Reynolds 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 claimant’s status as a politician.
Held: The appeal failed (Lords Hope and Steyn dissenting).
Guidelines were given for deciding the limits of fair comment and opinion. Under section 12 of the Human Rights Act 1998, the court is required, in relevant cases, to have particular regard to the importance of the right to freedom of expression. The common law is to be developed and applied in a manner consistent with article 10, and the court must take into account relevant decisions of the European Court of Human Rights. To be justified, any curtailment of freedom of expression must be convincingly established by a compelling countervailing consideration, and the means employed must be proportionate to the end sought to be achieved.
The House identified a defence of privilege where the statement involved discussing a matter of proper public interest, that the allegation said to be defamatory was part of the story, and make a real contribution to it, and that the information on which it was based had been acquired fairly, and the publisher had acted responsibly in publishing the information.
Lord Nichols dismissed the appeal saying that the English law of defamation should not allow the extension of the defence of qualified privilege to protect generally statements made about politicians or other public figures. Qualified privilege protects those making statements to investigating bodies looking at possible malpractice. The recognition of a generic qualified privilege of political speech as likely to make it unacceptably difficult for a victim of defamatory and false allegations of fact to prove reckless disregard of the truth. There is no sure distinction between political issues and issues of general public concern. Nevertheless
Lord Cooke dismissed the appeal.
Lord Hope of Craighead allowed the appeal
Lord Hobhouse dismissed the appeal.
Lord Steyn would have allowed the appeal.


Lord Nicholls of Birkenhead, Lord Steyn, Lord Cooke of Thorndon, Lord Hope of Craighead, Lord Hobhouse of Wood-borough


Times 29-Oct-1999, Gazette 25-Nov-1999, Gazette 17-Nov-1999, [2001] 2 AC 127, [1999] UKHL 45, [1999] 4 All ER 609, [1999] 3 WLR 1010, [2000] EMLR 1, [2000] HRLR 134, 7 BHRC 289


House of Lords, Bailii


Human Rights Act 1998 10 12


England and Wales


Appeal fromReynolds 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 . .
CitedMcPherson v Daniels 1829
Bayley J said: Upon the great point, viz. whether it is a good defence to an action for slander for a defendant to show he heard it from another, and at that time named the author, I am of the opinion that it is not’ and ‘the law will not permit a . .
CitedCampbell v Spottiswoode 18-Apr-1863
The plaintiff, a dissenting Protestant minister, sought to advance Christianity in China by promoting a newspaper with letters emphasising its importance. The defendant attacked him in a rival newspaper, saying his motive was not to take the gospel . .
CitedLondon Artists Ltd v Littler CA 10-Dec-1968
The defence of fair comment on matters of public interest is not to be defined too closely. Lord Denning MR said: ‘Whenever a matter is such as to affect people at large, so that they may be legitimately interested in, or concerned at, what is going . .
CitedToogood v Spyring 1834
Qualified Privilege of Bona Fide Words Under Duty
The defence of qualified privilege arises where the statement in question was bona fide and without malicious intent to injure: ‘In general, an action lies for the malicious publication of statements which are false in fact, and injurious to the . .
CitedCox v Feeney 1863
In an action for libel, consisting of a publication in a newspaper of a report of an inspector of charities under the Charitable Trusts Act, containing a letter, written some years before, reflecting on the plaintiff in hs management of a college: . .
CitedDavies v Snead 1870
There are circumstances where a person is so situated that it ‘becomes right in the interests of society’ that he should tell certain facts to another, and so might have a defence of fair comment to a charge of defamation. . .
CitedHorrocks v Lowe HL 1974
The plaintiff complained of an alleged slander spoken at a meeting of the Town Council. The council meeting was an occasion attracting qualified privilege. The judge at trial found that the councillor honestly believed that what he had said in the . .
CitedSilkin v Beaverbrook Newspapers QBD 1958
The test of whether a comment amounted to fair comment, is whether the opinion, however exaggerated, obstinate or prejudiced, was honestly held by the person expressing it. Diplock J said: ‘Let us look a little more closely at the way in which the . .
CitedLondon Association for Protection of Trade v Greenlands Ltd HL 1916
There had been publication in confidence to a single potential customer.
Held: When testing whether an occasion was one for qualified privilege, the court must look to all the circumstances.
Lord Buckmaster LC said: ‘Again, it is, I . .
CitedPurcell v Sowler CA 1877
A Manchester newspaper reported a public meeting of poor-law guardians, in which a medical officer was said to have neglected to attend pauper patients when sent for.
Held: Publication was not privileged. The Court looked beyond the . .
CitedAllbutt v General Council of Medical Education and Registration CA 1889
The defendant had published a book with minutes of a meeting of the council recording that the plaintiff’s name had been removed from the medical register for infamous professional conduct. This followed an inquiry at which the plaintiff had been . .
CitedAdam v Ward HL 1917
The plaintiff, Major Adam MP, falsely attacked General Scobell in a speech in the House of Commons, thus bringing his charge into the national arena. The Army Council investigated the charge, rejected it and directed their secretary, Sir E Ward, the . .
CitedWebb v Times Publishing Co Ltd 1960
The Times newspaper published a report of the criminal trial in Switzerland of a British subject. When sued in defamation they sought to rely upon the defence of fair reporting of judicial proceedings.
Held: A blanket protection for reporting . .
CitedPerera v Peiris PC 1949
Qualified privilege claim upheld
(Ceylon) The ‘Ceylon Daily News’ had published extracts from a report of the Bribery Commission which was critical of Dr. Perera’s lack of frankness in his evidence. The Judicial Committee upheld a claim to qualified privilege. In the light of the . .
CitedWason v Walter; ex parte Wason QBD 1868
Defamation proceedings were begun in respect of newspaper reports of debates in Parliament.
Held: By analogy with reports of judicial proceedings, that fair and accurate reports of parliamentary proceedings were privileged. It was of paramount . .
CitedBlackshaw v Lord CA 1984
Claim to privilege must be precisely focused
The Daily Telegraph carried an article headed ‘Incompetence at ministry cost pounds 52 million’ recording that a number of senior civil servants had been reprimanded after investigation by the Public Accounts Committee. The plaintiff had been in . .
CitedBraddock v Bevins CA 1948
Mr. Bevins’ election address at a local election was the subject of qualified privilege in a defamation action.
Held: The court applied the classic requirements necessary to confer qualified privilege.
Lord Greene MR said: ‘A defamatory . .
CitedKingshott v Kent Newspapers Limited 1991
A question arose under the section as to whether a news piece was a fair and accurate report of proceedings at a local public enquiry. The judge had ruled that no reasonable jury properly directed could conclude that the words complained of were . .
CitedDerbyshire County Council v Times Newspapers Ltd and Others HL 18-Feb-1993
Local Council may not Sue in Defamation
Local Authorities must be open to criticism as political and administrative bodies, and so cannot be allowed to sue in defamation. Such a right would operate as ‘a chill factor’ on free speech. Freedom of speech was the underlying value which . .
CitedFressoz and Roire v France ECHR 21-Jan-1999
Le Canard Enchaine published the salary of M Calvet, the chairman of Peugeot, (which was publicly available information) and also, by way of confirmation, photographs of the relevant part of his tax assessment, which was confidential and could not . .
CitedBladet Tromso and Stensaas v Norway ECHR 20-May-1999
A newspaper and its editor complained that their right to freedom of expression had been breached when they were found liable in defamation proceedings for statements in articles which they had published about the methods used by seal hunters in the . .
CitedGoodwin v The United Kingdom ECHR 27-Mar-1996
An order for a journalist to reveal his source was a breach of his right of free expression: ‘The court recalls that freedom of expression constitutes one of the essential foundations of a democratic society and that the safeguards to be afforded to . .
CitedThorgeir Thorgeirson v Iceland ECHR 25-Jun-1992
Two newspaper articles reported widespread rumours of brutality by the Reykjavik police. These rumours had some substantiation in fact, a policeman had been convicted recently. The purpose of the articles was to promote an investigation by an . .
CitedAttorney-General v Guardian Newspapers Ltd (No 2) (‘Spycatcher’) HL 13-Oct-1988
Loss of Confidentiality Protection – public domain
A retired secret service employee sought to publish his memoirs from Australia. The British government sought to restrain publication there, and the defendants sought to report those proceedings, which would involve publication of the allegations . .
CitedSlim v Daily Telegraph Ltd CA 1968
Courts to Settle upon a single meaning if disputed
The ‘single meaning’ rule adopted in the law of defamation is in one sense highly artificial, given the range of meanings the impugned words sometimes bear. The law of defamation ‘has passed beyond redemption by the courts’. Where in a libel action . .
CitedCassell and Co Ltd v Broome (No 2) HL 24-Feb-1972
Their Lordships varied an order for costs already made by the House in circumstances where the parties had not had a fair opportunity to address argument on the point. As the ultimate court of appeal, the House has power to correct any injustice . .
CitedHebditch v MacIlwaine CA 1894
On the defence of common interest such as to establish qualified privilege: ‘The defendant cannot create a privilege for himself because of honest belief on his part that the person to whom he made a slanderous communication had an interest or duty . .
CitedLingens v Austria ECHR 8-Jul-1986
Freedom of expression, as secured in paragraph 1 of Article 10, constitutes one of the essential foundations of a democratic society and one of the basic conditions for its progress and for each individual’s self-fulfilment. Subject to paragraph 2, . .
CitedOberschlick v Austria ECHR 23-May-1991
A journalist was convicted by a court which regarded itself as bound by the opinion of the court of appeal which had remitted his case to the lower court for trial after it had been dismissed by that court. The judge who presided over the court of . .
CitedThe Sunday Times v The United Kingdom (No 2) ECHR 26-Nov-1991
Any prior restraint on freedom of expression calls for the most careful scrutiny. ‘Freedom of expression constitutes one of the essential foundations of a democratic society subject to paragraph (2) of Article 10. It is applicable not only to . .
CitedCastells v Spain ECHR 23-Apr-1992
The conviction of the applicant for publishing in a weekly magazine an article which insulted the government with the penalty of disqualification from public office, violated the applicants freedom of expression within the meaning of Article 10. ‘ . .
CitedDe Haes and Gijsels v Belgium ECHR 24-Feb-1997
The court emphasised that the press plays an essential role in a democratic society. The court trenchantly observed ‘It is incumbent on the press to impart information and ideas of public interest. Not only does the press have the task of imparting . .
CitedPlummer v Charman 1962
The court discussed the defence of fair comment in political cases: ‘I need hardly say that there is no privilege known to the law which entitles persons engaged in politics to misstate a fact about their opponent provided that they say it honestly . .
CitedDuncombe v Daniell 1837
The defendant was a voter in a parliamentary election. He wrote two letters which were published in a newspaper, the ‘Morning Post,’ which reflected upon the character of one of the candidates in his constituency. The plaintiff was awarded damages. . .
CitedPrebble v Television New Zealand Ltd PC 27-Jun-1994
(New Zealand) The plaintiff, an MP, pursued a defamation case. The defendant wished to argue for the truth of what was said, and sought to base his argument on things said in Parliament. The plaintiff responded that this would be a breach of . .
CitedX Ltd v Morgan-Grampian (Publishers) Ltd HL 1990
In a case where a contemnor not only fails wilfully and contumaciously to comply with an order of the court but makes it clear that he will continue to defy the court’s authority if the order should be affirmed on appeal, the court must have a . .
CitedMaxwell v Pressdram Ltd CA 1987
The court was asked whether disclosure should be ordered in the context of the statutory privilege which was created by s.10 of the 1981 Act. The publisher defendant had deposed that it would justify the material. At trial, however, the defence of . .
CitedBushell’s case 1670
The case was, that Bushel and other jurors in London (for the trial of a traverse on an indictment against several persons for conventicling against the form of the statute lately made) were fin’d and imprisoned at the sessions in the Old Baily, . .
CitedPenn and Mead’s case 1670
. .
CitedAnderson v Bank of British Columbia CA 1876
Litigation was threatened against an English bank concerning the conduct of an account kept at the branch of the bank in Oregon. The English bank’s London manager thought it necessary to ascertain the full facts and cabled the branch manager in . .
CitedAnderson v Bank of British Columbia CA 1876
Litigation was threatened against an English bank concerning the conduct of an account kept at the branch of the bank in Oregon. The English bank’s London manager thought it necessary to ascertain the full facts and cabled the branch manager in . .
CitedClark v Molyneux 1877
The test of malice in a defence of qualified privilege is ‘has it been proved that the defendant did not honestly believe that what he said was true, that is, was he either aware that it was not true or indifferent to its truth or falsity.’ . .
CitedBrims v Reid and Sons 1885
A newspaper had published an anonymous letter concerning the fitness for office of the pursuer who was seeking re-election as a member of a town council and to the public office of Dean of Guild. The publisher refused to disclose the name of the . .
CitedAnderson v Hunter 1891
The pursuer sought election as a county councillor for a division where a parish had been divided into two electoral divisions for county council purposes. The defender lived in the same parish but he was an elector in the other division. He had . .
CitedMcKerchar v Cameron 1892
A newspaper published an anonymous letter containing statements that the pursuer, a salaried official, was unfit for his post as a teacher in a public school. It was argued that the ratepayers and inhabitants of the neighbourhood had an interest and . .
CitedBruce v Leisk 1892
. .
CitedJohn v MGN Ltd CA 12-Dec-1995
Defamation – Large Damages Awards
MGN appealed as to the level of damages awarded against it namely pounds 350,000 damages, comprising pounds 75,000 compensatory damages and pounds 275,000 exemplary damages. The newspaper contended that as a matter of principle there is no scope in . .

Cited by:

AppliedLoutchansky v The Times Newspapers Ltd and Others (Nos 2 to 5) CA 5-Dec-2001
Two actions for defamation were brought by the claimant against the defendant. The publication reported in detail allegations made against the claimant of criminal activities including money-laundering on a vast scale. They admitted the defamatory . .
CitedMills v News Group Newspapers Limited ChD 4-Jun-2001
The applicant was in a relationship with Paul McCartney, and in view of attacks on other former Beatles, she sought to restrain publication of the address of a property she had contracted to buy. The newspaper had said it would not publish unless . .
CitedCream Holdings Limited and others v Banerjee and The Liverpool Daily Post and Echo Limited CA 13-Feb-2003
The defendants considered publication of alleged financial irregularities by the claimant, who sought to restrain publication. The defendants argued that under the Act, prior restraint should not be used unless a later court would be likely to . .
CitedNorwood v Director of Public Prosecutions Admn 3-Jul-2003
The appellant a BNP member had displayed a large poster in his bedroom window saying ‘Islam out of Britain’. He was convicted of an aggravated attempt to cause alarm or distress. The offence was established on proof of several matters, unless the . .
CitedGeorge Worme Grenada Today Limited v The Commissioner of Police PC 29-Jan-2004
PC (Grenada) The defendant was editor of a newspaper which carried a story severely defamatory of the prime minister. He was convicted of criminal libel, and appealed.
Held: The appeal was dismissed. The . .
CitedMeade v Pugh and Another QBD 5-Mar-2004
The claimant was a social work student. He attended a work experience placement, and challenged the report given by the defendants on that placement, saying it was discriminatory and defamatory. He appealed a strike out of his claim.
Held: The . .
CitedCampbell v Mirror Group Newspapers Ltd (MGN) (No 1) HL 6-May-2004
The claimant appealed against the denial of her claim that the defendant had infringed her right to respect for her private life. She was a model who had proclaimed publicly that she did not take drugs, but the defendant had published a story . .
CitedTillery Valley Foods v Channel Four Television, Shine Limited ChD 18-May-2004
The claimant sought an injunction to restrain the defendants from broadcasting a film, claiming that it contained confidential material. A journalist working undercover sought to reveal what he said were unhealthy practices in the claimant’s meat . .
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 . .
CitedLoutchansky v Times Newspapers Limited (No 2) CA 12-Mar-2001
The defendants appealed against a refusal to allow them to amend their pleadings. They wished to include allegations as to matters which were unknown to the journalist at the time of publication.
Held: It is necessary for the defendants to . .
CitedPaddick v Associated Newspapers Ltd QBD 10-Dec-2003
The defendant sought disclosure of full statements used by the claimant . Extracts only had been supplied, and he said they contained private and confidential material.
Held: The application failed. The claimant had stated that the balance of . .
CitedIn re S (a Child) (Identification: Restrictions on Publication) HL 28-Oct-2004
Inherent High Court power may restrain Publicity
The claimant child’s mother was to be tried for the murder of his brother by poisoning with salt. It was feared that the publicity which would normally attend a trial, would be damaging to S, and an application was made for reporting restrictions to . .
CitedGreene v Associated Newspapers Ltd CA 5-Nov-2004
The claimant appealed against refusal of an order restraining publication by the respondent of an article about her. She said that it was based upon an email falsely attributed to her.
Held: ‘in an action for defamation a court will not impose . .
CitedJameel, Abdul Latif Jameel Company Limited v The Wall Street Journal Europe SPRL QBD 20-Jan-2004
It is almost inevitable that in a Reynolds privilege case to be tried by jury there will be presented to them a list of questions, sometimes no doubt formidably long. The object is to enable the judge to have the factual matrix upon which to make . .
CitedGeorge Galloway MP v Telegraph Group Ltd QBD 2-Dec-2004
The claimant MP alleged defamation in articles by the defendant newspaper. They claimed to have found papers in Iraqi government offices after the invasion of Iraq which implicated the claimant. The claimant said the allegations were grossly . .
CitedBonnick v Morris, The Gleaner Company Ltd and Allen PC 17-Jun-2002
(Jamaica) The appellant sought damages from the respondent journalists in defamation. They had claimed qualified privilege. The words alleged to be defamatory were ambiguous.
Held: The publishers were protected by Reynolds privilege. The court . .
CitedJameel and Another v Wall Street Journal Europe Sprl (No 2) CA 3-Feb-2005
The claimant sought damages for an article published by the defendant, who argued that as a corporation, the claimant corporation needed to show special damage, and also that the publication had qualified privilege.
Held: ‘It is an established . .
CitedMiller v Associated Newspapers Ltd QBD 11-Nov-2003
A policemen sued in defamation. The newspaper pleaded Reynolds qualified privilege.
Held: The plea was struck out. There has developed tendency of defendants to plead qualified privilege since the Reynolds decision in ‘rather waffly . .
CitedArmstrong v Times Newspapers Ltd and David Walsh, Alan English CA 29-Jul-2005
The claimant sought damages after publication by the first defendant of articles which it was claimed implied that he had taken drugs. The paper claimed qualified privilege, and claimed Reynolds immunity.
Held: The defence of qualified . .
CitedPanday v Gordon PC 5-Oct-2005
(Trinidad and Tobago) A senior politician had accused an opponent of pseudo-racism. The defendant asserted that he had a defence under the constitution, allowing freedom of political speech.
Held: The appeal failed. The statements were . .
CitedSingh and others v Chief Constable of West Midlands Police QBD 4-Nov-2005
A play was presented which was seen by many Sikhs as offensive. Protesters were eventually ordered to disperse under s30 of the 2003 Act. The defendants appealed their convictions for having breached that order, saying that it interfered with their . .
CitedGeorge Galloway MP v The Telegraph Group Ltd CA 25-Jan-2006
The defendant appealed agaiunst a finding that it had defamed the claimant by repeating the contents of papers found after the invasion of Iraq which made claims against the claimant. The paper had not sought to justify the claims, relying on . .
CitedLowe v Associated Newspapers Ltd QBD 28-Feb-2006
The defendant sought to defend the claim for defamation by claiming fair comment. The claimant said that the relevant facts were not known to the defendant at the time of the publication.
Held: To claim facts in aid of a defence of fair . .
CitedCharman v Orion Publishing Group Ltd and others QBD 13-Jul-2006
The claimant police officer sought damages from the defendants who had published a book alleging that he had been corrupt. The defendants claimed privilege under Reynolds and the 1996 Act.
Held: The defence of qualified privilege failed. . .
CitedSingh, Regina (on the Application of) v Chief Constable of West Midlands Police CA 28-Jul-2006
Sikh protesters set out to picket a theatre production which they considered to offend their religion. The respondent used a existing ASBO dispersal order which had been obtained for other purposes, to control the demonstration.
Held: The . .
CitedJameel v Wall Street Journal Europe Sprl HL 11-Oct-2006
The House was asked as to the capacity of a limited company to sue for damage to its reputation, where it had no trading activity within the jurisdiction, and as to the extent of the Reynolds defence. The defendants/appellants had published an . .
CitedNorfolk County Council v Webster and others FD 1-Nov-2006
The claimants wished to claim that they were victims of a miscarriage of justice in the way the Council had dealt with care proceedings. They sought that the proceedings should be reported without the children being identified.
Held: A judge . .
CitedMersey Care NHS Trust v Ackroyd CA 21-Feb-2007
The defendant journalist had published confidential material obtained from the claimant’s secure hospital at Ashworth. The hospital now appealed against the refusal of an order for him to to disclose his source.
Held: The appeal failed. Given . .
CitedRoberts and Another v Gable and others CA 12-Jul-2007
The claimants appealed a finding of qualified privilege in their claim of defamation by the defendant author and magazine which was said to have accused them of theft and threats of violence against other members of the BNP.
Held: The appeal . .
CitedMalik v Newspost Ltd and others QBD 20-Dec-2007
The claimant, a politician, sought damages after another local politician accused him of using physical intimidation at elections. The defendant claimed a Reynolds privilege.
Held: This was not investigative journalism, and ‘There is no doubt . .
CitedBritish Broadcasting Corporation v CAFCASS Legal and others FD 30-Mar-2007
Parents of a child had resisted care proceedings, and now wished the BBC to be able to make a TV programme about their case. They applied to the court for the judgment to be released. Applications were also made to have a police officer’s and . .
CitedSeray-Wurie v The Charity Commission of England and Wales QBD 23-Apr-2008
The defendant sought an order to strike out the claimant’s allegations of defamation and other torts. The defendants claimed qualified privilege in that the statements complained of were contained in a report prepared by it in fulfilment of its . .
CitedCuristan v Times Newspapers Ltd CA 30-Apr-2008
The court considered the availability of qualified privilege for reporting of statements made in parliament and the actionable meaning of the article, which comprised in part those statements and in part other factual material representing the . .
CitedMosley v News Group Newspapers Ltd QBD 24-Jul-2008
The defendant published a film showing the claimant involved in sex acts with prostitutes. It characterised them as ‘Nazi’ style. He was the son of a fascist leader, and a chairman of an international sporting body. He denied any nazi element, and . .
CitedGrobbelaar v News Group Newspapers Ltd and Another CA 18-Jan-2001
The claimant had been awarded andpound;85,000 damages in defamation after the defendant had wrongly accused him of cheating at football. The newspaper sought to appeal saying that the verdict was perverse and the defence of qualified privilege . .
CitedGrobbelaar v News Group Newspapers Ltd and Another HL 24-Oct-2002
The claimant appealed against a decision of the Court of Appeal quashing the judgement in his favour for damages for defamation.
Held: The Court of Appeal was not able to quash a jury verdict as perverse, and the appeal succeeded. An appellate . .
CitedTimes Newspapers Ltd (Nos. 1 And 2) v The United Kingdom ECHR 10-Mar-2009
The applicant alleged that the rule under United Kingdom law whereby each time material is downloaded from the Internet a new cause of action in libel proceedings accrued (‘the Internet publication rule’) constituted an unjustifiable and . .
CitedQuinton v Peirce and Another QBD 30-Apr-2009
One election candidate said that another had defamed him in an election leaflet. Additional claims were made in injurious falsehood and under the Data Protection Act.
Held: The claim in defamation failed. There were no special privileges in . .
CitedMetropolitan International Schools Ltd. (T/A Skillstrain And/Or Train2Game) v Designtechnica Corp (T/A Digital Trends) and Others QBD 16-Jul-2009
The claimant complained that the defendant had published on its internet forums comments by posters which were defamatory of it, and which were then made available by the second defendant search engine. The court was asked what responsibility a . .
CitedThe Author of A Blog v Times Newspapers Ltd QBD 16-Jun-2009
The claimant, the author of an internet blog (‘Night Jack’), sought an order to restrain the defendant from publishing his identity.
Held: To succeed, the claimant would have to show that there would be a legally enforceable right to maintain . .
CitedFlood v Times Newspapers Ltd QBD 2-Oct-2009
The defendant had published a story in its newspaper. At that time it attracted Reynolds qualified privilege. After the circumstances changed, the paper offered an updating item. That offer was rejected as inadequate.
Held: The qualified . .
CitedFlood v Times Newspapers Ltd CA 13-Jul-2010
The claimant police officer complained of an article he said was defamatory in saying he was being investigated for allegations of accepting bribes. The article remained on the internet even after he was cleared. Each party appealed interim orders. . .
CitedSpiller and Another v Joseph and Others SC 1-Dec-2010
The defendants had published remarks on its website about the reliability of the claimant. When sued in defamation, they pleaded fair comment, but that was rejected by the Court of Appeal.
Held: The defendants’ appeal succeeded, and the fair . .
CitedLord Ashcroft KCMG v Foley and Others QBD 18-Feb-2011
The claimant sought to strike out defences of justification and fair comment saying that the pleadings were unsustainable for lack of clarity.
Held: The pleadings did contain obfuscation, and ‘if there is a viable defence of justification or . .
CitedBaturina v Times Newspapers Ltd CA 23-Mar-2011
The claimant appealed against directions given in her defamation action against the defendant. It had been said that she owned a house, and the defendant said that this was not defamatory. The claimant said that as the wife of the Mayor of Moscow . .
CitedCook v Telegraph Media Group Ltd QBD 29-Mar-2011
The claimant, an MP, complained in defamation of the defendant’s description of his rejected expenses claim regarding an assistant’s charitable donation. The paper pleaded a Reynolds defence. The claimant said that when published the defendant knew . .
CitedCommissioner of Police of The Metropolis and Another v Times Newspapers Ltd and Another QBD 21-Jun-2011
The defendant had published an article based upon information said to be confidential and leaked from the claimant’s offices. A defamation claimant was suing the defendant in defamation, and the defendant wished to rely on the information in its . .
CitedKelly (A Minor) v British Broadcasting Corporation FD 25-Jul-2000
K, aged 16, had left home to join what was said to be a religious sect. His whereabouts were unknown. He had been made a ward of court and the Official Solicitor was appointed to represent his interests. He had sent messages to say that he was well . .
ExplainedFlood v Times Newspapers Ltd SC 21-Mar-2012
The defendant had published an article which was defamatory of the claimant police officer, saying that he was under investigation for alleged corruption. The inquiry later cleared him. The court was now asked whether the paper had Reynolds type . .
CitedBento v The Chief Constable of Bedfordshire Police QBD 1-Jun-2012
The claimant had been convicted of the murder of his girlfriend. On his acquittal on appeal, the police criticised the CPS decision not to retry the claimant, in effect, the claimant now said, continuing the accusation against him, and so defaming . .
CitedH v A (No2) FD 17-Sep-2015
The court had previously published and then withdrawn its judgment after third parties had been able to identify those involved by pulling together media and internet reports with the judgment.
Held: The judgment case should be published in . .
CitedEconomou v De Freitas QBD 27-Jul-2016
Failed action for defamation on rape allegations
The claimant had been accused by the defendant’s daughter of rape. He was never charged but sought to prosecute her alleging intent to pervert the course of justice. She later killed herself. The defendant sought to have the inquest extended to . .
CitedTurley v Unite The Union and Another QBD 19-Dec-2019
Defamation of Labour MP by Unite and Blogger
The claimant now a former MP had alleged that a posting on a website supported by the first defendant was false and defamatory. The posting suggested that the claimant had acted dishonestly in applying online for a category of membership of the . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Defamation, Media, Human Rights

Leading Case

Updated: 27 November 2022; Ref: scu.159027