Stocker v Stocker: CA 12 Feb 2018

Defamation proceedings after divorce.
Sharp LJ said this about the use of dictionaries as a means of deciding the meaning to be given to a statement alleged to be defamatory: ‘The use of dictionaries does not form part of the process of determining the natural and ordinary meaning of words, because what matters is the impression conveyed by the words to the ordinary reader when they are read, and it is this that the judge must identify. As it happened however no harm was done in this case. The judge told counsel during the course of submissions that he had looked at the OED definitions and what they said, so the parties had the opportunity to address him about it; the judge, as he then said, merely used the dictionary definitions as a check, and no more; those definitions were in substance the rival ones contended for by the parties, and in the event, the judge’s ultimate reasoning, not dependent on dictionaries, was sound.’


McFarlane,Sharp DBE, LJJ Sir John Laws


[2018] EWCA Civ 170, [2018] 1 FCR 763, [2018] EMLR 15, [2019] 2 WLR 1033




England and Wales


See AlsoStocker v Stocker CA 24-Mar-2015
Application for leave to appeal . .
Appeal fromStocker v Stocker QBD 10-Jun-2015
The claimant alleged defamation by his former wife in a post on facebook. The posting and associatedeEmails were said falsely to have accused him of serious abuse, and that the accusations had undermined his relationship with his new partner.
See AlsoStocker v Stocker QBD 29-Jan-2016
Application on pre-trial review . .

Cited by:

Appeal fromStocker v Stocker SC 3-Apr-2019
The parties had been married and divorced. Mrs S told M S’s new partner on Facebook that he had tried to strangle her and made other allegations. Mrs S now appealed from a finding that she had defamed him. Lord Kerr restated the approach to meaning . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.


Updated: 29 January 2022; Ref: scu.605191