McBride v The Body Shop International Plc: QBD 10 Jul 2007

The claimant sought damages for libel in an internal email written by her manager, accusing her of being a compulsive liar. The email had not been disclosed save in Employment Tribunal proceedings, and the claimant sought permission to use the email and to extend the limitation period saying it had been withheld.
Held: There had been no obligation to reveal the email, and the claimant could not explain her own delay in commencing the proceedings. The court did not extend the period to allow the action to proceed.
Eady J said: ‘I have concluded that the balance of justice lies very much in favour of prohibiting the use of this disclosed document for the extraneous purpose of claiming damages for defamation in respect of what appears to be a limited publication. That is sufficient to dispose of the applications now before me in the Defendant’s favour.’


Eady J


[2007] EWHC 1658 (QB)




England and Wales


CitedHenderson v Henderson 20-Jul-1843
Abuse of Process and Re-litigation
The court set down the principles to be applied in abuse of process cases, where a matter was raised again which should have been dealt with in earlier proceedings.
Sir James Wigram VC said: ‘In trying this question I believe I state the rule . .
CitedRiddick v Thames Board Mills Ltd CA 1977
An action was brought by a disgruntled former employee. He had been summarily dismissed and had been escorted from the premises of his employers. In the first action he claimed damages for wrongful arrest and false imprisonment based on the latter . .
CitedSteinberg v Pritchard Englefield (A Firm) and Another CA 3-Mar-2005
The defendant appealed dismissal of his defence to an action in defamation.
Held: The court proceeded in his absence, discerning two grounds of appeal from the papers. He had suggested that he awaited pro bono representation but was by . .
CitedHome Office v Hariette Harman HL 11-Feb-1982
The defendant had permitted a journalist to see documents revealed to her as in her capacity as a solicitor in the course of proceedings.
Held: The documents were disclosed under an obligation to use them for the instant case only. That rule . .
CitedMahon and Another v Rahn and Others (1) CA 12-Jun-1997
Two company directors sued Swiss bankers who had responded to enquiries from the police in London. The charges which followed had been dismissed, and the directors sued in defamation, seeking to rely upon the materials sent to the police.
CitedJohnson v Gore Wood and Co HL 14-Dec-2000
Shareholder May Sue for Additional Personal Losses
A company brought a claim of negligence against its solicitors, and, after that claim was settled, the company’s owner brought a separate claim in respect of the same subject-matter.
Held: It need not be an abuse of the court for a shareholder . .
CitedDow Jones and Co Inc v Jameel CA 3-Feb-2005
Presumption of Damage in Defamation is rebuttable
The defendant complained that the presumption in English law that the victim of a libel had suffered damage was incompatible with his right to a fair trial. They said the statements complained of were repetitions of statements made by US . .
CitedLilly Icos Ltd v Pfizer Ltd (No 2) CA 23-Jan-2002
The respondent sought an order to maintain the confidentiality of documents disclosed during patent revocation proceedings. It now appealed an order refusing confidentiality.
Held: Under normal circumstances, a party requesting such an order . .
CitedSomerville v Hawkins 1851
It is necessary for a claimant who wishes to prove malice in an alleged defamation to plead and prove facts which are more consistent with its presence than with its absence. Mawle J said: ‘it is certainly not necessary in order to enable a . .
CitedAlexander v Arts Council of Wales CA 9-Apr-2001
In a defamation action, where the judge considered that, taken at their highest, the allegations made by the claimant would be insufficient to establish the claim, he could grant summary judgment for the defence. If the judge considered that a . .
CitedTelnikoff v Matusevitch CA 1991
The court considered the element of malice in a defamation defence: ‘If a piece of evidence is equally consistent with malice and the absence of malice, it cannot as a matter of law provide evidence on which the jury could find malice. The judge . .

Cited by:

CitedIG Index Plc v Cloete QBD 11-Dec-2013
The defendant applied to have struck out the claim, saying that it was based upon a misuse of documents disclosed during an employment tribunal case, and was an abuse since the claimants had not sought the permission of the Tribunal for a second use . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Defamation, Limitation, Litigation Practice

Updated: 27 November 2022; Ref: scu.254518