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 requirement had been met.
Held: ‘Ms Monroe complains of the natural and ordinary meaning. That is not the same as a literal meaning. The literal meaning, that Ms Monroe had herself scrawled on and vandalised a memorial, would be rejected by the reasonable reader, having regard to the context. The reader would see the tweet as having an element of metaphor. But it is, to my mind, an inescapable conclusion that the ordinary reasonable reader of the First Tweet would understand it to mean that Ms Monroe ‘condoned and approved of scrawling on war memorials, vandalising monuments commemorating those who fought for her freedom.’ That is a meaning that emerges clearly enough, making full allowance for everything that seems to me relevant by way of context: the characteristics of Ms Hopkins and Ms Monroe, the nature of Twitter, and the immediately surrounding contextual material on Twitter. ‘


Warby J


[2017] EWHC 433 (QB), [2017] WLR(D) 188


Bailii, WLRD


Defamation Act 2013 81


England and Wales


CitedFulham (orse Fullam) v Newcastle Chronicle and Journal Ltd and Another CA 1977
A local newspaper circulating in Teesside, where the claimant had been appointed deputy headmaster of a school, published an article in 1973 saying of the claimant that he was a former Roman Catholic priest who had left his parish in the Salford . .
CitedJeynes 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 . .
CitedThornton v Telegraph Media Group Ltd QBD 26-Jul-2011
The claimant alleged defamation and malicious falsehood in an article published and written by the defendants. She complained that she was said to have fabricated an interview with the second defendant for her book. An interview of sorts had now . .
CitedModi and Another v Clarke CA 29-Jul-2011
The claimants, organisers of the Indian Premier cricket League, met with organisations in England seeking to establish a similar league in the Northern Hemisphere. A copy of a note came to the defendant, chairman of the England and Wales Cricket . .
CitedMcAlpine 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 . .
CitedMcAlpine v Bercow QBD 2014
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 . .
CitedWaterson v Lloyd and Another QBD 26-Jul-2013
When looking at a political speech, the court should be careful of over-elaborate analysis. . .
CitedSimpson v Mirror Group Newspapers Ltd CA 26-Jul-2016
When looking for a defamatory meaning, the court should adopt a neutral approach . .
CitedDee v Telegraph Media Group Ltd QBD 28-Apr-2010
The newspaper sought summary judgment in its defence of the defamation claim. The article labelled the claimant as the world’s worst professional tennis player. The paper said he had no prospect of succeeding once the second article in the same . .
CitedBarron MP and Another v Vines QBD 29-Apr-2015
The court considered the damages to be awarded afer a libellous television broadcast on Sky TV. The claimants were MPs for Rotherham. There had been a large scale abuse of children, and they had been accused of not responding properly to it by the . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.


Updated: 24 March 2022; Ref: scu.581317