The defendant operated a web forum in which posters posted defamatory messages about the claimants. The claimants sought an order disclosing the contact details of the members of the forum. The owner of the forum said he had undertaken not to disclose members’ contact details save under a court order.
Held: The threshhold tests identified in Mitsui were met, but ‘I do not think that it would be right to make an order for the disclosure of the identities of users who have posted messages which are barely defamatory or little more than abusive or likely to be understood as jokes. That, it seems to me, would be disproportionate and unjustifiably intrusive. ‘ However the defendant’s costs claimed were wholly disproportionate and reduced.
 EWHC 2375 (QB)
England and Wales
Cited – Norwich Pharmacal Co and others v Customs and Excise Commissioners HL 26-Jun-1973
The plaintiffs sought discovery from the defendants of documents received by them innocently in the exercise of their statutory functions. They sought to identify people who had been importing drugs unlawfully manufactured in breach of their . .
Cited – Totalise Plc v The Motley Fool Limited and Interative Investor Limited (2) CA 19-Dec-2001
The respondent operated a web site which contained a chat room. Defamatory remarks were made by a third party through the chat room, and the claimant sought details of the identity of the poster. The respondent refused to do so without a court . .
Cited – Mitsui and Co Ltd v Nexen Petroleum UK Ltd ChD 29-Apr-2005
Mitsui sought disclosure of documents from a third party under the rules in Norwich Pharmacal.
Held: Such relief was available ‘where the claimant requires the disclosure of crucial information in order to be able to bring its claim or where . .
Cited – Home Office v Lownds (Practice Note) CA 21-Mar-2002
The respondent had been ordered to pay costs of over pounds 16,000 in an action for clinical negligence where the final award was only pounds 4,000. The Secretary of State appealed claiming that the costs were disproportionate.
Held: In such . .
Cited – Smith v ADVFN Plc QBD 13-Mar-2008
Order re case management application. The claimant said he had been defamed on an internet forum run by the defendants, and sought orders for disclosure of the identities of the posters to the website. The operator said that special software might . .
Cited – Smith v ADVFN Plc and others QBD 25-Jul-2008
The claimant had brought multiple actions in defamation against anonymous posters on an online forum. The claimant sought to lift the stay which had been imposed because of the number of actions. The claimant had not yet paid outstanding costs . .
These lists may be incomplete.
Updated: 24 January 2021; Ref: scu.261573