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 orders.
Held: It was arguable that many of the postings made to the forum should be treated not as defamation but as mere slander because of the way there were made. In view of the several difficulties faced by the claimant, it would be wrong to lift the stay at this stage, and right to impose a stay on those not yet served.
The court went on to consider a civil restraint order. There were enough claims to fulfill the condition of persistence. Many of the complaints of bullying and similar were typical fair comment territory, and there was no realistic prospect of such claim achieving the goal of vindicating the claimant’s reputation. An extended civil restraint order was made.
Eady J
[2008] EWHC 1797 (QB)
Bailii
Defamation Act 1996 1
England and Wales
Citing:
CitedTotalise 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 . .
CitedMitsui 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 . .
CitedNigel Smith v M QBD 12-May-2008
The claimants sought disclosure of material which would lead to the identification of people who had made postings to a forum on the internet.
Held: The court had aready imposed a stay on the issuing of further proceedings, yet the claimant . .
See AlsoSmith v ADVFN Plc CA 15-Apr-2008
The claimant complained of defamation on internet bulletin boards. He made an application to require the forum operator to disclose IP addresses and other information about posters under a Norwich Pharmacal order. Further applications were made for . .
See AlsoSmith 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 . .
CitedSheffield Wednesday Football Club Ltd and others v Hargreaves QBD 18-Oct-2007
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 . .
CitedSomerville v Hawkins 1851
It is necessary for a claimant who wishes to prove malice in an alleged defamation to plead and prove facts which are more consistent with its presence than with its absence. Mawle J said: ‘it is certainly not necessary in order to enable a . .
CitedGodfrey v Demon Internet Limited (2) QBD 23-Apr-1999
Evidence of Reputation Admissible but Limited
The plaintiff had brought an action for damages for defamation. The defendant wished to amend its defence to include allegations that the plaintiff had courted litigation by his action.
Held: A judge assessing damages should be able see the . .
CitedCassell and Co Ltd v Broome and Another HL 23-Feb-1972
Exemplary Damages Award in Defamation
The plaintiff had been awarded damages for defamation. The defendants pleaded justification. Before the trial the plaintiff gave notice that he wanted additional, exemplary, damages. The trial judge said that such a claim had to have been pleaded. . .
CitedNorwich 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 by:
CitedTamiz v Google Inc Google UK Ltd QBD 2-Mar-2012
The claimant sought damages in defamation against the defendant company offering internet search facilities. The words complained of had been published in a blog, and in comments published on the blog.
Held: Jurisdiction should be declined. . .
Appeal fromSmith v ADVFN Plc and Others CA 30-Jul-2009
Application for leave to appeal . .
CitedTamiz v Google Inc CA 14-Feb-2013
The respondent hosted a blogs platform. One of its user’s blogs was said by the appellant to have been defamatory. On discovery the material had been removed quickly. The claimant now appealed against his claim being struck out. He argued as to: (1) . .
CitedTamiz v Google Inc CA 14-Feb-2013
The respondent hosted a blogs platform. One of its user’s blogs was said by the appellant to have been defamatory. On discovery the material had been removed quickly. The claimant now appealed against his claim being struck out. He argued as to: (1) . .

These lists may be incomplete.
Updated: 09 February 2021; Ref: scu.271110