Seray-Wurie v The Charity Commission of England and Wales: CA 3 Feb 2009

The claimant appealed against the striking out of his claim for defamation in a reort prepared by the defendants criticising his actions as chairman of a CAB. The action had been struck out on the basis of qualified privilege, and the claimant’s allegation of malice discounted.
Held: The appeal failed. The claimant made assertions about the report which were simply inaccurate, he complained of things they had not said, and had elided elements contradicting his assertions.
Allegation of malice must include a demonstration at least of the falsity of the allegations complained of. The claimant had not shown even this.
Sir Anthony May said: ‘The burden of proof is difficult to discharge and findings of malice are very rare. The judge observed that the court should be wary of taking away an issue such as malice without its coming before a jury for deliberation. This step should only be taken where the court is satisfied that such a finding would be perverse. However, it was plainly a judge’s duty to prevent further time and money being expended upon a hopeless allegation . . Allegations of malice must go beyond that which is equivocal or merely neutral. There must be some particularised allegations from which a jury could rationally infer malice. That is that the relevant person was either dishonest or had a dominant motive to injure the claimant. Mere assertion will not do. A claimant may not proceed in the hope that something will turn up during the cross-examination of a witness at trial.’
Sir Anthony May P QBD, Richards LJ
[2009] EWCA Civ 153
England and Wales
Appeal fromSeray-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 . .
CitedTurner v Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures Ltd (MGM) HL 1950
A letter was published which criticised a film critic’s review of the week’s films.
Held: A person (including a corporation) whose character or conduct has been attacked is entitled to answer the attack, and the answer will be protected by . .
CitedHorrocks v Lowe HL 1974
The plaintiff complained of an alleged slander spoken at a meeting of the Town Council.
Held: An allegation of malice is a very serious allegation and is generally tantamount to dishonesty. The House considered the circumstances under which a . .
CitedRegina v Galbraith CCA 1981
Rejection of Submission of No Case to Answer
The defendant had faced a charge of affray. The court having rejected his submission of having no case to answer, he had made an exculpatory statement from the dock. He appealed against his conviction.
Held: Lord Lane LCJ said: ‘How then . .
CitedS v Newham London Borough Council CA 24-Feb-1998
A Local Authority which was relaying the facts underlying a list of people it felt were unsuitable to work with children to the minister has no immunity from a defamation action. . .
CitedThree Rivers District Council and Others v Governor and Company of The Bank of England (No 3) HL 22-Mar-2001
Misfeasance in Public Office – Recklessness
The bank sought to strike out the claim alleging misfeasance in public office in having failed to regulate the failed bank, BCCI.
Held: Misfeasance in public office might occur not only when a company officer acted to injure a party, but also . .
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 . .

These lists may be incomplete.
Updated: 08 April 2021; Ref: scu.317954