Spencer v Sillitoe and Another: CA 22 Oct 2002

Appeal from a decision of Morland J, who granted the defendants summary judgment under Civil Procedure Rule 24(2)(a)(2), finding that the claimant, Mr Spencer, had no real prospect of succeeding on his claim.
Held: Buxton LJ said: ‘Bearing in mind the emphasis placed on the right to jury trial in section 69 [of the Senior Court Act 1981] and the analogy drawn by this court in Alexander with the criminal practice in Galbraith, the question in a case such as the present comes down to whether there is an issue of fact on which, on the evidence so far available, the jury could properly, without being perverse, come to a conclusion in favour of the claimant.
That question has to be answered against the background of the great respect that is paid to a jury’s assessment of witnesses after seeing and hearing them, and hearing them cross-examined. It is unlikely that a judge will be able to find that a witness will necessarily be disbelieved by a jury; or that for a jury to believe him would be perverse; when he has not actually heard that witness give evidence and be cross-examined: unless, of course, there is counter evidence that plainly demonstrates the falsity of the witness’s evidence, as opposed, in this case, to rendering it, in the judge’s view, implausible.’


Simon Brown VP CA, Buxton, Carnwath LJJ


[2002] EWCA Civ 1579, [2003] EMLR 207, [2003] EMLR 10




Civil Procedure Rules 24(2)(a)


England and Wales


See AlsoSpencer v Sillitoe and Another CA 20-May-2002
Application for leave to appeal – summary dismissal of claim of defamation – alleged remarks by co-worker to senior employee. Leave given
A litigant should not be deprived of a hearing merely because the case seems to a judge implausible on . .

Cited by:

CitedBray v Deutsche Bank Ag QBD 12-Jun-2008
A former employee of the defendant bank sued in defamation after the bank published a press release about its results which he said was critical of him.
Held: Where there is a real issue as to whether the words are defamatory of the claimant, . .
CitedAjinomoto Sweeteners Europe Sas v Asda Stores Ltd CA 2-Jun-2010
The claimant sold a sweetener ingredient. The defendant shop advertised its own health foods range with the label ‘no hidden nasties’ and in a situation which, the claimant said, suggested that its ingredient was a ‘nasty’, and it claimed under . .
CitedAli v Associated Newspapers Ltd QBD 27-Jan-2010
The claimant sought damages in defamation, saying that a combination of publications identified him.
Held: Eady J briefly discussed the effect of hyperlinks in the context of a dispute about meaning or reference in a defamation case. . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Civil Procedure Rules, Defamation

Updated: 01 July 2022; Ref: scu.227932