decrees in absence obtained in the small-debt courts. The list was prefaced by an explanatory note that the publication in the paper of the decree in absence did not imply that the party against whom the decree had been pronounced was unable to pay, or anything more than that the entry appeared in the court books. The list on one occasion had in it the name of the pursuer as a person against whom a decree in absence had been pronounced. Admittedly no such decree had been pronounced. The pursuer brought an action of damages for slander; innuendoed the publication as meaning that he ‘was given to or had begun to refuse or delay to make payment of his debts, and that he was not a person to whom credit should be given;’ and averred that it was so understood, and had in that way seriously affected him in business. Held ( dis. Lord Wrenbury) (1) that the case was not covered by Russell v. Stubbs, Limited, [1913] A.C. 386, 1913 S.C. (H.L.) 14, 50 SLR 676, and (2) that the averments were relevant.

Viscount Finlay, Viscount Cave, Lord Dunedin, Lord Shaw, and Lord Wrenbury
[1919] UKHL 535, 56 SLR 535


Updated: 14 January 2022; Ref: scu.632785