The claimant alleged defamation by the defendant in making a false allegation against him.
Held: The second Jeynes principle does not mean that the court must always choose the least defamatory meaning available. Where there are two possible meanings, one less derogatory than the other, whether it is the more or the less derogatory meaning that the court should adopt is to be determined by reference to what the hypothetical reasonable reader would understand in all the circumstances. The followers of the defendant on Twitter, to whom her defamatory words were published, would have included a significant number who shared the interest of Mrs Bercow in politics and current affairs.
The words about not ‘selecting one bad meaning’ are: ‘part of the description of the hypothetical reasonable reader, rather than as a prescription of how such a reader should attribute meanings to words complained of as defamatory. If there are two possible meanings, one less derogatory than the other, whether it is the more or the less derogatory meaning that the court should adopt is to be determined by reference to what the hypothetical reasonable reader would understand in all the circumstances.’
 EMLR 3,  EWHC 1342
England and Wales
Cited – Jeynes v News Magazines Ltd and Another CA 31-Jan-2008
Whether Statement defamatory at common law
The claimant appealed against a striking out of her claim for defamation on finding that the words did not have the defamatory meaning complained of, namely that she was transgendered or transsexual.
Held: The appeal failed.
Sir Anthony . .
See Also – McAlpine v Bercow QBD 24-May-2013
The claimant alleged defamation in a tweet by the defendant. The court now decided as a preliminary point, the meaning of the words: ‘Why is Lord McAlpine trending? *Innocent face*’. There had been other but widespread (mistaken) allegations against . .
Cited – Hamaizia and Another v The Commissioner of Police for The Metropolis QBD 21-Oct-2014
The two claimants, each convicted of serious offences of false imprisonment and violent assault, complained of a press release issued by the defendant which, they said accused them of involvement in a murder.
Held: The words complained of did . .
Cited – Monroe v Hopkins QBD 10-Mar-2017
The claimant, a transgender chef and food blogger claimed in defamation against the defendant journalist in respect of two tweets. The court now set out to decide the meanings, whether they were defamatory by nature, and whether the serious harm . .
Cited – Stocker v Stocker SC 3-Apr-2019
The parties had been married and divorced. Mrs S told M S’s new partner on Facebook that he had tried to strangle her and made other allegations. Mrs S now appealed from a finding that she had defamed him. Lord Kerr restated the approach to meaning . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.
Updated: 29 January 2022; Ref: scu.537781