Roberts 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 failed. ‘the journalist has a good defence to a claim for libel if what he publishes, even without an attempt to verify its truth, amounts to reportage, the best description of which gleaned from these cases is that it is the neutral reporting without adoption or embellishment or subscribing to any belief in its truth of attributed allegations of both sides of a political and possibly some other kind of dispute. ‘ However as to the issue of repetition: ‘if A makes a defamatory statement about B and C repeats it, C cannot succeed in the defence of justification by showing that A made the statement: C must prove the charge against B is true. This is so even if C believes the statement to be true and even when C names A as his source.’


Ward LJ, Sedley LJ, Moore-Bick LJ


[2007] EMLR 16, [2007] EWCA Civ 721, [2008] 1 WLR 129, [2008] QB 502




England and Wales


CitedReynolds 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 . .
See AlsoRoberts and Another v Gable and others CA 2-Nov-2006
. .
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 . .
Appeal fromRoberts and Another v Gable and others QBD 12-May-2006
The court considered the merits of a Reynolds defence: ‘reporting both sides, in a disinterested way, is an important element in the doctrine of reportage. That is not to say, of course, that a journalist or publisher will be deprived of the . .
CitedSaad Al-Fagih v HH Saudi Research and Marketing (UK) Ltd QBD 28-Jul-2000
The court considered the factors which the court should take into account when carrying out the balancing process with regard to the defence of qualified privilege because of the public interest: ‘Some factors relate to the quality, status and . .
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 . .
CitedAl-Fagih v H H Saudi Research and Marketing (UK) Ltd CA 1-Nov-2001
The media’s right to freedom of expression, particularly in the field of political discussion ‘is of a higher order’ than ‘the right of an individual to his good reputation.’ The majority upheld an appeal against a trial judge’s ruling that the . .
CitedMark v Associated Newspapers Limited CA 29-May-2002
The claimant sought damages in defamation saying that the defendant had said she had authorised publication of extracts from her book about her time working as housekeeper for the prime minister’s family before she had obtained proper authority for . .
CitedTruth (NZ) Ltd v Holloway PC 1960
The publication complained of related to the plaintiff Cabinet Minister (referred to in the article as Phil), in which it was stated that a man had seen one Judd, to whom an import licence had been issued, with the object of getting information from . .
CitedLewis v Daily Telegraph Ltd HL 1964
Ascertaining Meaning of Words for Defamation
The Daily Telegraph had published an article headed ‘Inquiry on Firm by City Police’ and the Daily Mail had published an article headed ‘Fraud Squad Probe Firm’. The plaintiffs claimed that those articles carried the meaning that they were guilty of . .
CitedVerlagsgruppe News Gmbh v Austria ECHR 14-Dec-2006
The applicant newspaper had quoted a letter defamatory of a politician which had earlier been published by another paper in the context. The Court said: ‘of its reportage about the then pending defamation proceedings against Mr Heller [the author of . .
CitedEdwards v National Audubon Society 1-May-1977
(The United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit) The defendant environmental Society opposed the use of DDT saying it endangered birds. Its proponents argued that without DDT, millions would die of insect-carried diseases and starvation . .
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 . .

Cited by:

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 . .
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 . .
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. . .
CitedFlood 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 . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Defamation, Media

Updated: 11 July 2022; Ref: scu.254569