Reynolds TD v Times Newspapers Ltd; Ruddock and Witherow: CA 8 Jul 1998

The claimant, the former Taoiseach of Ireland sought damages after the defendant newspaper published an article falsely accusing him of duplicity. The paper said that his position meant that they should have the defence of quaified privilege available.
Held: Qualified privilege defence applied in defamation proceedings reporting acts of public officials where there appeared a duty to publish, a proper public interest in hearing the allegations and proper reporting procedures (even though the allegations might be false). The court set clearer guidelines for the characteristics of the defence of qualified privilege in defamation actions. The statements must be made honestly, under a legal social or moral duty, satisfying a proper public interest, and the material must warrant protection.


Lord Bingham of Cornhill LCJ, Hirst LJ, Robert Walker LJ


Times 09-Jul-1998, Gazette 26-Aug-1998, Gazette 07-Oct-1998, [1998] 3 All ER 961, [1998] EWCA Civ 1172, [1998] 3 WLR 862




European Convention on Human Rights


England and Wales


CitedPullman v Hill and Co CA 1891
The plaintiff claimed publication of a defamation when the defendant was said to have dictated it to his typist.
Held: That was sufficient publication. The Court considered what would amount to publication in the law of defamation.
Lord . .

Cited by:

AppliedGaddafi v Telegraph Group Ltd CA 28-Oct-1998
The claimant, the son of the leader of Libya, sought damages for defamation from the defendant for an article alleging his involvement in criminal activities. The defendant appealed orders striking out certain parts of his defence, and the claimant . .
Appeal fromReynolds 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 . .
CitedBaldwin v Rusbridger and Another QBD 23-Jul-2001
The newspaper had lost a defamation action, and a leader criticised the law, and defended its journalist in terms which the complainant considered, in effect reaffirmed the original libel.
Held: There is no duty on a newspaper to reply to . .
CitedWeller and Others v Associated Newspapers Ltd CA 20-Nov-2015
The three children of a musician complained of the publication of photographs taken of them in a public place in California. . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Defamation, Media

Updated: 18 November 2022; Ref: scu.144650