Clark and Another v Trip Advisor Llc: SCS 6 Feb 2014

(Outer House) The petitioners complained of reviews of their guest house business carried by the respondent web-site operators which were said to be defamatory. The petitioners sought an order from the court ordaining the respondents to disclose the names, addresses and other such information that they have as to the identity of those persons who posted the said reviews

[2014] ScotCS CSOH – 20, 2014 SLT 418, 2014 GWD 7-138
Bailii
Scotland

Defamation, Litigation Practice

Updated: 29 November 2021; Ref: scu.521143

Wegrzynowski And Smolczewski v Poland (Legal Summary): ECHR 16 Jul 2013

ECHR Article 8
Positive obligations
Courts’ refusal to order newspaper to remove article damaging applicant’s reputation from its Internet archive: no violation
Facts – The applicants are lawyers who won a libel case against two journalists working for the daily newspaper Rzeczpospolita following the publication of an article alleging that they had made a fortune by assisting politicians in shady business deals. Holding in particular that the journalists’ allegations were largely based on gossip and hearsay and that they had failed to take the minimum steps necessary to verify the information, the domestic courts ordered them and their editor-in-chief to pay a fine to a charity and to publish an apology. These obligations were complied with.
Subsequently, after discovering that the article remained accessible on the newspaper’s website, the applicants brought fresh proceedings for an order for its removal from the site. Their claim was dismissed on the grounds that ordering removal of the article would amount to censorship and the rewriting of history. The court indicated, however, that it would have given serious consideration to a request for a footnote or link informing readers of the judgments in the original libel proceedings to be added to the website article. That judgment was upheld on appeal.
Law – Article 8: The Court declared the first applicant’s application inadmissible, as being out of time. As regards the second applicant, it noted that during the first set of civil proceedings he had failed to make claims regarding the publication of the impugned article on the Internet. The domestic courts had therefore not been able to decide that matter. Their judgment, finding that the article was in breach of the applicants’ rights, had not created a legitimate expectation that the article would be removed from the newspaper’s website. The second applicant had not advanced any arguments to justify his failure to address the issue of the article’s presence online during the first set of proceedings, especially in view of the fact that the Internet archive of Rzeczpospolita was a widely known and frequently used resource both for Polish lawyers and the general public.
As to the second set of proceedings, the second applicant had been given the opportunity to have his claims examined by a court and had enjoyed full procedural guarantees. The Court accepted that it was not the role of judicial authorities to engage in rewriting history by ordering the removal from the public domain of all traces of publications which had in the past been found, by final judicial decisions, to amount to unjustified attacks on individual reputations. Furthermore, the legitimate interest of the public in access to public Internet archives of the press was protected under Article 10. It was significant that the domestic courts had pointed out that it would be desirable to add a comment to the article on the newspaper’s website informing the public of the outcome of the first set of proceedings. This demonstrated their awareness of how important publications on the Internet could be for the effective protection of individual rights and of the importance of making full information about judicial decisions concerning a contested article available on the newspaper’s website. The second applicant had not, however, the addition of a reference to the judgments in his favour.
Taking into account all those circumstances, the respondent State had complied with its obligation to strike a balance between the rights guaranteed under Article 10 and under Article 8.
Conclusion: no violation (unanimously).

33846/07 – Legal Summary, [2013] ECHR 779
Bailii
European Convention on Human Rights
Human Rights
Cited by:
Legal SummaryWegrzynowski And Smolczewski v Poland ECHR 16-Jul-2013
. .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Human Rights, Defamation, Media

Updated: 20 November 2021; Ref: scu.515144

Islam Expo Ltd v The Spectator (1828) Ltd and Another: QBD 30 Jul 2010

The claimant sought damages in defamation against the defendant in respect of its web-site. It said that the use of hyperlinks to third party sites was sufficient to identify the claimant and associate it with the allegations made.
Held: The words complained of were capable of being taken as references to the claimant. A reader clicking on the link given would be capable of making the connection between those referred to in the two articles.

Tugendhat J
[2010] EWHC 2011 (QB)
Bailii
England and Wales
Citing:
CitedHird v Wood CA 1894
A defamatory placard was placed at the side of the road. The defendant sat by it, pointing it out to passers by, but there was no direct evidence as to who had placed the placard there.
Held: This was evidence of his publishing it. . .
CitedJeynes v News Magazines Ltd and Another CA 31-Jan-2008
Whether Statement defamatory at common law
The claimant appealed against a striking out of her claim for defamation on finding that the words did not have the defamatory meaning complained of, namely that she was transgendered or transsexual.
Held: The appeal failed.
Sir Anthony . .
CitedCrookes v Wikimedia Foundation Inc 27-Oct-2008
(Supreme Court of British Columbia) The claimant sought damages in defamation from an article published by the defendant on the internet. The court was asked whether the contents of an article to which a hyper-link was provided should be taken into . .
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.

Defamation

Updated: 12 November 2021; Ref: scu.421262

Hedley v Barlow and Another: QBD 1865

Public Interest Discussion Can Excuse Defamation

The right of free discussion on a subject of public interest excuses the pubication of defamatory matter, provided it appears to have been published not in that unfair or improper spirit – that is in the spirit of intemperate and inconsiderate imputation, which implies malice in a legal sense – but in the spirit of fair discussion. And the right of free discussion extends to comments in a journal upon sworn evidence given on a subject of public interest, even to the extent of imputing that such evidence is unfounded, or even unfounded or careless, but if it is imputed, apparently without any fair foundation, that it is wilfully, ‘maliciously,’ or ‘recklessly’ false, then there is an excess, which is evidence of what the law deems malice, and which takes away the protection or excuse arising from the exercise of the right of free discussion.

Cockburn CJ
[1865] EngR 23, (1865) 4 F and F 225, (1865) 176 ER 541
Commonlii
England and Wales
Cited by:
CitedDee v Telegraph Media Group Ltd QBD 28-Apr-2010
The newspaper sought summary judgment in its defence of the defamation claim. The article labelled the claimant as the world’s worst professional tennis player. The paper said he had no prospect of succeeding once the second article in the same . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Defamation

Leading Case

Updated: 11 November 2021; Ref: scu.280935

Dhir v Saddler: QBD 6 Dec 2017

Slander damages reduced for conduct

Claim in slander. The defendant was said, at a church meeting to have accused the client of threatening to slit her throat. The defendant argued that the audience of 80 was not large enough.
Held: ‘the authorities demonstrate that it is the quality of the publishees not their quantity that is likely to determine the issue of serious harm in cases involving relatively small-scale publication. What matters is not the extent of publication, but to whom the words are published. A significant factor is likely to be whether the claimant is identified in the minds of the publishee(s) so that the allegation ‘sticks’.’
As to whether the conduct of the claimant could be used in eidence to reduce damages: ‘Turner does provide clear authority (in the passages underlined) for the admission, in mitigation of damages, of evidence of acts of misconduct of the claimant in the relevant sector of his reputation. There is an issue as to what evidence ‘properly’ before the Court can be relied upon. Keene LJ appears to limit the admissibility to evidence that was before the court on (failed) plea of justification or fair comment. With respect, I think the principle was wider than that. In Pamplin, Neill LJ stated the principle as applying to any evidence properly before the jury which could include evidence advanced in support of a justification or fair comment defence . .’

Nicklin J
[2017] EWHC 3155 (QB), [2017] WLR(D) 823, [2018] 4 WLR 1
Bailii, WLRD
Defamation Act 2013 81
England and Wales
Citing:
CitedScot And His Wife v Hilliar 1605
Action for slander for accusing the plaintiff’s wife that she would have cut her husband’s throat, and did attempt to do it.
Held: No action lay for the words, ‘she would have cut her husband’s throat’, but that an action was maintainable for . .
CitedColman v Godwin 4-May-1782
Words imputing a crime are actionable, although they describe it in vulgar language, and not in technical terms. . .
CitedWebb v Beavan 1883
There is an exception to the rule that a claimant in slander must have proof of special damage where words imputing to the claimant the commission of a criminal offence punishable by imprisonment are actionable per se. It was not necessar that the . .
CitedSlipper v British Broadcasting Corporation CA 1990
The plaintiff, a retired policeman was featured in a film about the Great Train Robbery. He sought to say that paper reviews of the film, and trailers worked to spread the libel, and should count in the assessment of damages against the defendant, . .
CitedMardas v New York Times Company and Another QBD 17-Dec-2008
The claimant sought damages in defamation. The US publisher defendants denied that there had been any sufficient publication in the UK and that the court did not have jurisdiction. The claimant appealed the strike out of the claims.
Held: The . .
CitedSloutsker v Romanova QBD 5-Mar-2015
The claimant sued for libel in respect of the publication in this jurisdiction of allegations of fabricating evidence, conspiracy to murder, and the bribery and corruption of the prosecutor and judges in criminal proceedings. The defendant now . .
CitedLachaux v Independent Print Ltd (1) CA 12-Sep-2017
Defamation – presumption of damage after 2013 Act
The claimant said that the defendant had published defamatory statements which were part of a campaign of defamation brought by his former wife. The court now considered the requirement for substantiality in the 2013 Act.
Held: The defendant’s . .
CitedAlsaifi v Trinity Mirror Plc and Board of Directors and Another QBD 17-Nov-2017
Nicklin J noted that: ‘In mass media cases (where it is unlikely that the readers can be identified) it is almost impossible to advance evidence that publishees did not believe the allegation made against the claimant.’ . .
CitedGoldsmith v Sperrings Ltd CA 1977
Claims for Collateral Purpose treated as abuse
The plaintiff commenced proceedings for damages for libel and an injunction against the publishers, the editors and the main distributors of Private Eye. In addition, he issued writs against a large number of other wholesale and retail distributors . .
CitedWhitehouse v Lemon; Whitehouse v Gay News Ltd HL 21-Feb-1979
The appellants challenged their conviction for blasphemous libel. They had published a poem which described homosexual acts carried out on the body of Christ after his death.
Held: For a conviction, it was necessary to show that the defendant . .
CitedTurner v News Group Newspapers Ltd and Another CA 16-May-2006
Application to determine compensation for admitted defamation.
Keene LJ considered both Pamplin and Burstein as bases for reliance upon other ‘misconduct’ of a claimant to reduce damages: ‘it needs to be borne in mind that the principle of . .
CitedMultigroup Bulgaria Holding AD v Oxford Analytica Ltd 2001
An article defaming an identifiable individual would give rise to a cause of action even where no one reading the article had prior knowledge of the victim. It could not seriously be suggested that ‘under English law an individual human being has to . .
CitedTurcu v News Group Newspapers Ltd QBD 4-May-2005
Chilling effect of defamation costs structures
Eady J said: ‘The claimant in these proceedings is seeking damages against News Group Newspapers Ltd, as publishers of The News of the World, in respect of articles appearing in the editions of that newspaper dated 3 November 2002 . . He issued his . .
CitedHaji-Ioannou v Dixon, Regus Group Plc and Another QBD 6-Feb-2009
The defendants sought to strike out the defamation claim on the basis that it was an abuse of process. It was brought by the founder of Easyjet against senior officers of a company in a new venture. The claimant had alleged misuse of confidential . .
CitedBode v Mundell QBD 19-Oct-2016
The court considered issues about the application of the rules on pleading and proof of publication in defamation, the serious harm requirement in s 1(1) of the Defamation Act 2013, and the abuse of process doctrine in Jameel (Yousef) v Dow Jones . .
CitedScott v Sampson QBD 1882
The court explained why evidence of particular acts of misconduct on the part of the Plaintiff tending to show his character and disposition should be excluded, saying ‘Both principle and authority seems equally against its admission. It would give . .
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. . .
CitedRantzen v Mirror Group Newspapers (1986) Ltd and Others CA 1-Apr-1993
Four articles in the People all covered the same story about Esther Rantzen’s organisation, Childline, suggesting that the plaintiff had protected a teacher who had revealed to Childline abuses of children occurring at a school where he taught, by . .
CitedJohn v MGN Ltd CA 12-Dec-1995
Defamation – Large Damages Awards
MGN appealed as to the level of damages awarded against it namely pounds 350,000 damages, comprising pounds 75,000 compensatory damages and pounds 275,000 exemplary damages. The newspaper contended that as a matter of principle there is no scope in . .
CitedBurstein v Times Newspapers Ltd CA 20-Dec-2000
Where a defendant in a defamation action sought to reduce the damages payable by arguing that the claimant had a reduced or damaged reputation, he could include evidence about particular facts only where these were directly connected to the . .
CitedChamptaloup v Thomas 1977
New South Wales – an election to terminate must generally occur within a reasonable time of the discovery of the circumstances giving rise to the right. If the lessee of a flat, on learning of the lessor’s breach, communicated to the lessor that he . .
CitedComalco Ltd v Australian Broadcasting Corporation 1983
(Supreme Court of the Australian Capital Territory) Hansard was admissible to show what had been said in the Queensland Parliament as a matter of fact, without the need for the consent of Parliament. Blackburn CJ added: ‘I think that the way in . .
CitedRajski v Bainton 1990
New South Wales – in respect of a party or a witness, a charge of misconduct should be made only where the party making it satisfies himself that there are grounds for making it. Fraud must be pleaded specifically and with particularity. If a person . .
CitedBroxton v McClelland CA 31-Jan-1995
The defendants issued various applications to strike out the claim, including a claim of abuse of process. The action was being financially maintained by a third party. The defendants contended that the maintainer’s purpose was to oppress and . .
CitedMultigroup Bulgaria Holding AD v Oxford Analytica Ltd 2001
An article defaming an identifiable individual would give rise to a cause of action even where no one reading the article had prior knowledge of the victim. It could not seriously be suggested that ‘under English law an individual human being has to . .
CitedCleese v Clark and Another QBD 6-Feb-2003
Assessment of damages after offer of amends.
Held: the Court’s award of damages serves as ‘an outward and visible sign of vindication’ . .
CitedCairns v Modi CA 31-Oct-2012
Three appeals against the levels of damages awards were heard together, and the court considered the principles to be applied.
Held: In assessing compensation following a libel, the essential question was how much loss and damage did the . .
CitedChalmers v Shackell And Others 4-Jul-1834
In an action for libel, to support a plea of justification stating that the plaintiff had forged and uttered, knowing it to be forged, a certain bill of exchange, to justify a verdict for the defendant, the same evidence must be given as would be . .
CitedTurner v News Group Newspapers Ltd and Another CA 16-May-2006
Application to determine compensation for admitted defamation.
Keene LJ considered both Pamplin and Burstein as bases for reliance upon other ‘misconduct’ of a claimant to reduce damages: ‘it needs to be borne in mind that the principle of . .
CitedPamplin v Express Newspapers Ltd (2) CA 1988
In considering what evidence can be used in mitigation of damages in defamation, it is necessary to draw a distinction between evidence which is put forward to show that the plaintiff is a man of bad reputation and evidence which is already before . .
CitedJones v Pollard, Mirror Group Newspapers Limited and Bailey CA 12-Dec-1996
Articles in consecutive issues of The Sunday Mirror accused the plaintiff of pimping for the KGB, organising sex with prostitutes for visiting British businessmen and then blackmailing them. The defendants pleaded justification. The plaintiff . .
CitedCalvert and Others v Cruddas CA 16-Apr-2014
Renewed application for leave to appeal against damages award in defamation and malicious falsehood. The defendant newspaper had published critical articles, derived from recordings made by undercover reporters, and pleaded justification.
CitedCruddas v Calvert and Others CA 17-Mar-2015
. .
CitedBarron and Another v Vines QBD 2-Jun-2016
The court assessed damages having found that the claimant Labour MPs had been defamed by the defendant UKIP local politician. The defamations related to the alleged failures to control substantial child sex abuse in Rotherham.
Held: The . .
CitedWoodward v Grice QBD 7-Jun-2017
King J awarded pounds 18,000 (pounds 8,000 of which were aggravated damages) for a website publication ‘read by at most 100s of people rather than 1000s’ making a false allegation against a solicitor that he had been struck off. There was no plea of . .

Cited by:
CitedTurley v Unite The Union and Another QBD 19-Dec-2019
Defamation of Labour MP by Unite and Blogger
The claimant now a former MP had alleged that a posting on a website supported by the first defendant was false and defamatory. The posting suggested that the claimant had acted dishonestly in applying online for a category of membership of the . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Defamation, Damages

Updated: 11 November 2021; Ref: scu.601119

The Capital and Counties Bank Limited v George Henty and Sons: HL 1882

The defendant wrote to their customers saying ‘Henty and Sons hereby give notice that they will not receive in payment cheques drawn on any of the branches of the Capital and Counties Bank.’ The contents of the circular became known and there was a run on the bank. The bank claimed they had been defamed.
Held: The plaintiff’s appeal failed. In their natural meaning the words were not capable in law of being defamatory. Lord Selborne LC said: ‘The test, according to the authorities, is, whether under the circumstances in which the writing was published, reasonable men, to whom the publication was made, would be likely to understand it in a libellous sense.’
It was held that there was no case to go to the jury. Lord Blackburn said: ‘1. The plaintiffs are bankers, and the defendants are brewers. 2. The defendants falsely and maliciously wrote and published of the plaintiffs the letter following: ‘Messrs. Henty and Sons hereby give notice that they will not receive in payment cheques drawn on any of the branches of the Capital and Counties Bank (late the Hampshire and North Wilts). Westgate, Chichester, 2nd December, 1878.’ Meaning thereby that the plaintiffs were not to be relied upon to meet the cheques drawn on them, and that their position was such that they were not to be trusted to cash the cheques of their customers.’ and
‘In construing the words to see whether they are a libel, the Court is, where nothing is alleged to give them an extended sense, to put that meaning on them which the words would be understood by ordinary persons to bear, and say whether the words so understood are calculated to convey an injurious imputation. The question is not whether the defendant intended to convey that imputation; for if he, without excuse or justification, did what he knew or ought to have known was calculated to injure the plaintiff, he must (at least civilly) be responsible for the consequences, though his object might have been to injure another person than the plaintiff, or though he may have written in levity only. As was said in the opinion of the judges delivered in the House of Lords during the discussion of Fox’s Bill, I think quite justly, no one can cast about firebrands and death, and then escape from being responsible by saying he was in sport. ‘ Applying the principle to the facts: ‘There can be no doubt that the defendants were not required to take cheques drawn on this bank . . and had a right to refuse to do so. No reason was needed to justify such a refusal . . there are so many reasons why a person may refuse to take on account the cheques drawn on a particular bank, that . . the Court could not say that the letter, which in terms goes no further than merely to state the fact, was libellous, as tending to impute a doubt of the credit of the bank. No doubt some people might guess that the refusal was on that ground, but . . it is unreasonable that when there are a number of good interpretations, the only bad one should be seized upon to give a defamatory sense to the document. I do not think it libellous by itself to state the fact.’

Lord Selborne LC, Lord Blackburn
(1882) 7 App Cas 741
England and Wales
Cited by:
CitedRussell v Stubbs Limited HL 1913
The plaintiff said that the defendants, publishers of a trade magazine providing inter alia credit references, had slandered it. The defendants appealed against an order requiring it to provide details of others to whom the slander had been . .
CitedMccann v Scottish Media Newspapers Ltd SCS 18-Feb-1999
Three articles which appeared in one edition of a newspaper had to be read together and treated as ‘constituting a whole’ for the purposes of determining meaning, where the first ended with a cross-reference to the second, and the second ended with . .
CitedAjinomoto Sweeteners Europe Sas v Asda Stores Ltd QBD 15-Jul-2009
ajinomoto_asdaQBD2009
The claimant said that the defendant’s characterisation of its own products as ‘Good for You’ by reference to a description saying that it did not include the claimant’s product as a component, was a malicious falsehood. The defendant sold other . .
CitedBerkoff v Burchill and and Times Newspapers Limited CA 31-Jul-1996
The plaintiff actor said that an article by the defendant labelling him ugly was defamatory. The defendant denied that the words were defamatory.
Held: It is for the jury to decide in what context the words complained of were used and whether . .
CitedRhodes v OPO and Another SC 20-May-2015
The mother sought to prevent a father from publishing a book about her child’s life. It was to contain passages she said may cause psychological harm to the 12 year old son. Mother and son lived in the USA and the family court here had no . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Defamation

Leading Case

Updated: 10 November 2021; Ref: scu.236346

Makudi v Baron Triesman of Tottenham In London Borough of Haringey: QBD 1 Feb 2013

makudi_triesmanQBD2013

The claimant, former chairman of the Thailand Football Association, claimed in defamation against the defendant who had been chairman of the English Football Association. The defendant asked the court to strike out the claim, saying that some of the claims were based on privileged evidence given to a parliamentary committee, and associated publications, and the remainder had so restricted a distribution as to make the action an abuse.
Held: The action should be struck out. The occasions of the four publications complained of were all plainly occasions of qualified privilege, and there was no case in malice that could be left to a jury. It was not possible to separate out the defendant’s state of mind when making the publications complained of and his evidence to Parliament.

Tugendhat J
[2013] EWHC 142 (QB)
Bailii
Bill of Rights 1689 9
Citing:
CitedGrainger v Hill CEC 1838
Misuse of Power for ulterior object
D1 and D2 lent C 80 pounds repayable in 1837, secured by a mortgage on C’s vessel. C was to be free to continue to use the vessel in the interim but the law forbade its use if he were to cease to hold its register. In 1836 the Ds became concerned . .
CitedByrne v Deane CA 1937
A notice had been displayed on a golf club notice board. The court considered whether this constituted publication for defamation purposes.
Held: Greene LJ said: ‘Now on the substantial question of publication, publication, of course, is a . .
CitedHorrocks v Lowe HL 1974
The plaintiff complained of an alleged slander spoken at a meeting of the Town Council. The council meeting was an occasion attracting qualified privilege. The judge at trial found that the councillor honestly believed that what he had said in the . .
CitedBroxton v McClelland and Another CA 27-Nov-1996
The judge may disclose to the jury the purpose of a non-party’s involvement as a backer of a party if it is relevant to the case.
Simon Brown LJ said as to an allegation that the claim was an abuse of process: ‘The cases appear to suggest two . .
CitedHamilton v Al Fayed HL 23-Mar-2000
The claimant MP sued the defendant in defamation after he had alleged that the MP had corruptly solicited and received payments and benefits in kind as a reward for parliamentary services rendered.
Held: Parliament has protected by privilege . .
CitedMcLean and Another v Buchanan, Procurator Fiscal and Another PC 24-May-2001
(Appeal from High Court of Justiciary (Scotland)) It was not an infringement of a defendant’s right to a fair trial where the costs of defending the case brought against him would be substantial, but where his solicitors would be paid only a small . .
CitedChase v Newsgroup Newspapers Ltd CA 3-Dec-2002
The defendant appealed against a striking out of part of its defence to the claim of defamation, pleading justification.
Held: The Human Rights Convention had not itself changed the conditions for a plea of justification based upon reasonable . .
CitedJennings v Buchanan PC 14-Jul-2004
(New Zealand) (Attorney General of New Zealand intervening) The defendant MP had made a statement in Parliament which attracted parliamentary privilege. In a subsequent newspaper interview, he said ‘he did not resile from his claim’. He defended the . .
CitedDow Jones and Co Inc v Jameel CA 3-Feb-2005
Presumption of Damage in Defamation is rebuttable
The defendant complained that the presumption in English law that the victim of a libel had suffered damage was incompatible with his right to a fair trial. They said the statements complained of were repetitions of statements made by US . .
CitedChurch of Scientology of California v Johnson-Smith QBD 1971
The plaintiff church sued the defendant, a Member of Parliament, for remarks made by the defendant in a television programme. He pleaded fair comment and the plaintiff replied with a plea of malice, relying on statements made in Parliament. The . .
CitedJeynes v News Magazines Ltd and Another CA 31-Jan-2008
Whether Statement defamatory at common law
The claimant appealed against a striking out of her claim for defamation on finding that the words did not have the defamatory meaning complained of, namely that she was transgendered or transsexual.
Held: The appeal failed.
Sir Anthony . .
CitedFairclough Homes Ltd v Summers SC 27-Jun-2012
The respondent had made a personal injury claim, but had then been discovered to have wildly and dishonestly exaggerated the damages claim. The defendant argued that the court should hand down some condign form of punishment, and appealed against . .

Cited by:
Appeal fromMakudi v Baron Triesman of Tottenham CA 26-Feb-2014
Appeal against strike out of claims for defamation and malicious falsehood. The defendant had given evidence to the Culture Media and Sport Select Committee of the House of Commons with material highly critical of the claimant, a member of FIFA’s . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Defamation, Constitutional

Updated: 10 November 2021; Ref: scu.470710

Bonnard v Perryman: CA 2 Jan 1891

Although the courts possessed a jurisdiction, ‘in all but exceptional cases’, they should not issue an interlocutory injunction to restrain the publication of a libel which the defence sought to justify except where it was clear that that defence would fail. Where the defendant contends that the words complained of are true and swears that he will plead and seek to prove the defence of justification, the court should not grant an interlocutory injunction unless, exceptionally, it is satisfied that the defence is one which cannot succeed. The plaintiff must demonstrate that ‘it is clear that (the) alleged libel is untrue.’
Lord Coleridge CJ said that there was a particular need not to restrict the right of free speech in libel cases by interfering before the final determination of the matter by a jury otherwise than in a clear case of an untrue libel, saying: ‘But it is obvious that the subject-matter of an action for defamation is so special as to require exceptional caution in exercising the jurisdiction to interfere by injunction before the trial of an action to prevent an anticipated wrong. The right of free speech is one which it is for the public interest that individuals should possess, and, indeed, that they should exercise without impediment, so long as no wrongful act is done; and, unless an alleged libel is untrue, there is no wrong committed; but, on the contrary, often a very wholesome act is performed in the publication and repetition of an alleged libel. Until it is clear that an alleged libel is untrue, it is not clear that any right at all has been infringed; and the importance of leaving free speech unfettered is a strong reason in cases of libel for dealing most cautiously and warily with the granting of interim injunctions.
In the particular case before us, indeed, the libellous character of the publication is beyond dispute, but the effect of it upon the Defendant can be finally disposed of only by a jury, and we cannot feel sure that the defence of justification is one which, on the facts which may be before them, the jury may find to be wholly unfounded; nor can we tell what may be the damages recoverable.’

Lord Coleridge CJ, Lord Esher MR, Lindley, Bowen and Lopes LJJ
[1891] 2 Ch 269
England and Wales
Citing:
Appeal fromBonnard v Perryman QBD 1891
The libel in issue was a very damaging one. Unless it could be justified at the trial it was one in which a jury would give the plaintiff ‘very serious damages’. The court was asked to grant an interlocutory injunction to restrain publication.
ApprovedWilliam Coulson and Sons v James Coulson and Co CA 1887
Lord Esher MR said: ‘It could not be denied that the court had jurisdiction to grant an interim injunction before trial. It was, however, a most delicate jurisdiction to exercise, because, though Fox’s Act only applied to indictments and . .

Cited by:
CitedCream Holdings Limited and others v Banerjee and The Liverpool Daily Post and Echo Limited CA 13-Feb-2003
The defendants considered publication of alleged financial irregularities by the claimant, who sought to restrain publication. The defendants argued that under the Act, prior restraint should not be used unless a later court would be likely to . .
CitedHubbard v Pitt CA 1976
Protesters handed out leaflets and carried posters outside the plaintiff’s estate agency. He claimed in trespass over the public footpath outside his premises. The defendants appealed the grant of an interlocutory injunction to prevent their . .
CitedTillery Valley Foods v Channel Four Television, Shine Limited ChD 18-May-2004
The claimant sought an injunction to restrain the defendants broadcasting a film, claiming that it contained confidential material. A journalist working undercover sought to reveal what he said were unhealthy practices in the claimant’s meat . .
CitedService Corporation International plc v Channel Four Television ChD 1999
The court considered an application for an interlocutory injunction to restrain a broadcast, based on copyright. The defendant argued that this was merely an attempt to circumvent difficulties in a defamation action.
Held: Where an interim . .
CitedGreene v Associated Newspapers Ltd CA 5-Nov-2004
The claimant appealed against refusal of an order restraining publication by the respondent of an article about her. She said that it was based upon an email falsely attributed to her.
Held: ‘in an action for defamation a court will not impose . .
CitedFraser v Evans CA 1969
The law of confidence is based on the moral principles of loyalty and fair dealing. An injunction was sought to restrain an intended publication: ‘The court will not restrain the publication of an article, even though it is defamatory, when the . .
RestatedHerbage v Pressdram Ltd CA 1984
There was a publication of articles which referred to convictions which were spent under the 1974 Act. The court restated the principle in Bonnard v Perryman: ‘These principles have evolved because of the value the court has placed on freedom of . .
CitedKhashoggi v IPC Magazines Ltd CA 1986
The plaintiff sought to restrain the publication of an article. The defendants asserted that they would justify what they said at trial by reference to a Polly Peck defence, as to which: ‘I cannot see why the Bonnard v Perryman principle should not . .
CitedHerbage v Times Newspapers Ltd CA 30-Apr-1981
The principles in American Cyanamid did not affect the rule in Bonnard v Perryman. Sir Denys Buckley saiod: ‘the question what meaning the words complained of bore was primarily one for the jury. Suppose the words bore the second meaning alleged and . .
CitedHolley, SD and R Trading Limited, Henry Ansbacher and Co Limited, Ansbacher (Jersey) Limited v Smith CA 4-Dec-1997
The motive for a threatened publication, was not relevant, when considering whether to restrain publication beforehand. Sir Christopher Slade said: ‘I accept that the court may be left with a residual discretion to decline to apply the rule in . .
CitedLord Browne of Madingley v Associated Newspapers Ltd CA 3-Apr-2007
The appellant sought to restrict publication by the defendants in the Mail on Sunday of matters which he said were a breach of confidence. He had lied to a court in giving evidence, whilst at the same time being ready to trash the reputation of his . .
CitedBoehringer Ingelheim Ltd and others v Vetplus Ltd CA 20-Jun-2007
The claimants appealed refusal of an order restricting comparative advertising materials for the defendant’s competing veterinary medicine. The claimant said that the rule against prior restraint applicable to defamation and other tort proceedings . .
CitedBestobell v Bigg 1975
The rule in Bonnard preventing prior restraint in defamation proceedings applies also in the context of an allegation of malicious falsehood. . .
CitedGulf Oil (Great Britain) Limited v Page CA 1987
The plaintiff had contracted exclusively to supply to the defendants owners of petrol stations. On arrears arising, the plaintiff discontinued deliveries save on cash on delivery and direct debit terms. The defendants obtained supplies from another . .
CitedRST v UVW QBD 11-Sep-2009
The applicant sought an interim and without notice injunction preventing the defendant from disclosing confidential information covered by an agreement between the parties.
Held: The order was made on a without notice application because there . .
CitedCaborn-Waterfield v Gold and Others QBD 11-Mar-2013
The defendants requested a preliminary ruling that the words complained of in the claimant’s action were not capable of bearing a defamatory meaning.
Held: Some of the pleaded meanings were not supported, but others were clearly defamatory, . .
CitedVaughan v London Borough of Lewisham and Others QBD 11-Apr-2013
The claimant sought an order to restrain anticipated defamatory comments and evidence to be given to an employment tribunal.
Held: It could not be said as the claimant asserted that dfeences were bound to fail, and no determination should be . .
CitedHannon and Another v News Group Newspapers Ltd and Another ChD 16-May-2014
The claimants alleged infringement of their privacy, saying that the defendant newspaper had purchased private information from police officers emplyed by the second defendant, and published them. The defendants now applied for the claims to be . .
CitedHeythrop Zoological Gardens Ltd (T/A Amazing Animals) and Another v Captive Animals Protection Society ChD 20-May-2016
The claimant said that the defendant had, through its members visiting their premises, breached the licence under which they entered, by taking photographs and distributing them on the internet, and in so doing also infringing the performance rights . .
CitedRoberts and Others v Regina CACD 6-Dec-2018
Sentencing of Political Protesters
The defendants appealed against sentences for causing a public nuisance. They had been protesting against fracking by climbing aboard a lorry and blocking a main road for several days.
Held: The appeals from immediate custodial sentences were . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Defamation, Litigation Practice

Leading Case

Updated: 10 November 2021; Ref: scu.182936

Kearns and Others v The General Council of the Bar: CA 17 Mar 2003

The claimants had sought to recover from the General Council of the Bar damages for libel in a communication from the head of the Bar Council’s Professional Standards and Legal Services Department to all heads of chambers, their senior clerks and practice managers to the effect that the claimants were not solicitors and were thus not entitled to instruct counsel with the result that it would be improper for members of the Bar to accept work from them. The letter was clearly noth libellous and untrue, but also not malicious. The court was asked when is verification a relevant circumstance in determining whether or not a defamatory communication is protected by qualified privilege?
Held: On the defence of qualified privilege: ‘The argument, as it seems to me, has been much bedevilled by the use of the terms ‘common interest’ and ‘duty-interest’ for all the world as if these are clear-cut categories and any particular case is instantly recognisable as falling within one or other of them. It also seems to me surprising and unsatisfactory that privilege should be thought to attach more readily to communications made in the service of one’s own interests than in the discharge of a duty – as at first blush this distinction would suggest. To my mind an altogether more helpful categorisation is to be found by distinguishing between on the one hand cases where the communicator and the communicatee are in an existing and established relationship (irrespective of whether within that relationship the communications between them relate to reciprocal interests or reciprocal duties or a mixture of both) and on the other hand cases where no such relationship has been established and the communication is between strangers (or at any rate is volunteered otherwise than by reference to their relationship . . Once the distinction is made in this way, moreover, it becomes to my mind understandable that the law should attach privilege more readily to communications within an existing relationship than to those between strangers. The latter present particular problems.’

Mr Justice Keene Lord Justice Mantell Lord Justice Simon Brown
[2003] EWCA Civ 331, [2003] 1 WLR 1357
Bailii
England and Wales
Cited by:
CitedDowntex v Flatley CA 2-Oct-2003
The claimants sought damages for defamation and breach of contract. The claimants had purchased a business from the defendant, which contract included a clause requiring the defendant to say nothing damaging about the business. The defendant . .
CitedHowe and Co v Burden QBD 11-Feb-2004
Defence of consent – no strike out. The precise ambit of the defence of consent in a defamation case is best established at trial on the basis of the tribunal’s findings of fact. . .
CitedMeade v Pugh and Another QBD 5-Mar-2004
The claimant was a social work student. He attended a work experience placement, and challenged the report given by the defendants on that placement, saying it was discriminatory and defamatory. He appealed a strike out of his claim.
Held: The . .
CitedSeray-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 . .
CitedClift v Slough Borough Council and Another QBD 6-Jul-2009
clift_sloughQBD09
The claimant sought damages for defamation. The council had decided that she had threatened a member of staff and notified various people, and entered her name on a violent persons register. She alleged malice, the council pleaded justification and . .
CitedLewis v Commissioner of Police of The Metropolis and Others (Rev 1) QBD 31-Mar-2011
lewis_cpmQBD11
The defendant sought a ruling on the meaning of the words but using section 69(4) of the 1981 Act. The claimant solicitor was acting in complaints as to the unlawful interception of celebrity voicemails by agents of the press. There had been debate . .
CitedW v Westminster City Council and Others QBD 9-Dec-2004
The claimant sought to bring an action for defamation based upon communications made in a child protection conference. The reference was in a Report for Conference to be held pursuant to the duties imposed on local authorities by the Children Act . .
CitedClift v Slough Borough Council CA 21-Dec-2010
The court was asked how, if at all, the Human Rights Act 1998 has affected a local authority’s defence of qualified privilege in defamation cases. The claimant had been placed on the Council’s Violent Persons Register after becoming very upset and . .
CitedWood v Chief Constable West Midlands Police CA 8-Dec-2004
The claimant was a director of a limited company. A Detective Chief Inspector with responsibility for crime prevention was investigating a series of car thefts and arrested the claimant’s business partner and, before the accused had even stood his . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Legal Professions, Defamation

Leading Case

Updated: 10 November 2021; Ref: scu.179914

Chalmers v Payne: 1835

Bane and Antidote Doctrine – Take them as One

The court considered the bane and antidote doctrine in defamation. B Alderson said: ‘But the question here is, whether the matter be slanderous or not, which is a question of the Jury; who are to take the whole together and say whether the result of the whole is calculated to injure Plaintiffs character. In one part of this publication something disreputable to the Plaintiff is stated but that is removed by the conclusion: the bane and the antidote must be taken together.’

B Alderson
[1835] 2 Cr MandR 156, [1835] EngR 38, (1835) 2 CrM and R 156, (1835) 150 ER 67
Commonlii
England and Wales
Cited by:
CitedCharman v Orion Publishing Group Ltd and others QBD 14-Oct-2005
The court decided the issue of what meaning the words complained of would have been understood to bear. The ordinary reader of an article may well not think in legalistic terms such as ‘strong grounds to suspect’ or ‘reasonable grounds to suspect’ . .
CitedCharleston and Another v News Group Newspapers Ltd and Another HL 31-Mar-1995
The plaintiffs were actors playing Harold and Madge Bishop in the Australian soap series ‘Neighbours’. They sued on a tabloid newspaper article which showed their faces superimposed on the near-naked bodies of models apparently engaged in sexual . .
CitedCuristan v Times Newspapers Ltd CA 30-Apr-2008
The court considered the availability of qualified privilege for reporting of statements made in parliament and the actionable meaning of the article, which comprised in part those statements and in part other factual material representing the . .
CitedStern v Piper and Others CA 21-May-1996
The defendant newspaper said that allegations had been made against the plaintiff that he was not paying his debts. In their defence they pleaded justification and the fact that he was being sued for debt.
Held: A defamation was not to be . .
CitedDee v Telegraph Media Group Ltd QBD 28-Apr-2010
The newspaper sought summary judgment in its defence of the defamation claim. The article labelled the claimant as the world’s worst professional tennis player. The paper said he had no prospect of succeeding once the second article in the same . .
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 . .
CitedCaplin v Associated Newspapers Ltd QBD 20-Jun-2011
The defendant sought clarification through the court as to the meanings inherent in the words complained of.
Held: The application failed. ‘I do not consider the ordinary reasonable reader would be perverse to conclude that the suspicions . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Defamation

Leading Case

Updated: 09 November 2021; Ref: scu.199770

Stratton Oakmont Inc v Prodigy Services Co: 1995

(New York) The defendant computer network company held itself out as having editorial control over notes posted on its bulletin board, imposed content guidelines on its users by prescreening notes for offensive language, and permitted board leaders to delete notes that did not meet guideline requirements.
Held: It was liable to be sued as ‘publisher’ of defamatory statements posted on its bulletin board. Ain J said: ‘A computerised database is the functional equivalent of a more traditional news vendor, and the inconsistent application of a lower standard of liability to an electronic news distributor such as CompuServe than that which is applied to a public library, book store, or newstand would impose an undue burden on the free flow of information.’ and ‘That such control is not complete and is enforced both as early as the notes arrive and as late as a complaint is made, does not minimise or eviscerate the simple fact that PRODIGY has uniquely arrogated to itself the role of determining what is proper for its members to post and read on its bulletin boards. Based on the foregoing, this Court is compelled to conclude that for the purposes of plaintiffs’ claims in this action, PRODIGY is a publisher rather than a distributor’

Ain J
(1995) 23 Media L Rep 1794, (1995) 63 US Law Week 2765, [1995] NY Misc Lexis 229
United States
Citing:
CitedCubby Inc v CompuServe Inc 1991
(United States) Leisure DJ said: ‘CompuServe develops and provides computer-related products and services, including CompuServe Information Service (‘CIS’), an on-line general information service or ‘electronic library’ that subscribers may access . .

Cited by:
CitedBunt v Tilley and others QBD 10-Mar-2006
bunt_tilleyQBD2006
The claimant sought damages in defamation in respect of statements made on internet bulletin boards. He pursued the operators of the bulletin boards, and the court now considered the liability of the Internet Service Providers whose systems had . .
CitedGodfrey v Demon Internet Limited QBD 26-Mar-1999
An Internet Service Provider who was re-distributing Usenet postings it had received, to its users in general, remained a publisher at common law, even though he was not such within the definitions of the Act, and it was therefore liable in . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Defamation

Leading Case

Updated: 09 November 2021; Ref: scu.277104

Wright v Caan: QBD 27 Jul 2011

The claimant sought damages in defamation and malicious falsehood and in respect of a conversation with a journalist and the defendant’s website. The defendant had made offers of support to her business venture in a television program. After she withdrew, the defendant made the comments of which the claimant now complained to a journalist reporting her story, and on his website.
Held: The fact that the defendant’s version of events differed from her own to the extent that both could not be true, the assertion by the defendant did not amount to an accusation against her of having lied, and could not carry the meaning pleaded whether naturally or by innuendo: ‘when a journalist is given one account of events by witness A, and then receives another account from witness B, she could conclude that A is lying. I suppose that she could reach that conclusion, and indeed it is Mr Munden’s case that she did, but there are many other conclusions which she could reach – for example, that both witnesses had given what they believed was an honest account, although one or other of them must have been mistaken to a degree, or even that it was the defendant who was lying.’
An essential element of a claim for malicious falsehood is that the claimant asserts damage suffered. That was not pleaded here.
Applications for leave to amend should not be allowed where even with the amendment there was no prospect of success.
As to the website claims, the defamation elements were incorrectly pleaded, amendments were refused and the claim struck out.
The claimant also alleged defamation on the defendant’s web-site.

Richard Parkes QC J
[2011] EWHC 1978 (QB)
Bailii
Defamation Act 1952 3(1)
England and Wales
Citing:
CitedSpring v Guardian Assurance Plc and Others CA 1993
The test for malice is the same whether it arises in the context of libel or of injurious falsehood. Glidewell LJ said that ‘Maliciously’ in this context means either knowing that the words were false or being reckless as to whether they were false . .
CitedWilts United Dairies Ltd v Thomas Robinson Sons and Co QBD 1957
Stable J, noted that the case concerned a sweetened condensed milk very similar to the product that his Honour remembered consuming in large quantities at preparatory school, and said: ‘As I understand the law it is this, that if you publish a . .
CitedGillick v Brook Advisory Centres QBD 2002
The claimant asserted that the defendant had defamed her in a leaflet. The defendant asked the court to determine that the pamphlet did not carry a defamatory meaning.
Held: Eady J formulated the principles applicable when determining meaning: . .
CitedGillick v Brook Advisory Centres and Another CA 23-Jul-2001
The claimant appealed after closing her action for an alleged defamation by the respondents in a leaflet published by them. She challenged an interim decision by the judge as to the meaning of the words complained of.
Held: The leaflet made . .
CitedDow Jones and Co Inc v Jameel CA 3-Feb-2005
Presumption of Damage in Defamation is rebuttable
The defendant complained that the presumption in English law that the victim of a libel had suffered damage was incompatible with his right to a fair trial. They said the statements complained of were repetitions of statements made by US . .
CitedCobbold v London Borough of Greenwich CA 9-Aug-1999
The tenant had sought an order against the council landlord for failure to repair her dwelling. The defendant appealed refusal of leave to amend the pleadings in anticipation of the trial, now due to start on the following day.
Held: Leave was . .
CitedSimons Proprietary Ltd v Riddle 1941
(New Zealand) Blair J said: ‘On the authorities – see Cassidy v. Daily Mirror Newspapers 1929] 2KB 331 and Tolley v. JS Fry and Sons Ltd. [1930] 1 KB 467 – innocent matter may be given a defamatory meaning by readers with knowledge of facts not . .
CitedFulham (orse Fullam) v Newcastle Chronicle and Journal Ltd and Another CA 1977
A local newspaper circulating in Teesside, where the claimant had been appointed deputy headmaster of a school, published an article in 1973 saying of the claimant that he was a former Roman Catholic priest who had left his parish in the Salford . .
CitedGrappelli v Derek Block (Holdings) Ltd CA 20-Jan-1981
Stephane Grappelli, an renowned musician, employed the defendants to promote him. They purported to arrange various concerts, but did so without his authority. When they were cancelled, they told the venue owners that they were cancelled because the . .
CitedBaturina v Times Newspapers Ltd QBD 31-Mar-2010
The claimant sought damages in defamation in respect of an article published by the defendant newspaper. She was the wife of the Mayor of Moscow, and was required to disclose on a public list assets held by her. The defendant said that she owned a . .
CitedBaturina v Times Newspapers Ltd CA 23-Mar-2011
The claimant appealed against directions given in her defamation action against the defendant. It had been said that she owned a house, and the defendant said that this was not defamatory. The claimant said that as the wife of the Mayor of Moscow . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Defamation, Torts – Other

Updated: 09 November 2021; Ref: scu.442246

Mosley v News Group Newspapers Ltd: QBD 24 Jul 2008

mosley_newsgroupQBD2008

The defendant published a film showing the claimant involved in sex acts with prostitutes. It characterised them as ‘Nazi’ style. He was the son of a fascist leader, and a chairman of an international sporting body. He denied any nazi element, and claimed in breach of confidence.
Held: ‘The law [of confidence] now affords protection to information in respect of which there is a reasonable expectation of privacy, even in circumstances where there is no pre-existing relationship giving rise of itself to an enforceable duty of confidence. That is because the law is concerned to prevent the violation of a citizen’s autonomy, dignity and self-esteem. It is not simply a matter of ‘unaccountable’ judges running amok. Parliament enacted the 1998 statute which requires these values to be acknowledged and enforced by the courts.’ The clandestine recording of sexual activity on private property must be taken to engage Article 8. What requires closer examination is the extent to which such intrusive behaviour could be justified by reference to a countervailing public interest.
As to the application for exemplary damages, the extension of such awards to cases involving breach of confidence would no doubt have to be dealt with at the House of Lords. However, there was another factor which ‘probably’ had to be taken into account, namely vindication to mark the infringement of the right.
Eady J considered the criticism of CC v AB in its moral relativism. It was ‘largely because of a failure to appreciate the task which judges are now required to carry out in the context of the rights-based environment introduced by the Human Rights Act, hitherto largely unfamiliar in our common law tradition. In deciding whether a right has been infringed, and in assessing the relative worth of competing rights, it is not for judges to make individual moral judgments or to be swayed by personal distaste. It is not simply a matter of personal privacy versus the public interest. The modern perception is that there is a public interest in respecting personal privacy. It is thus a question of taking account of conflicting public interest considerations and evaluating them according to increasingly well recognised criteria. ‘

Eady J
[2008] EWHC 1777 (QB), [2008] EMLR 20
Bailii
European Convention on Human Rights 8 10
Citing:
CitedAttorney-General v Guardian Newspapers Ltd (No 2) (‘Spycatcher’) HL 13-Oct-1988
Loss of Confidentiality Protection – public domain
A retired secret service employee sought to publish his memoirs from Australia. The British government sought to restrain publication there, and the defendants sought to report those proceedings, which would involve publication of the allegations . .
CitedDouglas, Zeta Jones, Northern and Shell Plc v Hello! Limited (No 1) CA 21-Dec-2000
The first two claimants sold exclusive rights to photograph their wedding to the third claimant. A paparrazzi infiltrated the wedding and then sold his unauthorised photographs to the defendants, who now appealed injunctions restraining them from . .
CitedD v L CA 31-Jul-2003
L and D lived together. Fearing the breakdown of the relationship, L used a voice activated recorder to record their conversations. D sought an order to restrain their publication after elements appeared in national newspapers. The court also . .
CitedCampbell v Mirror Group Newspapers Ltd (MGN) (No 1) HL 6-May-2004
The claimant appealed against the denial of her claim that the defendant had infringed her right to respect for her private life. She was a model who had proclaimed publicly that she did not take drugs, but the defendant had published a story . .
CitedIn re S (a Child) (Identification: Restrictions on Publication) HL 28-Oct-2004
Inherent High Court power may restrain Publicity
The claimant child’s mother was to be tried for the murder of his brother by poisoning with salt. It was feared that the publicity which would normally attend a trial, would be damaging to S, and an application was made for reporting restrictions to . .
CitedAsh and Another v McKennitt and others CA 14-Dec-2006
The claimant was a celebrated Canadian folk musician. The defendant, a former friend, published a story of their close friendship. The claimant said the relationship had been private, and publication infringed her privacy rights, and she obtained an . .
CitedAubry v Editions Vice-Versa Inc 9-Apr-1998
(Supreme Court of Canada) Publication in a magazine of an unauthorised photograph of a 17 year old girl sitting on the steps of a public building had violated her right to respect for private life conferred under Article 5 of the ‘Quebec Charter’ of . .
CitedPeck v The United Kingdom ECHR 28-Jan-2003
peck_ukECHR2003
The claimant had been filmed by CCTV. He had, after attempting suicide, left home with a knife, been arrested by the police and disarmed, but then sent home without charge. The CCTV film was used on several occasions to advertise the effectiveness . .
CitedDudgeon v The United Kingdom ECHR 22-Oct-1981
ECHR (Plenary Court) Legislation in Northern Ireland that criminalised homosexual behaviour which was lawful in the rest of the UK.
Held: There was a violation of article 8, but it was not necessary to . .
CitedLaskey, Jaggard and Brown v The United Kingdom ECHR 19-Feb-1997
A prosecution for sado-masochist acts was a necessary invasion of privacy to protect health. The Court found no violation where applicants were imprisoned as a result of sado-masochistic activities captured on video tape when police obtained . .
CitedFressoz and Roire v France ECHR 21-Jan-1999
Le Canard Enchaine published the salary of M Calvet, the chairman of Peugeot, (which was publicly available information) and also, by way of confirmation, photographs of the relevant part of his tax assessment, which was confidential and could not . .
CitedTammer v Estonia ECHR 6-Feb-2001
Freedom of expression constitutes one of the essential foundations of a democratic society and one of the basic conditions for its progress and the self-fulfilment of each individual. Criminal penalties imposed in respect of the reporting of a . .
CitedPG and JH v The United Kingdom ECHR 25-Sep-2001
The use of covert listening devices within a police station was an infringement of the right to privacy, since there was no system of law regulating such practices. That need not affect the right to a fair trial. The prosecution had a duty to . .
CitedMurray v Big Pictures (UK) Ltd; Murray v Express Newspapers CA 7-May-2008
The claimant, a famous writer, complained on behalf of her infant son that he had been photographed in a public street with her, and that the photograph had later been published in a national newspaper. She appealed an order striking out her claim . .
CitedTheakston v MGN Ltd QBD 14-Feb-2002
The claimant, a celebrity sought to restrain publication by the defendant of information about his sex life, consisting of pictures of him in a brothel. The court considered the test for the grant of an injunction to restrain publication under the . .
CitedCraxi (No. 2) ECHR 17-Jul-2003
Hudoc Judgment (Merits and just satisfaction) Violation of Art. 8 with regard to release of transcripts into the public domain ; Violation of Art. 8 with regard to reading out of transcripts at trial ; Pecuniary . .
CitedADT v United Kingdom ECHR 4-Aug-2000
The UK law which had the effect of prohibiting non-violent homosexual acts by groups of males, was a violation of the right to respect for his private life. The law went beyond that which might properly be required in a democratic society for the . .
CitedSilver v United Kingdom ECHR 1980
(Commission) Complaint was made as to the censorship of prisoners’ correspondence. The censorship of prisoners’ correspondence was ancillary to prison rules restricting the contents of correspondence. The Commission, therefore, and the Court had to . .
CitedRegina v Brown (Anthony); Regina v Lucas; etc HL 11-Mar-1993
The appellants had been convicted of assault, after having engaged in consensual acts of sado-masochism in which they inflicted varying degreees of physical self harm. They had pleaded guilty after a ruling that the prosecution had not needed to . .
CitedReynolds v Times Newspapers Ltd and others HL 28-Oct-1999
Fair Coment on Political Activities
The defendant newspaper had published articles wrongly accusing the claimant, the former Prime Minister of Ireland of duplicity. The paper now appealed, saying that it should have had available to it a defence of qualified privilege because of the . .
CitedCC v AB QBD 4-Dec-2006
The claimant sought an order to prevent the defendant and others from making it known that the claimant had had an adulterous relationship with the defendant’s wife. . .
CitedPolanski v Conde Nast Publications Ltd HL 10-Feb-2005
The claimant wished to pursue his claim for defamation against the defendant, but was reluctant to return to the UK to give evidence, fearing arrest and extradition to the US. He appealed refusal of permission to be interviewed on video tape. Held . .
CitedRookes v Barnard (No 1) HL 21-Jan-1964
The court set down the conditions for the award of exemplary damages. There are two categories. The first is where there has been oppressive or arbitrary conduct by a defendant. Cases in the second category are those in which the defendant’s conduct . .
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. . .
CitedLeempoel and SA ED Cine Revue v Belgium ECHR 9-Nov-2006
‘In matters relating to striking a balance between protecting private life and the freedom of expression that the Court had had to rule upon, it has always emphasised . . the requirement that the publication of information, documents or photographs . .
CitedFrancome v Mirror Group Newspapers Ltd CA 1984
The defendant had acquired illegal tapes of telephone conversations which it said implicated the plaintiff. He sought to restrain publication of the material pending forthcoming discliplinary charges at the Jockey Club.
Held: The court had to . .
CitedKuddus v Chief Constable of Leicestershire Constabulary HL 7-Jun-2001
There is no rule of law preventing the award of exemplary damages against police officers. The fact that no case of misfeasance in public office had led to such awards before 1964, did not prevent such an award now. Although damages are generally . .
CitedKitetechnology v Unicor GmbH Plastmaschinen 1995
It would not be correct to describe a infringement of breach of privacy as a tort. . .
CitedZ Ltd v A-Z and AA-LL CA 1982
The plaintiffs, an overseas company with an office in London had been defrauded here. They sought and obtained Mareva injunctions against defendants and against six clearing banks. The banks sought clarification of their duties.
Held: The . .
CitedMaxwell v Pressdram Ltd CA 1987
The court was asked whether disclosure should be ordered in the context of the statutory privilege which was created by s.10 of the 1981 Act. The publisher defendant had deposed that it would justify the material. At trial, however, the defence of . .
CitedRowlands v Chief Constable of Merseyside Police CA 20-Dec-2006
The claimant succeeded in her claims for general damages against the respondent for personal injury, false imprisonment and malicious prosecution, but appealed refusal of the court to award aggravated damages against the chief constable.
Held: . .
CitedTolstoy Miloslavsky v United Kingdom ECHR 19-Jul-1995
The applicant had been required to pay andpound;124,900 as security for the respondent’s costs as a condition of his appeal against an award of damages in a defamation case.
Held: It followed from established case law that article 6(1) did not . .
CitedJohn v MGN Ltd CA 12-Dec-1995
Defamation – Large Damages Awards
MGN appealed as to the level of damages awarded against it namely pounds 350,000 damages, comprising pounds 75,000 compensatory damages and pounds 275,000 exemplary damages. The newspaper contended that as a matter of principle there is no scope in . .
CitedJones v Pollard, Mirror Group Newspapers Limited and Bailey CA 12-Dec-1996
Articles in consecutive issues of The Sunday Mirror accused the plaintiff of pimping for the KGB, organising sex with prostitutes for visiting British businessmen and then blackmailing them. The defendants pleaded justification. The plaintiff . .
CitedAshley and Another v Chief Constable of Sussex Police HL 23-Apr-2008
The claimants sought to bring an action for damages after a family member suspected of dealing drugs, was shot by the police. At the time he was naked. The police officer had been acquitted by a criminal court of murder. The chief constable now . .
CitedChester v Afshar HL 14-Oct-2004
The claimant suffered back pain for which she required neurosurgery. The operation was associated with a 1-2% risk of the cauda equina syndrome, of which she was not warned. She went ahead with the surgery, and suffered that complication. The . .
CitedArcher v Williams QBD 3-Jul-2003
The claimant brought an action for breach of confidence against a former employee. . .
CitedBonnick v Morris, The Gleaner Company Ltd and Allen PC 17-Jun-2002
(Jamaica) The appellant sought damages from the respondent journalists in defamation. They had claimed qualified privilege. The words alleged to be defamatory were ambiguous.
Held: The publishers were protected by Reynolds privilege. The court . .
See AlsoMosley v News Group Newspapers Ltd QBD 9-Apr-2008
The claimant sought to continue an interim injunction requiring the defendant not to publish a film on its website.
Held: A claimant’s Article 8 rights may be engaged even where the information in question has been previously publicised. . .

Cited by:
CitedCallaghan v Independent News and Media Ltd QBNI 7-Jan-2009
callaghan_inmQBNI2009
The claimant was convicted in 1987 of a callous sexual murder. He sought an order preventing the defendant newspaper publishing anything to allow his or his family’s identification and delay his release. The defendant acknowledged the need to avoid . .
CitedLumba (WL) v Secretary of State for The Home Department SC 23-Mar-2011
The claimants had been detained under the 1971 Act, after completing sentences of imprisonment pending their return to their home countries under deportations recommended by the judges at trial, or chosen by the respondent. They challenged as . .
See AlsoMosley v The United Kingdom ECHR 22-Oct-2009
. .
See AlsoMosley v The United Kingdom ECHR 10-May-2011
The claimant complained of the reporting of a sexual encounter which he said was private.
Held: The reporting of ‘tawdry allegations about an individual’s private life’ does not attract the robust protection under Article 10 afforded to more . .
CitedCTB v News Group Newspapers Ltd and Another (1) QBD 16-May-2011
ctb_newsQBD11
A leading footballer had obtained an injunction restraining the defendants from publishing his identity and allegations of sexual misconduct. The claimant said that she had demanded money not to go public.
Held: It had not been suggested that . .
CitedGoodwin v NGN Ltd and VBN QBD 9-Jun-2011
goodwin_ngn4QBD11
The claimant had obtained an injunction preventing publication of his name and that of his coworker with whom he had had an affair. After widespread publication of his name elsewhere, the defendant had secured the discharge of the order as regards . .
CitedFerdinand v MGN Limited QBD 29-Sep-2011
fedinand_mgnQBD2011
The claimant, a famous footballer, complained that an article by the defendant relating an affair he had had, had infringed his right to privacy. The defendant relied on its right to freedom of expression. The claimant had at an earlier stage, and . .
CitedHannon and Another v News Group Newspapers Ltd and Another ChD 16-May-2014
The claimants alleged infringement of their privacy, saying that the defendant newspaper had purchased private information from police officers emplyed by the second defendant, and published them. The defendants now applied for the claims to be . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Defamation, Media, Human Rights, Damages

Leading Case

Updated: 09 November 2021; Ref: scu.271044

Stockdale v Hansard: 1839

Bailii It is no defence in law to an action for publishing a libel, that defamatory matter is part of a order of the House of Commons, laid before the House, and thereupon became part of the proceedings of the House and which was afterwards, by orders of the House, printed and published by defendant; and that the House of Commons heretofore resolved, declared, and adjudged ‘that the power of publishing such of its reports, votes, and proceedings as it shall deem necessary or conducive to the public interests is an essential incident to the constitutional functions of parliament, more especially to the Commons’ House of Parliament as the representative portion of it.’
On demurrer to a plea suggesting such a defence, a court of law is competent to determine whether or not the House of Commons has such privilege as will support the plea.
Lord Denman CJ said: ‘Our respect and gratitude to the Convention Parliament ought not to blind us to the fact that this sentence of imprisonment was as unjust and tyrannical as any of those of arbitrary power for which they deprived King James of his Crown.’ and ‘Where the subject matter falls within their jurisdiction, no doubt we cannot question their judgment; but we are now enquiring whether the subject matter does fall within the jurisdiction of the House of Commons. It is contended that they can bring it within their jurisdiction by declaring it so. To this claim, as arising from their privileges, I have already stated my answer: it is perfectly clear that none of these Courts could give themselves jurisdiction by adjudging that they enjoy it.’

Lord Denman CJ
(1839) 9 Ad and El 1, [1839] EWHC QB J21, 112 ER 1112, (1839) 9 Ad and Ell 96
Bailii
England and Wales
Citing:
appeal fromStockdale v Hansard And Others 7-Feb-1837
The order of the House of Commons for the publication and sale by certain booksellers of Reports laid before the House, does not exempt the booksellers from answering in an action of libel any individual injured by defamatory matters in such Reports . .
appeal fromStockdale v Hansard And Others 7-Feb-1837
The House of Commons, in the years 1836 and 1836, made resolutions that parliamentary papers and reports, printed for the use of the house, should be publicly sold by their printer ; and afterwards a report from the Inspectors of Prisons was ordered . .
CitedEntick v Carrington KBD 1765
The Property of Every Man is Sacred
The King’s Messengers entered the plaintiff’s house and seized his papers under a warrant issued by the Secretary of State, a government minister.
Held: The common law does not recognise interests of state as a justification for allowing what . .

Cited by:
CitedJennings v Buchanan PC 14-Jul-2004
(New Zealand) (Attorney General of New Zealand intervening) The defendant MP had made a statement in Parliament which attracted parliamentary privilege. In a subsequent newspaper interview, he said ‘he did not resile from his claim’. He defended the . .
CitedPrebble v Television New Zealand Ltd PC 27-Jun-1994
(New Zealand) The plaintiff, an MP, pursued a defamation case. The defendant wished to argue for the truth of what was said, and sought to base his argument on things said in Parliament. The plaintiff responded that this would be a breach of . .
CitedChaytor and Others, Regina v CACD 30-Jul-2010
The defendants had been members of the Houses of Commons and of Lords. They faced charges of dishonesty in respect of their expenses claims. They now appealed a finding that they were not subject to the exclusive jurisdiction of Parliament under . .
CitedChaytor and Others, Regina v SC 1-Dec-2010
The defendants faced trial on charges of false accounting in connection in different ways with their expenses claims whilst serving as members of the House of Commons. They appealed against rejection of their assertion that the court had no . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Constitutional, Defamation

Leading Case

Updated: 09 November 2021; Ref: scu.199236

Dingle v Associated Newspapers: HL 1964

The plaintiff complained of an article written in the Daily Mail which included the reporting of a report of a Parliamentary select committee. The reporting of the select committee’s report was privileged under the Parliamentary Papers Act 1840. At trial the judge held that the part of the article which reported on the proceedings in Parliament was privileged. The remainder of the article was found to be defamatory and the judge then set about fixing the damages for the libel. The court had to decide on how the responsibility might be apportioned.
Held: The appeal was dismissed. It was not permissible to mitigate damages by saying that others had said the same thing. ‘Damages for defamation are an expression of many contributing factors, and, as we know, they can be affected one way or another by a defendant’s conduct, by his pleadings, by his counsel’s handling of his case, just as, occasionally, even a plaintiff may find his damages affected by the way that he has behaved.’ The judge had wrongly taken into account evidence that the plaintiff’s reputation had already been damaged by what had been said in Parliament or by what had been said on other occasions, and that the Daily Mail had subsequently published an article which vindicated the plaintiff’s reputation.

Lord Radcliffe, Lord Morton of Henryton, Lord Cohen, Lord Denning and Lord Morris of Borth-y-Guest
[1964] AC 371, [1972] UKHL 2
Bailii
England and Wales
Citing:
Appeal fromDingle v Associated Newspapers CA 1961
A defamation of the claimant had been published and then repeated by others.
Held: The court discussed the logical impossibility of apportioning damage between different tortfeasors: ‘Where injury has been done to the plaintiff and the injury . .

Cited by:
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 . .
CitedNail v Jones, Harper Collins Publications Ltd; Nail v News Group Newspapers Ltd, Wade etc QBD 26-Mar-2004
The claimant was upset by an article published by the defendant making false allegations that he had behaved in a sexually profligate manner many years earlier. When it was substantially repeated he sued.
Held: The words were defamatory. An . .
CitedNail and Another v News Group Newspapers Ltd and others CA 20-Dec-2004
The claimant appealed the award of damages in his claim for defamation. The defendants had variously issued apologies. The claimant had not complained initially as to one publication.
Held: In defamation proceedings the damage to feelings is . .
CitedCuristan v Times Newspapers Ltd CA 30-Apr-2008
The court considered the availability of qualified privilege for reporting of statements made in parliament and the actionable meaning of the article, which comprised in part those statements and in part other factual material representing the . .
CitedMardas v New York Times Company and Another QBD 17-Dec-2008
The claimant sought damages in defamation. The US publisher defendants denied that there had been any sufficient publication in the UK and that the court did not have jurisdiction. The claimant appealed the strike out of the claims.
Held: The . .
CitedPrince Radu of Hohenzollern v Houston and Another (No 4) QBD 4-Mar-2009
Orders were sought to strike out part of the defendants defence of justification to an allegation of defamation.
Held: Where there remains the possibility of a jury trial, it becomes especially important to identify the issues the jurors are . .
CitedCairns v Modi CA 31-Oct-2012
Three appeals against the levels of damages awards were heard together, and the court considered the principles to be applied.
Held: In assessing compensation following a libel, the essential question was how much loss and damage did the . .
Still Good LawLachaux v Independent Print Ltd (1) CA 12-Sep-2017
Defamation – presumption of damage after 2013 Act
The claimant said that the defendant had published defamatory statements which were part of a campaign of defamation brought by his former wife. The court now considered the requirement for substantiality in the 2013 Act.
Held: The defendant’s . .
CitedTurley v Unite The Union and Another QBD 19-Dec-2019
Defamation of Labour MP by Unite and Blogger
The claimant now a former MP had alleged that a posting on a website supported by the first defendant was false and defamatory. The posting suggested that the claimant had acted dishonestly in applying online for a category of membership of the . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Defamation, Damages

Leading Case

Updated: 02 November 2021; Ref: scu.185259

Fressoz and Roire v France: ECHR 21 Jan 1999

Le Canard Enchaine published the salary of M Calvet, the chairman of Peugeot, (which was publicly available information) and also, by way of confirmation, photographs of the relevant part of his tax assessment, which was confidential and could not lawfully be published.
Held: Article 10 protects the right of journalists to divulge information on issues of general interest provided they are acting in good faith and on ‘an accurate factual basis’ and supply reliable and precise information in accordance with the ethics of journalism. But a journalist is not required to guarantee the accuracy of his facts. Article 10 leaves it for journalists to decide whether or not it is necessary to reproduce material to ensure credibility: ‘It protects journalists’ rights to divulge information on issues of general interest provided that they are acting in good faith and on an accurate factual basis and provide ‘reliable and precise’ information in accordance with the ethics of journalism.’

29183/95, [1999] ECHR 1, (1999) 31 EHRR 28, [1997] ECHR 194
Worldlii, Bailii, Bailii
European Convention on Human Rights 10
Human Rights
Cited by:
CitedReynolds v Times Newspapers Ltd and others HL 28-Oct-1999
Fair Coment on Political Activities
The defendant newspaper had published articles wrongly accusing the claimant, the former Prime Minister of Ireland of duplicity. The paper now appealed, saying that it should have had available to it a defence of qualified privilege because of the . .
CitedCampbell v Mirror Group Newspapers Ltd (MGN) (No 1) HL 6-May-2004
The claimant appealed against the denial of her claim that the defendant had infringed her right to respect for her private life. She was a model who had proclaimed publicly that she did not take drugs, but the defendant had published a story . .
CitedMersey Care NHS Trust v Ackroyd QBD 7-Feb-2006
The trust, operators of Ashworth Secure Hospital sought from the defendant journalist disclosure of the name of their employee who had revealed to the defendant matters about the holding of Ian Brady, the Moors Murderer, and in particular medical . .
CitedAssociated Newspapers Ltd v Prince of Wales CA 21-Dec-2006
The defendant newspaper appealed summary judgment against it for breach of confidence and copyright infringement having published the claimant’s journals which he said were private.
Held: Upheld, although the judge had given insufficient . .
CitedMersey Care NHS Trust v Ackroyd CA 21-Feb-2007
The defendant journalist had published confidential material obtained from the claimant’s secure hospital at Ashworth. The hospital now appealed against the refusal of an order for him to to disclose his source.
Held: The appeal failed. Given . .
CitedMosley v News Group Newspapers Ltd QBD 24-Jul-2008
mosley_newsgroupQBD2008
The defendant published a film showing the claimant involved in sex acts with prostitutes. It characterised them as ‘Nazi’ style. He was the son of a fascist leader, and a chairman of an international sporting body. He denied any nazi element, and . .
CitedTimes Newspapers Ltd (Nos. 1 And 2) v The United Kingdom ECHR 10-Mar-2009
The applicant alleged that the rule under United Kingdom law whereby each time material is downloaded from the Internet a new cause of action in libel proceedings accrued (‘the Internet publication rule’) constituted an unjustifiable and . .
CitedAttorney General’s Reference No 3 of 1999: Application By the British Broadcasting Corporation To Set Aside or Vary a Reporting Restriction Order HL 17-Jun-2009
An application was made to discharge an anonymity order made in previous criminal proceedings before the House. The defendant was to be retried for rape under the 2003 Act, after an earlier acquittal. The applicant questioned whether such a order . .
CitedFinancial Times Ltd and Others v The United Kingdom ECHR 15-Dec-2009
The claimants said that an order that they deliver up documents leaked to them regarding a possible takeover violated their right to freedom of expression. They complained that such disclosure might lead to the identification of journalistic . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Human Rights, Defamation, Media

Leading Case

Updated: 02 November 2021; Ref: scu.165681

Taylor and Others v Director of The Serious Fraud Office and Others: HL 29 Oct 1998

The defendant had requested the Isle of Man authorities to investigate the part if any taken by the plaintiff in a major fraud. No charges were brought against the plaintiff, but the documents showing suspicion came to be disclosed in the later trial of others. The plaintiff sought damages in defamation.
Held: The documents which had been prepared for a criminal investigation, and which were disclosed as part of prosecution case, but not relied on in that prosecution, may only be used by defence for the purposes of that trial. They cannot be used to form the basis of an action for defamation. The documents were disclosed under an obligation imposed on the prosecution. The absolute immunity rule ‘is designed to encourage freedom of speech and communication in judicial proceedings by relieving persons who take part in the judicial process from the fear of being sued for something they say.’ The immunity extended also to statements made out of court which could fairly be said to be part of the process of investigating crime. The court referred in this connection to investigators and the prosecuting officials with whom they are required to communicate.
Lord Hope (with whom Lord Hutton agreed) observed: ‘I do not think that it is possible to overstate the importance, in the public interest, of ensuring that material which is disclosed in criminal proceedings is not used for collateral purposes’.
Lord Hoffmann said: ‘I find it impossible to identify any rational principle which would confine the immunity for out of court statements to persons who are subsequently called as witnesses. The policy of the immunity is to enable people to speak freely without fear of being sued, whether successfully or not. If this object is to be achieved, the person in question must know at the time he speaks whether or not the immunity will attach. If it depends upon the contingencies of whether he will be called as a witness, the value of the immunity is destroyed. At the time of the investigation it is often unclear whether any crime has been committed at all. Persons assisting the police with their inquiries may not be able to give any admissible evidence; for example, their information may be hearsay, but none the less valuable for the purposes of the investigation. But the proper administration of justice requires that such people should have the same inducement to speak freely as those whose information subsequently forms the basis of evidence at a trial.
When one turns to the position of investigators, it seems to me that the same degree of necessity applies. It would be an incoherent rule which gave a potential witness immunity in respect of the statements which he made to an investigator but offered no similar immunity to the investigator if he passed that information to a colleague engaged in the investigation or put it to another potential witness. In my view it is necessary for the administration of justice that investigators should be able to exchange information, theories and hypotheses among themselves and to put them to other persons assisting in the inquiry without fear of being sued if such statements are disclosed in the course of the proceedings.’

Lord Lloyd of Berwick, Lord Goff of Chieveley, Lord Hoffmann, Lord Hope of Craighead, Lord Hutton
Times 04-Nov-1998, [1998] UKHL 39, [1999] 2 AC 177, [1998] 4 All ER 801, [1998] 3 WLR 1040
House of Lords, Bailii
England and Wales
Citing:
Appeal fromTaylor Monarch Assurance Plc v Director of Serious Fraud Office, McKenzie, Law Society Rogerson CA 22-Jul-1997
Qualified privilege attached to defamatory documents which had been prepared as part of a criminal investigation. For the court to allow an action would be approve a form of parasitic attack on the trial. . .
CitedMahon v Rahn QBD 19-Jun-1996
Directors of a London firm of stockbrokers brought libel proceedings against two Swiss bankers.
Held: The absolute immunity which is given to both witnesses and potential witnesses extends to all those taking part in a criminal investigation . .
CitedMahon, Kent v Dr Rahn, Biedermann, Haab-Biedermann, Rahn, and Bodmer (a Partnership) (No 2) CA 8-Jun-2000
The defendant’s lawyers wrote to a financial services regulatory body investigating the possible fraudulent conduct of the plaintiff’s stockbroking firm. The letter was passed to the Serious Fraud Office who later brought criminal proceedings . .
CitedMunster v Lamb CA 1883
Judges and witness, including police officers are given immunity from suit in defamation in court proceedings.
Fry LJ said: ‘Why should a witness be able to avail himself of his position in the box and to make without fear of civil consequences . .
CitedWatson v M’Ewan HL 1905
A claim was brought against a medical witness in respect of statements made in preparation of a witness statement and similar statements subsequently made in court. The appellant was a doctor of medicine who had been retained by the respondent in . .
CitedHome Office v Hariette Harman HL 11-Feb-1982
The defendant had permitted a journalist to see documents revealed to her as in her capacity as a solicitor in the course of proceedings.
Held: The documents were disclosed under an obligation to use them for the instant case only. That rule . .
Dicta approvedEvans v London Hospital Medical College and Others 1981
The defendants employed by the first defendant carried out a post mortem on the plaintiff’s infant son. They found concentrations of morphine and told the police. The plaintiff was charged with the murder of her son. After further investigation no . .
CitedRegina v Ward (Judith) CACD 15-Jul-1992
The defendant had been wrongly convicted of IRA bombings. She said that the prosecution had failed to disclose evidence.
Held: The prosecution’s forensic scientists are under a common law duty to disclose to the defence anything they may . .
CitedX (Minors) v Bedfordshire County Council; M (A Minor) and Another v Newham London Borough Council; Etc HL 29-Jun-1995
Liability in Damages on Statute Breach to be Clear
Damages were to be awarded against a Local Authority for breach of statutory duty in a care case only if the statute was clear that damages were capable of being awarded. in the ordinary case a breach of statutory duty does not, by itself, give rise . .
CitedRegina v Keane CACD 15-Mar-1994
Public Interest Immunity Certificates for the protection of informants must be used only carefully. The Crown must specify the purpose of the public interest immunity certificate. The principles on disclosure in Ward are not limited to scientific . .
CitedMahon and Another v Rahn and Others (1) CA 12-Jun-1997
Two company directors sued Swiss bankers who had responded to enquiries from the police in London. The charges which followed had been dismissed, and the directors sued in defamation, seeking to rely upon the materials sent to the police.
CitedRegina v Brown (Winston) HL 20-Feb-1997
The victim had been stabbed outside a nightclub. Two witnesses identified the defendant. The defendants complained that evidence had not been disclosed to them.
Held: There is no duty at common law on the prosecution to warn the defence of . .
CitedPrudential Assurance Co Ltd v Fountain Page Ltd 1991
A party and his legal representatives receiving documents under a process of discovery is under an implied undertaking to use those documents for the purposes of those proceedings only. It is an obligation imposed by operation of law by virtue of . .
CitedEx parte Coventry Newspapers Ltd CA 1993
Documents had been disclosed by the Police Complaints Authority under court order for an appeal against conviction. They related to an investigation of the conduct of police officers who had given evidence against the appellant. The newspaper, now . .
CitedMarrinan v Vibart CA 2-Jan-1962
Two police officers gave evidence in a criminal prosecution of others, that the plaintiff, a barrister, had behaved improperly by obstructing a police officer in the execution of his duty and subsequently gave similar evidence at an inquiry before . .
CitedRoy v Prior HL 1970
The court considered an alleged tort of maliciously procuring an arrest. The plaintiff had been arrested under a bench warrant issued as a result of evidence given by the defendant. He sued the defendant for damages for malicious arrest.
Held: . .
CitedBennett v Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis Admn 24-Oct-1997
Police and prosecuting authority have no inherent immunity from suit for tort of misfeasance in public office if the breach is properly made out. Immunity extends to statements made or agreed to be made out of court ‘if these were clearly and . .
CitedSilcott v Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis CA 24-May-1996
The claimant had been convicted of the murder of PC Blakelock. The only substantial evidence was in the form of the notes of interview he said were fabricated by senior officers. His eventual appeal on this basis was not resisted. He now appealed . .
CitedAttorney-General’s Guidelines Practice Note (Criminal Evidence: Unused Material) 1982
. .
CitedRegina v Jeffries CACD 1968
. .
CitedRegina v Ward (Judith) CACD 15-Jul-1992
The defendant had been wrongly convicted of IRA bombings. She said that the prosecution had failed to disclose evidence.
Held: The prosecution’s forensic scientists are under a common law duty to disclose to the defence anything they may . .
CitedDirector of Public Prosecutions v Shannon 1973
An appeal will lie from a conviction entered upon a plea of guilty where that plea is a consequence of an earlier incorrect ruling in law. . .
CitedRegina v Maguire CACD 1992
The defendant, convicted of murder, had died. It later came to light that materials with the prosecution forensic team had not been disclosed by the prosecution.
Held: The Home Secretary could make a reference to the Appeal court despite the . .
CitedRegina v Davis; Regina v Rowe; Regina v Johnson CA 10-Mar-1993
Guidance was given on the procedures to be followed for applications for non-disclosure for public interest immunity. The court identified three types of case. In the first, and most frequent case the prosecution must notify the defence of the . .
CitedRegina v Brown (Winston) CACD 20-Jun-1994
The Crown Prosecution Service was under no obligation to disclose evidence which might be damaging to a Defendant’s witness’ credibility. The Attorney General’s disclosure guidelines do not have the force of law and need updating. . .
CitedD v National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children HL 2-Feb-1977
Immunity from disclosure of their identity should be given to those who gave information about neglect or ill treatment of children to a local authority or the NSPCC similar to that which the law allowed to police informers.
Lord Simon of . .

Cited by:
CitedDarker v Chief Constable of The West Midlands Police HL 1-Aug-2000
The plaintiffs had been indicted on counts alleging conspiracy to import drugs and conspiracy to forge traveller’s cheques. During the criminal trial it emerged that there had been such inadequate disclosure by the police that the proceedings were . .
CitedPreston Borough Council v McGrath CA 12-May-2000
The defendant had been investigated for fraud against the claimant. He had disclosed documents to the police, but now complained at their use in the civil proceedings against him.
Held: The document had not been given to the police under . .
CitedRegina v Legal Aid Board ex parte Kaim Todner (a Firm of Solicitors) CA 10-Jun-1998
Limitation on Making of Anonymity Orders
A firm of solicitors sought an order for anonymity in their proceedings against the LAB, saying that being named would damage their interests irrespective of the outcome.
Held: The legal professions have no special part in the law as a party . .
CitedBowman v Fels (Bar Council and Others intervening) CA 8-Mar-2005
The parties had lived together in a house owned in the defendant’s name and in which she claimed an interest. The claimant’s solicitors notified NCIS that they thought the defendant had acted illegally in setting off against his VAT liability the . .
CitedA, Re Application for Judicial Review QBNI 25-Jun-2001
The applicant, who feared for his life if identified, sought the release to him of materials discovered by the police in searching premises associated with a loyalist paramiliitary group. He thought that they might include information sourced form . .
CitedGeneral Medical Council v Professor Sir Roy Meadow, Attorney General CA 26-Oct-2006
The GMC appealed against the dismissal of its proceedings for professional misconduct against the respondent doctor, whose expert evidence to a criminal court was the subject of complaint. The doctor said that the evidence given by him was . .
CitedH, Regina v (Interlocutory application: Disclosure) HL 28-Feb-2007
The trial judge had refused an order requested at a preparatory hearing by the defence for the disclosure of documents held by the prosecutor. The House was now asked whether a right of appeal existed against such a refusal.
Held: The practice . .
CitedBuckley v Dalziel QBD 3-May-2007
There was a heated dispute between neighbours, culminating in some generous or perhaps over-generous pruning by the claimant of the defendant’s trees and shrubs on the boundaries. The defendants reported the matter to the police. Both Mr and Mrs . .
CitedWestcott v Westcott QBD 30-Oct-2007
The claimant said that his daughter in law had defamed him. She answered that the publication was protected by absolute privilege. She had complained to the police that he had hit her and her infant son.
Held: ‘the process of taking a witness . .
CitedWestcott v Westcott CA 15-Jul-2008
The defendant was the claimant’s daughter in law. In the course of a bitter divorce she made allegations to the police which were investigated but did not lead to a prosecution. The claimant appealed dismissal of his claim for defamation on the . .
CitedFlood v Times Newspapers Ltd and others QBD 5-Mar-2009
The claimant police officer complained of an alleged defamation in an article published by the defendant. The defendant wished to obtain information from the IPCC to show that they were investigating the matter as a credible issue. The court . .
CitedWhite v Southampton University Hospitals NHS Trust and Another QBD 1-Apr-2011
The claimant doctor sued in defamation for letters written by the defendants to the Fitness to Practice Directorate. She now sought to appeal against a finding that she could not rely upon one letter which had come to her attention through . .
CitedNunn v Suffolk Constabulary and Another Admn 4-May-2012
The claimant had been convicted of murder and his appeal had failed. He now sought disclosure of the forensic material held by the police to his own legal team.
Held: Permission to apply for review was granted, but the claim failed. ‘It is . .
CitedSmart v The Forensic Science Service Ltd CA 2-Jul-2013
On a search of his house, the police found a bullet cartridge on the claimant’s property. It was sent for testing but due to a mistake it was reported as a live cartridge. The prosecution was only dropped after some months when the mistake was . .
CitedTchenguiz v Director of The Serious Fraud Office and Others CA 31-Oct-2014
The appellant challenged an order of the Commercial Court refusing permission for documents disclosed in English litigation to be used in litigation proceedings in Guernsey. The principal issue is whether the judge correctly weighed up the . .
CitedSingh v Moorlands Primary School and Another CA 25-Jul-2013
The claimant was a non-white head teacher, alleging that her school governors and local authority had undermined and had ‘deliberately endorsed a targeted campaign of discrimination, bullying, harassment and victimisation’ against her as an Asian . .
CitedCrawford v Jenkins CA 24-Jul-2014
The parties had divorced but acrimony continued. H now complained of his arrests after allegations from his former wife that he had breached two orders. He had been released and no charges followed. The court had ruled that W’s complaints were . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Defamation, Police

Leading Case

Updated: 02 November 2021; Ref: scu.135006

D v National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children: HL 2 Feb 1977

Immunity from disclosure of their identity should be given to those who gave information about neglect or ill treatment of children to a local authority or the NSPCC similar to that which the law allowed to police informers.
Lord Simon of Glaisdale said: ‘I cannot leave this particular class of relevant evidence withheld from the court without noting, in view of an argument for the respondent, that the rule can operate to the advantage of the untruthful or malicious or revengeful or self-interested or even demented police informant as much as of one who brings information from a high-minded sense of civic duty. Experience seems to have shown that though the resulting immunity from disclosure can be abused the balance of public advantage lies in generally respecting it.’
Lord Diplock explained the rationale of the rule in Marks v Beyfus as being plain: if the identity of informers were too readily liable to be disclosed in a court of law the sources of information would dry up and the police would be hindered in their duty of preventing and detecting crime.
Lord Hailsham of St. Marylebone said: ‘The categories of public interest are not closed, and must alter from time to time whether by restriction or extension as social conditions and social legislation develop’.

Lord Simon of Glaisdale, Lord Diplock, Lord Hailsham of St. Marylebone
[1978] AC 171, [1977] 2 WLR 201, [1977] 1 All ER 589, [1977] UKHL 1
Bailii
England and Wales
Citing:
ExplainedMarks v Beyfus 1890
The plaintiff claimed damages for malicious prosecution. He called the Director of Public Prosecutions as a witness, who refused to identify the name of the person who had given him the information on which he had acted against the plaintiff.
CitedAttorney-General v Mulholland CA 1963
The court rejected a claim for protection from disclosure of matters passing between journalists and their sources: ‘it is said that however these questions were and however proper to be answered for the purpose of this inquiry, a journalist has a . .

Cited by:
CitedThe Chief Constable of the Greater Manchester Police v McNally CA 25-Jan-2002
The claimant sought damages against the police for malicious prosecution and otherwise. He sought disclosure of whether a party referred to in the case as X, had at any time been a paid informer. The police appealed an order to disclose this. . .
CitedTaylor and Others v Director of The Serious Fraud Office and Others HL 29-Oct-1998
The defendant had requested the Isle of Man authorities to investigate the part if any taken by the plaintiff in a major fraud. No charges were brought against the plaintiff, but the documents showing suspicion came to be disclosed in the later . .
CitedHome Office v Hariette Harman HL 11-Feb-1982
The defendant had permitted a journalist to see documents revealed to her as in her capacity as a solicitor in the course of proceedings.
Held: The documents were disclosed under an obligation to use them for the instant case only. That rule . .
CitedAshworth Security Hospital v MGN Limited HL 27-Jun-2002
Order for Journalist to Disclose Sources
The newspaper published details of the medical records of Ian Brady, a prisoner and patient of the applicant. The applicant sought an order requiring the defendant newspaper to disclose the identity of the source of material which appeared to have . .
CitedRegina v Davis (Iain); Regina v Ellis, Regina v Gregory, Regina v Simms, Regina v Martin CACD 19-May-2006
The several defendants complained at the use at their trials of evidence given anonymously. The perceived need for anonymity arose because, from intimidation, the witnesses would not be willing to give their evidence without it.
Held: The . .
CitedAmwell View School v Dogherty EAT 15-Sep-2006
amwell_dogherty
The claimant had secretly recorded the disciplinary hearings and also the deliberations of the disciplinary panel after their retirement. The tribunal had at a case management hearing admitted the recordings as evidence, and the defendant appealed, . .
CitedBrown v Rice and Another ChD 14-Mar-2007
The parties, the bankrupt and her trustee, had engaged in a mediation which failed at first, but applicant said an agreement was concluded on the day following. The defendants denied this, and the court as asked to determine whether a settlement had . .
CitedWestcott v Westcott CA 15-Jul-2008
The defendant was the claimant’s daughter in law. In the course of a bitter divorce she made allegations to the police which were investigated but did not lead to a prosecution. The claimant appealed dismissal of his claim for defamation on the . .
CitedRegina v Inland Revenue Commissioners ex parte Rossminster Ltd HL 13-Dec-1979
The House considered the power of an officer of the Board of Inland Revenue to seize and remove materials found on premises which a warrant obtained on application to the Common Serjeant authorised him to enter and search; but where the source of . .
CitedWhite v Southampton University Hospitals NHS Trust and Another QBD 1-Apr-2011
The claimant doctor sued in defamation for letters written by the defendants to the Fitness to Practice Directorate. She now sought to appeal against a finding that she could not rely upon one letter which had come to her attention through . .
CitedArias and Others v Commissioner for the Metropolitan Police and Another CA 1-Aug-1984
A police officer searched premises under a warrant seizing documents of a trust corporation managed by the occupier. The trustees sought return of the documents or, alternatively, copies of them. The police believed that the documents were evidence . .
CitedAndrew v News Group Newspapers Ltd and Commissioner of the Police for the Metropolis ChD 18-Mar-2011
The claimant sought unredacted disclosure of documents by the second defendant so that he could pursue an action against the first, who, he said, were thought to have intercepted his mobile phone messages, and where the second defendant had . .
CitedPowell v Chief Constable of North Wales Constabulary CA 16-Dec-1999
Roch LJ said: ‘When an issue of public interest immunity is raised, the court’s first duty is to weigh the public interest in preserving the immunity against the public interest that all relevant information which might assist a court to ascertain . .
CitedIn re A (A Child) SC 12-Dec-2012
A woman, X, had made an allegation in confidence she had been sexually assaulted as a child. The court was asked whether that confidence could be overriden to allow an investigation to protect if necessary a child still living with the man. Evidence . .
CitedPrudential Plc and Another, Regina (on The Application of) v Special Commissioner of Income Tax and Another SC 23-Jan-2013
The appellants resisted disclosure to the revenue of advice it had received. It claimed legal advice privilege (LAP), though the advice was from its accountants.
Held: (Lords Sumption and Clarke dissenting) LAP applies to all communications . .
CitedFarm Assist Ltd v Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (No 2) TCC 19-May-2009
The mediator who had acted in attempting to resolve the dispute between the parties sought to have set aside a witness summons issued by the claimant who sought to have the mediated agreement set aside for economic duress.
Held: In this case . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Defamation, Litigation Practice

Leading Case

Updated: 01 November 2021; Ref: scu.181202

Munster v Lamb: CA 1883

Judges and witness, including police officers are given immunity from suit in defamation in court proceedings.
Fry LJ said: ‘Why should a witness be able to avail himself of his position in the box and to make without fear of civil consequences a false statement, which in many cases is perjured, and which is malicious and affects the character of another? The rule of law exists, not because the conduct of those persons ought not of itself to be actionable, but because if their conduct was actionable, actions would be brought against judges and witnesses in cases in which they had not spoken with malice, in which they had not spoken with falsehood. It is not a desire to prevent actions from being brought in cases where they ought to be maintained that has led to the adoption of the present rule of law; but it is the fear that if the rule were otherwise, numerous actions would be brought against persons who were merely discharging their duty. It must always be borne in mind that it is not intended to protect malicious and untruthful persons, but that it is intended to protect persons acting bona fide, who under a different rule would be liable, not perhaps to verdicts and judgments against them, but to the vexation of defending actions.’
Privilege applies even though what is said is gratuitous and irrelevant to what proves to be an issue in the issue in the trial.
Lord Brett MR said: ‘The rule of law is that what is said in the course of the administration of the law, is privileged; and the reason of that rule covers a counsel even more than a judge or a witness. To my mind it is illogical to argue that the protection of privilege ought not to exist for a counsel, who deliberately and maliciously slanders another person. The reason of the rule is, that a counsel, who is not malicious and who is acting bona fide, may not be in danger of having actions brought against him. If the rule of law were otherwise, the most innocent of counsel might be unrighteously harassed with suits, and therefore it is better to make the rule of law so large that an innocent counsel shall never be troubled, although by making it so large counsel are included who have been guilty of malice and misconduct.’
Brett MR continued, saying: ‘It was at one time suggested that although witnesses could not be held liable to actions upon the case for defamation, that is, for actions for libel and slander, nevertheless they might be held liable in another and different form of action on the case, namely, an action analogous to an action for malicious prosecution, in which it would be alleged that the statement complained of was false to the knowledge of the witness, and was made maliciously and without reasonable or probable cause. This view has been supported by high authority; but it seems to me wholly untenable. If an action for libel or slander cannot be maintained, how can such an action as I have mentioned be maintained, it being in truth an action for defamation in an altered form? Every objection and every reason, which can be urged against an action for libel or slander, will equally apply against the suggested form of action. Therefore, to my mind, the best way to deal with the suggested form of action is to dispose of it in the words of Crompton J in Henderson v Broomhead, where he said: ‘The attempts to obtain redress for defamation having failed, an effort was made in Revis v Smith to sustain an action analogous to an action for malicious prosecution. That seems to have been done in despair.’ Nothing could be more strong, nothing could shew more clearly his entire disbelief in the possibility of supporting that new form of action.’

Fry LJ, Sir Balliol Brett MR
(1883) 11 QBD 588
Cited by:
CitedDarker v Chief Constable of The West Midlands Police HL 1-Aug-2000
The plaintiffs had been indicted on counts alleging conspiracy to import drugs and conspiracy to forge traveller’s cheques. During the criminal trial it emerged that there had been such inadequate disclosure by the police that the proceedings were . .
CitedSilcott v Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis CA 24-May-1996
The claimant had been convicted of the murder of PC Blakelock. The only substantial evidence was in the form of the notes of interview he said were fabricated by senior officers. His eventual appeal on this basis was not resisted. He now appealed . .
CitedHeath v Commissioner of Police for the Metropolis CA 20-Jul-2004
The female civilian officer alleged sex discrimination against her by a police officer. Her complaint was heard at an internal disciplinary. She alleged sexual harrassment, and was further humiliated by the all male board’s treatment of her . .
CitedTaylor and Others v Director of The Serious Fraud Office and Others HL 29-Oct-1998
The defendant had requested the Isle of Man authorities to investigate the part if any taken by the plaintiff in a major fraud. No charges were brought against the plaintiff, but the documents showing suspicion came to be disclosed in the later . .
CitedGeneral Medical Council v Professor Sir Roy Meadow, Attorney General CA 26-Oct-2006
The GMC appealed against the dismissal of its proceedings for professional misconduct against the respondent doctor, whose expert evidence to a criminal court was the subject of complaint. The doctor said that the evidence given by him was . .
CitedWestcott v Westcott QBD 30-Oct-2007
The claimant said that his daughter in law had defamed him. She answered that the publication was protected by absolute privilege. She had complained to the police that he had hit her and her infant son.
Held: ‘the process of taking a witness . .
CitedWestcott v Westcott CA 15-Jul-2008
The defendant was the claimant’s daughter in law. In the course of a bitter divorce she made allegations to the police which were investigated but did not lead to a prosecution. The claimant appealed dismissal of his claim for defamation on the . .
CitedIqbal v Mansoor and Others QBD 26-Aug-2011
The claimant sought the disapplication of the limitation period in order to pursue the defendant solicitors, his former employers, in defamation. . .
CitedCabassi v Vila 12-Dec-1940
High Court of Australia – The claim sought to sidestep the rule giving immuity to witnesses before a court by alleging a conspiracy to give false evidence.
Held: Starke J said: ‘But it does not matter whether the action is framed as an action . .
CitedSingh v Moorlands Primary School and Another CA 25-Jul-2013
The claimant was a non-white head teacher, alleging that her school governors and local authority had undermined and had ‘deliberately endorsed a targeted campaign of discrimination, bullying, harassment and victimisation’ against her as an Asian . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Police, Defamation

Leading Case

Updated: 01 November 2021; Ref: scu.184730

Telnikoff v Matusevitch: HL 14 Nov 1991

The court should decide on whether an article is ‘fact or comment’ purely by reference to the article itself, and not taking into account any of the earlier background coverage. It is the obligation of the relevant commentator to make clear that the content of his or her communication is comment rather than fact. As to the need to set out the matter commented on: ‘if the court is not entitled to look at the material on which it is alleged that the words complained of were commenting, it would unduly restrict the defence of fair comment. Indeed, it would diminish and impair this vitally important right, by whittling it down by a wholly unjustified legal refinement. If the criticism of an article published in a newspaper on a subject matter of public importance is to be confined to passages actually set out in the criticism, then the freedom to comment on a matter of public importance becomes, from a practical point of view, illusory or non-existent. The ability of a defendant to comment should not depend on whether or not the reader is aware of the material which is the subject of the comment. ‘

Lord Keith of Kinkel, Lord Brandon of Oakbrook, Lord Templeman, Lord Ackner, Lord Oliver of Aylmerton
[1992] 2 AC 343, [1992] UKHL 2
Bailii
England and Wales
Citing:
Appeal fromTelnikoff v Matusevitch CA 1991
The court considered the element of malice in a defamation defence: ‘If a piece of evidence is equally consistent with malice and the absence of malice, it cannot as a matter of law provide evidence on which the jury could find malice. The judge . .
At first instanceTelnikoff v Matusevitch 24-May-1989
The plaintiff claimed in libel. Drake J upheld a submission that there was no case to go before the jury, in respect that (1) any reasonable jury properly directed would be bound to sustain the defence of fair comment, and (2) there was no evidence . .
CitedMerivale v Carson CA 1887
A published criticism of a play made reference to one of the characters being ‘a naughty wife’, though in fact there was no adulterous wife in the play.
Held: The defence of fair comment is open to a commentator however prejudiced he might be, . .
CitedMerivale v Carson CA 1887
A published criticism of a play made reference to one of the characters being ‘a naughty wife’, though in fact there was no adulterous wife in the play.
Held: The defence of fair comment is open to a commentator however prejudiced he might be, . .
CitedKemsley v Foot HL 25-Feb-1952
Fair Comment Crticism of Newspaper Publisher
The plaintiff alleged that the headline to an article written by the defendant which criticised the behaviour of the Beaverbrook Press, and which read ‘Lower than Kemsley’ was defamatory. The defendant pleaded fair comment. The plaintiff appealed. . .
CitedChernesky v Armadale Publishers Ltd 1978
(Supreme Court of Canada) The defendants were the editor and the owner and publisher of a newspaper which had published a letter to the editor in which the writers accused the plaintiff of holding racist views. The writers of the letter did not give . .
CitedLyon v The Daily Telegraph Ltd CA 1943
Scott LJ said: ‘The reason why, once a plea of fair comment is established, there is no libel, is that it is in the public interest to have free discussion of matters of public interest.’ and ‘It [the right of fair comment] is one of the fundamental . .
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 . .
CitedSlim v Daily Telegraph Ltd CA 1968
Courts to Settle upon a single meaning if disputed
The ‘single meaning’ rule adopted in the law of defamation is in one sense highly artificial, given the range of meanings the impugned words sometimes bear. The law of defamation ‘has passed beyond redemption by the courts’. Where in a libel action . .
CitedBroadway Approvals Ltd v Odhams Press Ltd (No 2) CA 1965
A company’s mind is not to be assessed on the totality of knowledge of its employees. Malice was not to be established by forensic imagination however eloquently and subtly expressed.
Russell LJ said: ‘the law of libel seems to have . .

Cited by:
CitedKeays v Guardian Newspapers Limited, Alton, Sarler QBD 1-Jul-2003
The claimant asserted defamation by the defendant. The parties sought a decision on whether the article at issue was a comment piece, in which case the defendant could plead fair comment, or one asserting fact, in which case that defence would not . .
CitedKeays v Guardian Newspapers Limited, Alton, Sarler QBD 1-Jul-2003
The claimant asserted defamation by the defendant. The parties sought a decision on whether the article at issue was a comment piece, in which case the defendant could plead fair comment, or one asserting fact, in which case that defence would not . .
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 . .
CitedAssociated Newspapers Ltd v Burstein CA 22-Jun-2007
The newspaper appealed an award of damages for defamation after its theatre critic’s review of an opera written by the claimant. The author said the article made him appear to sympathise with terrorism.
Held: The appeal succeeded. Keene LJ . .
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, . .
CitedHenderson v London Borough of Hackney and Another QBD 5-Jul-2010
The claimant alleged defamation by the defendant in a referral letter sent to a third party. She had been dismissed from a non-teaching post after having been found using school computers to access pornography. The letter had reported the findings . .
CitedSpiller and Another v Joseph and Others SC 1-Dec-2010
The defendants had published remarks on its website about the reliability of the claimant. When sued in defamation, they pleaded fair comment, but that was rejected by the Court of Appeal.
Held: The defendants’ appeal succeeded, and the fair . .
CitedTilbrook v Parr QBD 13-Jul-2012
The claimant, chair of a political party, the English Democrats, said that a blog written and published on the Internet by the defendant was defamatory and contained malicious falsehoods. The blog was said to associate the claimant’s party with . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Defamation

Leading Case

Updated: 01 November 2021; Ref: scu.184403

Toogood v Spyring: 1834

Qualified Privilege of Bona Fide Words Under Duty

The defence of qualified privilege arises where the statement in question was bona fide and without malicious intent to injure: ‘In general, an action lies for the malicious publication of statements which are false in fact, and injurious to the character of another (within the well-known limits as to verbal slander), and the law considers such publication as malicious, unless it is fairly made by a person in the discharge of some public or private duty, whether legal or moral, or in the conduct of his own affairs, in matters where his interest is concerned. In such cases, the occasion prevents the inference of malice, which the law draws from unauthorised communications, and affords a qualified defence depending upon the absence of actual malice. If fairly warranted by any reasonable occasion or exigency, and honestly made, such communications are protected for the common convenience and welfare of society; and the law has not restricted the right to make them within any narrow limits.’

Parke B
(1834) 1 CM and R 181, [1834] EngR 363, (1834) 1 CrM and R 181, (1834) 149 ER 1044
Commonlii
England and Wales
Cited by:
CitedDowntex v Flatley CA 2-Oct-2003
The claimants sought damages for defamation and breach of contract. The claimants had purchased a business from the defendant, which contract included a clause requiring the defendant to say nothing damaging about the business. The defendant . .
CitedLoveless v Earl; Capital and Counties (Financial Services) Limited CA 4-Nov-1998
When a defendant claimed qualified privilege and the Plaintiff alleged that the words complained of were issued with malice, the defendant will not prevented from reliance on qualified privilege if it can show that the words have an honestly . .
CitedReynolds v Times Newspapers Ltd and others HL 28-Oct-1999
Fair Coment on Political Activities
The defendant newspaper had published articles wrongly accusing the claimant, the former Prime Minister of Ireland of duplicity. The paper now appealed, saying that it should have had available to it a defence of qualified privilege because of the . .
CitedWatts v Times Newspapers Ltd, Neil, Palmer and Schilling and Lom CA 28-Jul-1995
The plaintiff author had claimed damages for defamation, saying that he had been accused of plagiarism. An apology had been given in the form requested – no qualified privilege. The plaintiff brought an associated case against his lawyer, saying . .
CitedLoutchansky v Times Newspapers Limited (No 2) CA 12-Mar-2001
The defendants appealed against a refusal to allow them to amend their pleadings. They wished to include allegations as to matters which were unknown to the journalist at the time of publication.
Held: It is necessary for the defendants to . .
CitedClift v Slough Borough Council and Another QBD 6-Jul-2009
clift_sloughQBD09
The claimant sought damages for defamation. The council had decided that she had threatened a member of staff and notified various people, and entered her name on a violent persons register. She alleged malice, the council pleaded justification and . .
CitedClift v Slough Borough Council CA 21-Dec-2010
The court was asked how, if at all, the Human Rights Act 1998 has affected a local authority’s defence of qualified privilege in defamation cases. The claimant had been placed on the Council’s Violent Persons Register after becoming very upset and . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Defamation

Leading Case

Updated: 01 November 2021; Ref: scu.186628

Beech v Freeson: QBD 1972

The defendant, a Member of Parliament, wrote a letter to the Law Society with a copy to the Lord Chancellor, saying that he had been specifically requested by a constituent to refer the plaintiffs’ solicitors’ firm to the Law Society for investigation. He set out the constituent’s complaints and stated that, contrary to his usual practice he had complied with the request because he had received complaints from other constituents in the past concerning the plaintiffs’ firm. He defended the defamation action, claiming qualified privilege.
Held: Qualified privilege may arise in the making of complaints about public officials or persons with public duties to the relevant authorities.
Geoffrey Lane J said: ‘Finally, have the plaintiffs proved that the defendant was actuated by express malice? Malice includes any spite or ill-will directed from the defendant at the plaintiffs. It also includes any indirect motive. That is to say, any intention on the part of the defendant to use the occasion, not merely for the purpose for which it is a subject of qualified privilege, but for some extraneous purpose of his own not connected with privilege’
. . And ‘it seems contrary to principle that the existence of qualified privilege should depend on the mistaken belief of the defendant’.

Lane J
[1972] 1 QB 14
England and Wales
Citing:
CitedNevill v Fine Arts and General Insurance Co Ltd CA 1895
Lopes LJ said: ‘The effect of the occasion being privileged is to render it incumbent upon the plaintiff to prove malice, that is, to shew some indirect motive not connected with the privilege, so as to take the statement made by the defendant out . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Defamation, Constitutional, Legal Professions

Leading Case

Updated: 01 November 2021; Ref: scu.539180

Goldsmith v Pressdram Ltd: CA 1988

The court considered whether to order a defamation trial to be before a judge alone, or with a jury.
Held: The word ‘examination’ has a wide connotation, is not limited to the documents which contain the actual evidence in the case and includes, for example, documents which are likely to be introduced in cross-examination.
Slade LJ said: ‘Correspondingly, I infer that the legislature, in using the particular word ‘conveniently’ in the context of the sub-section, was directing its attention to the efficient administration of justice, rather more than the probable difficulty or otherwise of issues involved There may be many cases where numerous documents will be required to be looked at, but no substantial practical difficulties are likely to arise in their examination being made with a jury. On the other hand, cases may, I concede, arise where relatively few documents will require examination, but nevertheless long and minute examination of them is likely to be required, and, because of their particular nature, a satisfactory examination of them by a jury will present formidable practical difficulties’.
Kerr LJ said: ‘Conveniently’ means, as I see it, without substantial difficulty in comparison with carrying out the same process with a Judge alone. On the issues raised in this case the investigatory process of arriving at the ultimate answer would be a difficult task for any judge despite constant reference to documents, and far more difficult, and therefore inconvenient as a forensic process, when it has to be done in a way that is capable of being followed and understood by 12 jurors’.
Nourse LJ pointed out that the right to trial of a defamation action by a jury is an important constitutional right: ‘whether someone’s reputation has or has not been falsely discredited ought to be tried by other ordinary men and women and, as Lord Camden said, it is the jury who are the people of England.’

Slade LJ, Kerr LJ, Nourse LJ
[1988] 1 WLR 64
Supreme Court Act 1961 69
England and Wales
Cited by:
CitedSafeway Stores Plc v Albert Tate CA 18-Dec-2000
The respondent, a neighbour of the claimant, had fallen into dispute with the claimant, and issued a leaflet and signs alleging fraud. The claimants obtained an injunction, and in the absence of a substantive defence, judgement. He claimed that the . .
CitedRight Hon Aitken MP and Preston; Pallister and Guardian Newspapers Ltd CA 15-May-1997
The defendants appealed against an order that a defamation trial should proced before a judge alone.
Held: ‘Where the parties, or one of them, is a public figure, or there are matters of national interest in question, this would suggest the . .
CitedField v Local Sunday Newspapers Limited 10-Dec-2001
The court considered whether to order jury trial of a defamation action.
Held: The triggers of ‘prolonged examination’ and ‘inconvenience’ are not two separate requirements and must be considered together, although it is convenient to take . .
CitedCollins Stewart Ltd and Another v The Financial Times Ltd QBD 20-Oct-2004
The claimants sought damages for defamation. The claimed that the article had caused very substantial losses (andpound;230 million) to them by affecting their market capitalisation value. The defendant sought to strike out that part of the claim. . .
CitedFiddes v Channel Four Television Corporation and Others CA 29-Jun-2010
The claimants in a defamation case made an interlocutory appeal against an order for trial by judge alone. The parties had agreed for trial by jury, but the defendants made a late application for trial by judge alone.
Held: The claimant’s . .
CitedBeta Construction Ltd v Channel Four Television Co Ltd CA 1990
When considering the number of documents to be considered when deciding whether a defamation case should proceed before a judge or judge and jury, the court was entitled to look also at any specialised technical content of the documents and also . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Defamation, Constitutional

Leading Case

Updated: 01 November 2021; Ref: scu.182778

Buttes Gas and Oil Co v Hammer (No 3): HL 1981

In a defamation action, issues arose as to two conflicting oil concessions which neighbouring states in the Arabian Gulf had granted over their territorial and offshore waters. The foreign relations of the United Kingdom and Iran were also involved in the dispute. The authorities concerning acts of state were reviewed for the purpose of a submission by the defendants that the action raised issues which were non-justiciable in English courts and should therefore be stayed. The motives of governments are not justiciable and courts should refrain from adjudicating upon them. The House considered an action by an officer of the Crown taken outside this country against foreigners otherwise than under colour of legal right.
Held: The principle of non-justiciability was applicable. ‘The important inter-state issues and/or issues of international law which would face the court . . have only to be stated to compel the conclusion that these are not issues upon which a municipal court can pass. . [There are no judicial or manageable standards by which to judge [the] issues or to adopt another phrase . . the court would be in a judicial no-man’s land: the court would be asked to review transactions in which four sovereign states were involved, which they had brought to a precarious settlement, after diplomacy and the use of force, and to say that at least part of these were ‘unlawful’ under international law. I would just add . . that it is not to be assumed that these matters have now passed into history, so that they now can be examined with safe detachment.’ and ‘ There is ‘a more general principle that the courts will not adjudicate upon the transactions of foreign sovereign states . . one for judicial restraint or abstention . . not one of discretion, but . . inherent in the very nature of the judicial process.’
On the plaintiff’s application to strike out the counterclaim, Lord Wilberforce concluded: ‘It would not be difficult to elaborate on these considerations, or to perceive other important inter-state issues and/or issues of international law which would face the court. They have only to be stated to compel the conclusion that these are not issues upon which a municipal court can pass. Leaving aside all possibility of embarrassment in our foreign relations (which it can be said not to have been drawn to the attention of the court by the executive) there are – to follow the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals – no judicial or manageable standards by which to judge these issues, or to adopt another phrase (from a passage not quoted), the court would be in a judicial no-man’s land: the court would be asked to review transactions in which four sovereign states were involved, which they had brought to a precarious settlement, after diplomacy and the use of force, and to say that at least part of these were ‘unlawful’ under international law. I would just add, in answer to one of the respondents’ arguments, that it is not to be assumed that these matters have now passed into history, so that they now can be examined with safe detachment.’

Lord Wilberforce
[1982] AC 888, [1981] 3 All ER 616, [1981] 3 WLR 787
England and Wales
Citing:
ApprovedDuke of Brunswick v The King of Hanover HL 31-Jul-1948
The Duke claimed that the King of Hanover had been involved in the removal of the Duke from his position as reigning Duke and in the maladministration of his estates.
Held: ‘A foreign Sovereign, coming into this country cannot be made . .
Appeal fromButtes Gas and Oil Co v Hammer (No 3) CA 1981
The mere reference to a document in the pleadings was not an automatic waiver of any legal professional privilege. . .
CitedUnderhill v Hernandez 29-Nov-1897
(US Supreme Court) Underhill, a US citizen, had constructed a waterworks in Bolivar for the government which was eventually overthrown by revolutionary forces, one of whose generals was Hernandez. After Hernandez had captured Bolivar, Underhill . .

Cited by:
CitedKuwait Airways Corporation v Iraqi Airways Company and Others (Nos 4 and 5) HL 16-May-2002
After the invasion of Kuwait, the Iraqi government had dissolved Kuwait airlines, and appropriated several airplanes. Four planes were destroyed by Allied bombing, and 6 more were appropriated again by Iran.
Held: The appeal failed. No claim . .
CitedJones v Ministry of Interior Al-Mamlaka Al-Arabiya As Saudiya Kingdom of Saudi Arabia) and Another CA 28-Oct-2004
The claimants sought damages alleging torture by the respondent whilst held in custody in Saudi Arabia.
Held: Although the state enjoyed freedom from action, where the acts were ones of torture, and action could proceed against state officials . .
CitedRegina v Bartle and The Commissioner Of Police For The Metropolis and Others Ex Parte Pinochet Ugarte, Regina v Evans and Another and The Commissioner of Police For The Metropolis and Others (No 1) HL 22-Nov-1998
The government of Spain had issued an arrest warrant and application for extradition in respect of Pinochet Ugarte for his alleged crimes whilst president of Chile. He was arrested in England. He pleaded that he had immunity from prosecution.
CitedOccidental Exploration and Production Company vRepublic of Ecuador CA 9-Sep-2005
The parties had arbitrated their dispute in London under a bilateral investment treaty between the US and Ecuador. The republic sought to appeal the arbitration. The applicant now appealed an order that the English High Court had jurisdiction to . .
CitedRegina (on the application of Abassi and Another) v Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs and Another CA 6-Nov-2002
A British national had been captured in Afghanistan, and was being held without remedy by US forces. His family sought an order requiring the respondent to take greater steps to secure his release or provide other assistance.
Held: Such an . .
CitedRegina v Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs ex parte British Council of Turkish Cypriot Associations and Another Admn 19-Mar-1998
The applicants sought judicial review of the respondent’s decision to support the application for admission to the Eurorpean Community of Cyprus.
Held: Leave was refused: ‘the independence of Cyprus since 17th August 1960 forecloses any power . .
CitedGentle and Clarke, Regina (on the Application Of) v Prime Minister and others CA 12-Dec-2006
The claimants appealed refusal of a judicial review of the defendant’s decision to enter into the war in Iraq. The claimants were parents of troops who had died in the war. They said that the legal advice given to the government was incorrect.
CitedGentle, Regina (on the Application of) and Another v The Prime Minister and Another HL 9-Apr-2008
The appellants were mothers of two servicemen who had died whilst on active service in Iraq. They appealed refusal to grant a public inquiry. There had already been coroners inquests. They said that Article 2 had been infringed.
Held: The . .
CitedCorner House Research and Campaign Against Arms Trade, Regina (on the Application of) v Director of the Serious Fraud Office and Another Admn 10-Apr-2008
The defendant had had responsibility to investigate and if necessary prosecute a company suspected of serious offences of bribery and corruption in the conduct of contract negotiations. The investigation had been stopped, alledgedly at the . .
CitedKorea National Insurance Company v Allianz Global Corporate and Specialty Ag ComC 18-Nov-2008
The claimant sought to enforce a judgment for payment of a sum under a policy of insurance. The defendant sought to refuse saying that the policy had been instigated by a fraud perpetrated by the state of North Korea, and or that the judicial system . .
CitedLucasfilm Ltd and Others v Ainsworth and Another SC 27-Jul-2011
The claimant had produced the Star War films which made use of props, in particular a ‘Stormtrooper’ helmet designed by the defendant. The defendant had then himself distributed models of the designs he had created. The appellant obtained judgment . .
CitedKhaira and Others v Shergill and Others CA 17-Jul-2012
The parties disputed the trusteeship and governance of two Gurdwaras (Sikh temples). The defendants now applied for the claim to be struck out on the basis that the differences were as to Sikh doctrines and practice and as such were unjusticiable. . .
CitedShergill and Others v Khaira and Others SC 11-Jun-2014
The parties disputed the trusts upon which three Gurdwaras (Sikh Temples) were held. The Court of Appeal had held that the issues underlying the dispute were to be found in matters of the faith of the Sikh parties, and had ordered a permanent stay. . .
CitedBelhaj and Another v Straw and Others SC 17-Jan-2017
The claimant alleged complicity by the defendant, (now former) Foreign Secretary, in his mistreatment by the US while held in Libya. He also alleged involvement in his unlawful abduction and removal to Libya, from which had had fled for political . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Defamation, International, Constitutional

Leading Case

Updated: 01 November 2021; Ref: scu.179879

Prebble v Television New Zealand Ltd: PC 27 Jun 1994

(New Zealand) The plaintiff, an MP, pursued a defamation case. The defendant wished to argue for the truth of what was said, and sought to base his argument on things said in Parliament. The plaintiff responded that this would be a breach of Parliamentary privilege.
Held: A Defendant may not use libel proceedings to impugn proceedings in Parliament in his defence though the proceedings might accordingly be stayed. ‘the freedom of speech and debates or proceedings in Parliament ought not to be impeached or questioned in any court or place out of Parliament.’ This provision is part of the wider principle that the courts and Parliament are both astute to recognise their constitutional roles.
Lord Browne-Wilkinson said: ‘In addition to Article 9 itself, there is a long line of authority which supports a wider principle, of which Article 9 is merely one manifestation, viz. that the courts and Parliament are both astute to recognise their respective constitutional roles. So far as the courts are concerned they will not allow any challenge to be made to what was said or done within the walls of Parliament in performance of its legislative function and protection of its established privileges.’
The ‘case illustrate[s] how public policy, or human rights, issues can conflict. There are three such issues in play in these cases: first, the need to ensure that the legislature can exercise its powers freely on behalf of its electors, with access to all relevant information; second, the need to protect freedom of speech generally; third, the interests of justice in ensuring that all relevant evidence is available to the courts. Their Lordships are of the view that the law has been long settled that, of these three public interests, the first must prevail. But the other two public interests cannot be ignored and their Lordships will revert to them in considering the question of a stay of proceedings.
For these reasons (which are in substance those of the courts below) their Lordships are of the view that parties to litigation, by whomsoever commenced, cannot bring into question anything said or done in the House by suggesting (whether by direct evidence, cross-examination, inference or submission) that the actions or words were inspired by improper motives or were untrue or misleading. Such matters lie entirely within the jurisdiction of the House . .’

Lord Browne-Wilkinson, Lord keith, Lord Goff, Lord Mustill, Lord Nolan
Times 13-Jul-1994, Gazette 26-Oct-1994, [1995] 1 AC 321, [1994] 3 NZLR 1, [1994] 3 WLR 970
Bailii
Bill of Rights 1689 9
England and Wales
Citing:
CitedComalco Ltd v Australian Broadcasting Corporation 1983
(Supreme Court of the Australian Capital Territory) Hansard was admissible to show what had been said in the Queensland Parliament as a matter of fact, without the need for the consent of Parliament. Blackburn CJ added: ‘I think that the way in . .
CitedSir Francis Burdett, Bart v The Right Hon Charles Abbot KBD 1811
Speaker’s Powers to Arrest House Members
To an action of trespass against the Speaker of the House of Commons for forcibly, and, with the assistance of armed soldiers, breaking into the messuage of the plaintiff (the outer door being shut and fastened,) and arresting him there, and taking . .
CitedStockdale v Hansard 1839
Bailii It is no defence in law to an action for publishing a libel, that defamatory matter is part of a order of the House of Commons, laid before the House, and thereupon became part of the proceedings of the . .
CitedJohn Joseph Stockdale v James Hansard, Luke Graves Hansard, Luke James Hansard, And Luke Henry Hansard 1839
It is no defence in law to an action for publishing a libel that the defamatory matter is part of a document which was, by order of the House of Comnions, laid before the House, and thereupon became part of the proceedings of the House, and which . .
CitedBradlaugh v Gossett 9-Feb-1884
Bradlaugh, though duly elected Member for a Borough, was refused by the Speaker to administer oath and was excluded from the House by the serjeant at arms. B challenged the action.
Held: The matter related to the internal management of the . .
CitedRex v Eliot, Hollis and Valentine 1629
Proceedings were taken in the King’s Bench against three members of the House of Commons, who were charged with seditious speeches, contempt of the King (Charles I) in resisting the adjournment of the House and with conspiracy to keep the Speaker in . .
CitedPepper (Inspector of Taxes) v Hart HL 26-Nov-1992
Reference to Parliamentary Papers behind Statute
The inspector sought to tax the benefits in kind received by teachers at a private school in having their children educated at the school for free. Having agreed this was a taxable emolument, it was argued as to whether the taxable benefit was the . .
Not followedWright and Advertiser Newspapers Limited v Lewis 1990
(Supreme Court of South Australia) L, a member of the South Australia House of Assembly, alleged in the House that W had obtained an advantage from his close association with a former Government. W wrote to the newspaper, which published it, . .
CitedPickin v British Railways Board HL 30-Jan-1974
Courts Not to Investigate Parliament’s Actions
It was alleged that the respondent had misled Parliament to secure the passing of a private Act. The claimant said that the land taken from him under the Act was no longer required, and that he should be entitled to have it returned.
Held: . .
CitedChurch of Scientology of California v Johnson-Smith QBD 1971
The plaintiff church sued the defendant, a Member of Parliament, for remarks made by the defendant in a television programme. He pleaded fair comment and the plaintiff replied with a plea of malice, relying on statements made in Parliament. The . .
CitedBradlaugh v Gossett 9-Feb-1884
Bradlaugh, though duly elected Member for a Borough, was refused by the Speaker to administer oath and was excluded from the House by the serjeant at arms. B challenged the action.
Held: The matter related to the internal management of the . .
CitedAdam v Ward HL 1917
The plaintiff, Major Adam MP, falsely attacked General Scobell in a speech in the House of Commons, thus bringing his charge into the national arena. The Army Council investigated the charge, rejected it and directed their secretary, Sir E Ward, the . .
CitedDerbyshire County Council v Times Newspapers Ltd and Others HL 18-Feb-1993
Local Council may not Sue in Defamation
Local Authorities must be open to criticism as political and administrative bodies, and so cannot be allowed to sue in defamation. Such a right would operate as ‘a chill factor’ on free speech. Freedom of speech was the underlying value which . .
CitedNews Media Ownership v Finlay 1970
(New Zealand Court of Appeal ) The plaintiff, a Member of Parliament, brought libel proceedings against a newspaper in respect of an article appearing in the newspaper which alleged that the plaintiff had been acting improperly and for purposes of . .

Cited by:
CitedWilson v Secretary of State for Trade and Industry; Wilson v First County Trust Ltd (No 2) HL 10-Jul-2003
The respondent appealed against a finding that the provision which made a loan agreement completely invalid for lack of compliance with the 1974 Act was itself invalid under the Human Rights Act since it deprived the respondent of its property . .
CitedThe Bahamas District of the Methodist Church in the Caribbean and the Americas and Others v The Hon Vernon J Symonette M P Speaker of the House of Assembly and 7 Others (No 70 of 1998) and Ormond Hilton Poitier and 14 Others v The Methodist Church PC 26-Jul-2000
PC (The Bahamas) The Methodist community had split, eventually leading to a new Act. Others now challenged the constitionality of the Act, and that lands had been transferred in breach of the constitution.
CitedReynolds v Times Newspapers Ltd and others HL 28-Oct-1999
Fair Coment on Political Activities
The defendant newspaper had published articles wrongly accusing the claimant, the former Prime Minister of Ireland of duplicity. The paper now appealed, saying that it should have had available to it a defence of qualified privilege because of the . .
CitedHarmon CFEM Facades (UK) Limited v The Corporate Officer of The House of Commons TCC 28-Oct-1999
The claimant said that the respondent had awarded a contract for works at the House of Commons disregarding its obligations under European law as regards open tendering. . .
CitedJennings v Buchanan PC 14-Jul-2004
(New Zealand) (Attorney General of New Zealand intervening) The defendant MP had made a statement in Parliament which attracted parliamentary privilege. In a subsequent newspaper interview, he said ‘he did not resile from his claim’. He defended the . .
CitedHamilton v Al Fayed HL 23-Mar-2000
The claimant MP sued the defendant in defamation after he had alleged that the MP had corruptly solicited and received payments and benefits in kind as a reward for parliamentary services rendered.
Held: Parliament has protected by privilege . .
CitedCountryside Alliance and others v HM Attorney General and others Admn 29-Jul-2005
The various claimants sought to challenge the 2004 Act by way of judicial review on the grounds that it was ‘a disproportionate, unnecessary and illegitimate interference with their rights to choose how they conduct their lives, and with market . .
CitedWeir and others v Secretary of State for Transport and Another ChD 14-Oct-2005
The claimants were shareholders in Railtrack. They complained that the respondent had abused his position to place the company into receivership so as to avoid paying them compensation on a repurchase of the shares. Mr Byers was accused of ‘targeted . .
CitedBradley and Others, Regina (on the Application of) v Secretary of State for Work and Pensions Admn 21-Feb-2007
The claimant had lost his company pension and complained that the respondent had refused to follow the recommendation of the Parliamentary Commissioner for Administration that compensation should be paid.
Held: The court should not rely on . .
CitedOffice of Government Commerce v Information Commissioner and Another Admn 11-Apr-2008
The Office appealed against decisions ordering it to release information about the gateway reviews for the proposed identity card system, claiming a qualified exemption from disclosure under the 2000 Act.
Held: The decision was set aside for . .
CitedAge UK, Regina (On the Application of) v Attorney General Admn 25-Sep-2009
Age UK challenged the implementation by the UK of the Directive insofar as it established a default retirement age (DRA) at 65.
Held: The claim failed. The decision to adopt a DRA was not a disproportionate way of giving effect to the social . .
CitedRegina v Morley; Regina v Chaytor; Regina v Devine; Regina v Lord Hanningfield CC 11-Jun-2010
(Southwark Crown Court) The defendants faced charges of false accounting in connection with expense claims as members of parliament, three of the House of Commons and one of the Lords. Each claimed that the matter was covered by Parliamentary . .
CitedChaytor and Others, Regina v CACD 30-Jul-2010
The defendants had been members of the Houses of Commons and of Lords. They faced charges of dishonesty in respect of their expenses claims. They now appealed a finding that they were not subject to the exclusive jurisdiction of Parliament under . .
CitedChaytor and Others, Regina v SC 1-Dec-2010
The defendants faced trial on charges of false accounting in connection in different ways with their expenses claims whilst serving as members of the House of Commons. They appealed against rejection of their assertion that the court had no . .
CitedShergill and Others v Khaira and Others SC 11-Jun-2014
The parties disputed the trusts upon which three Gurdwaras (Sikh Temples) were held. The Court of Appeal had held that the issues underlying the dispute were to be found in matters of the faith of the Sikh parties, and had ordered a permanent stay. . .
CitedMakudi v Baron Triesman of Tottenham CA 26-Feb-2014
Appeal against strike out of claims for defamation and malicious falsehood. The defendant had given evidence to the Culture Media and Sport Select Committee of the House of Commons with material highly critical of the claimant, a member of FIFA’s . .
Distinguished on the factsBlake v Associated Newspapers Ltd QBD 31-Jul-2003
The claimant, a former Anglican priest, sued in defamation. The defendant argued that the claim was non-justiciable since it would require the court to adjudicate on matters of faith and religious doctrine.
Held: The claim could not be heard. . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Defamation, Constitutional

Leading Case

Updated: 01 November 2021; Ref: scu.85015

Gleaner Company Ltd and Another v Abrahams: PC 14 Jul 2003

Punitive Defamation Damages Order Sustained

(Jamaica) The appellants challenged a substantial award of damages for defamation. They had wrongfully accused a government minister of corruption. There was evidence of substantial financial loss. ‘For nearly sixteen years the defendants, with all the prestige and resources at their command, have doggedly resisted the attempts of Mr Abrahams to clear his name. They maintained their allegations far beyond the point when it became obvious that they had no evidence to support them.’ Damages awarded by a jury were to be respected, and in this case the appeal was denied.
Lord Hoffmann said: ‘. . the damages must be sufficient to demonstrate to the public that the plaintiff’s reputation has been vindicated. Particularly if the defendant has not apologised and withdrawn the defamatory allegations, the award must show that they have been publicly proclaimed to have inflicted a serious injury.’
Reference to awards in personal injury cases in defamation cases is controversial and is a matter on which different opinions may be held. Lord Hoffmann identified significant differences between damages for personal injury and damages for defamation, which give rise to the difficulty.

Lord Hoffmann, Lord Hope of Craighead, Lord Hobhouse of Woodborough, Lord Millett, The Rt. Hon. Justice Tipping
[2003] UKPC 55, Times 22-Jul-2003, Gazette 18-Sep-2003, [2004] 1 AC 628, [2003] 3 WLR 1038, [2003] EMLR 3, (2003) 63 WIR 197
Bailii, PC
England and Wales
Citing:
CitedMedcalf v Mardell, Weatherill and Another HL 27-Jun-2002
The appellants were barristers against whom wasted costs orders had been made. They appealed. They had made allegations of fraud in pleadings, but without being able to provide evidence to support the allegation. This was itself a breach of the Bar . .
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. . .
CitedRookes v Barnard (No 1) HL 21-Jan-1964
The court set down the conditions for the award of exemplary damages. There are two categories. The first is where there has been oppressive or arbitrary conduct by a defendant. Cases in the second category are those in which the defendant’s conduct . .
CitedJohn v MGN Ltd CA 12-Dec-1995
Defamation – Large Damages Awards
MGN appealed as to the level of damages awarded against it namely pounds 350,000 damages, comprising pounds 75,000 compensatory damages and pounds 275,000 exemplary damages. The newspaper contended that as a matter of principle there is no scope in . .
CitedSutcliffe v Pressdram Ltd CA 1991
A 600,000 pound compensatory award was set aside by the Court of Appeal on the grounds that it must have been made on the wrong basis, almost certainly so as to punish Private Eye. The Court of Appeal could not substitute its own award for that of a . .
CitedRantzen v Mirror Group Newspapers (1986) Ltd and Others CA 1-Apr-1993
Four articles in the People all covered the same story about Esther Rantzen’s organisation, Childline, suggesting that the plaintiff had protected a teacher who had revealed to Childline abuses of children occurring at a school where he taught, by . .
CitedKiam v MGN Ltd CA 28-Jan-2002
Where a court regards a jury award in a defamation case as excessive, a ‘proper’ award can be substituted for it is not whatever sum court thinks appropriate, wholly uninfluenced by jury’s view, but the highest award which a jury could reasonably . .
CitedMcCarey v Associated Newspapers Ltd (No 2) CA 1965
References to damages awards in personal injury actions were legitimate in directing a defamation jury on quantum. . .
CitedAustralian Consolidated Press Limited v Uren PC 24-Jul-1967
The Board declined to interfere with the decision of the High Court of Australia not to review its jurisprudence on exemplary damages: ‘[I]n a sphere of law where its policy calls for decision and where its policy in a particular country is . .
CitedTolstoy Miloslavsky v United Kingdom ECHR 19-Jul-1995
The applicant had been required to pay andpound;124,900 as security for the respondent’s costs as a condition of his appeal against an award of damages in a defamation case.
Held: It followed from established case law that article 6(1) did not . .

Cited by:
CitedGeorge Galloway MP v Telegraph Group Ltd QBD 2-Dec-2004
The claimant MP alleged defamation in articles by the defendant newspaper. They claimed to have found papers in Iraqi government offices after the invasion of Iraq which implicated the claimant. The claimant said the allegations were grossly . .
CitedCollins Stewart Ltd and Another v The Financial Times Ltd QBD 20-Oct-2004
The claimants sought damages for defamation. The claimed that the article had caused very substantial losses (andpound;230 million) to them by affecting their market capitalisation value. The defendant sought to strike out that part of the claim. . .
CitedAdelson and Another v Associated Newspapers QBD 19-Feb-2008
Complaint was made that an article was defamatory of the owner of Manchester United. The defendant now argued that the game was not worth the candle. The costs vastly exceeded any possible recovery, and it had openly offered vindication, and that . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Defamation, Damages

Leading Case

Updated: 01 November 2021; Ref: scu.184660

Barron and Others v Collins: QBD 16 May 2016

The defendant MEP sought an order staying the defamation action brought against her by four MPs from the Rotherham area. She said that as an MEP she had a procedural immunity. She had informed the European Commission that she sought the protection which might be available.
Held: The right approach to the decision in Marra is to treat the term ‘informed’ as requiring a formal communication to the court from the Parliament. There is good reason for that approach, as it gives effect to the underlying principle which is one of co-operation between the Parliament and the national bodies, in their capacities as institutions. Further, this approach allows the Parliament a role in assessing a request for the defence of privilege before it decides to communicate with a national court. The stay should be granted pending the reply of the Parliament, but it would then be for the national court to make the decision.

Warby J
[2016] EWHC 1166 (QB)
Bailii
Citing:
CitedCriminal Proceedings Against Zwartveld and Others ECJ 13-Jul-1990
Europa European Communities – Institutions – Obligations – Duty to cooperate with national authorities acting to ensure respect for Community law – Implementation – Disclosure of documents and authorization of . .
CitedMarra v De Gregorio C-200/07 ECJ 21-Oct-2008
ECJ Reference for a preliminary ruling European- Parliament – Leaflet issued by a Member of the European Parliament containing insulting remarks Claim for non-pecuniary damages Immunity of Members of the European . .
CitedPatriciello (Privileges And Immunities) ECJ 9-Jun-2011
ECJ Member of the European Parliament – Article 8 of the Protocol on the Privileges and Immunities – Scope of the concept of’opinion expressed in the exercise of parliamentary duties’ – Criminal proceedings for . .
See AlsoBarron MP and Others v Collins MEP QBD 29-Apr-2015
Trial of preliminary issues in for defamation. The claimants, MPs for Rotherham areas, said that a speech by the defendant to the UKIP conference and repeated on TV contained assertions defamatory of them.
Held: The words complained of bore . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Defamation, European, Constitutional

Updated: 01 November 2021; Ref: scu.564497

Mardas v New York Times Company and Another: QBD 17 Dec 2008

The claimant sought damages in defamation. The US publisher defendants denied that there had been any sufficient publication in the UK and that the court did not have jurisdiction. The claimant appealed the strike out of the claims.
Held: The master had made assessments on a summary hearing of facts which were in dispute. The judgment in default was set aside. ‘Although the Claimant is now resident in Greece (within the European Union), he is well known in this jurisdiction and lived here, I understand, from 1963 to 1996. Also, he has two children who live here and have British nationality. There is no artificiality about seeking to protect his reputation within this country’ and ‘what matters is whether there has been a real and substantial tort within the jurisdiction (or arguably so). This cannot depend upon a numbers game, with the court fixing an arbitrary minimum according to the facts of the case.’

Eady J
[2008] EWHC 3135 (QB), [2009] EMLR 8
Bailii
England and Wales
Citing:
CitedDow Jones and Co Inc v Jameel CA 3-Feb-2005
Presumption of Damage in Defamation is rebuttable
The defendant complained that the presumption in English law that the victim of a libel had suffered damage was incompatible with his right to a fair trial. They said the statements complained of were repetitions of statements made by US . .
CitedKroch v Rossell CA 1937
The plaintiff brought libel proceedings against the publishers of French and Belgian newspapers. He obtained permission to serve each defendant out of the jurisdiction on the ground that a small number of copies of each newspaper had been published . .
CitedAldi Stores Ltd v WSP Group Plc and others CA 28-Nov-2007
Aldi appealed against an order striking out as an abuse of process its claims against the defendant on a construction dispute. The defendant said the claims should have been brought as part of earlier proceedings.
Held: The appeal succeeded. . .
CitedDingle v Associated Newspapers HL 1964
The plaintiff complained of an article written in the Daily Mail which included the reporting of a report of a Parliamentary select committee. The reporting of the select committee’s report was privileged under the Parliamentary Papers Act 1840. At . .
CitedPfeifer v Austria ECHR 15-Nov-2007
The right to protect one’s honour and reputation is to be treated as falling within the protection of Article 8: ‘a person’s reputation, even if that person is criticised in the context of a public debate, forms part of his or her personal identity . .
CitedSteinberg v Pritchard Englefield (A Firm) and Another CA 3-Mar-2005
The defendant appealed dismissal of his defence to an action in defamation.
Held: The court proceeded in his absence, discerning two grounds of appeal from the papers. He had suggested that he awaited pro bono representation but was by . .
CitedShevill and Others v Presse Alliance SA HL 26-Jul-1996
A libel case against a French paper was rightly brought in UK despite the small (250 copies nationally and 5 in the plaintiff’s local area (Yorkshire)) circulation here. The Brussels Convention allows a claim for defamation in UK though the main . .
CitedPolanski v Conde Nast Publications Ltd HL 10-Feb-2005
The claimant wished to pursue his claim for defamation against the defendant, but was reluctant to return to the UK to give evidence, fearing arrest and extradition to the US. He appealed refusal of permission to be interviewed on video tape. Held . .
CitedAffaire Radio France et autres v France ECHR 30-Mar-2004
A person’s right to protect his/her reputation is among the rights guaranteed by ECHR Article 8 as an element of the right to respect for private life. . .
CitedLoutchansky v The Times Newspapers Ltd and Others (Nos 2 to 5) CA 5-Dec-2001
Two actions for defamation were brought by the claimant against the defendant. The publication reported in detail allegations made against the claimant of criminal activities including money-laundering on a vast scale. They admitted the defamatory . .
CitedSchellenberg v British Broadcasting Corporation QBD 2000
The claimant had settled defamation actions against the Guardian and the Sunday Times on disadvantageous terms, when it seemed likely that he was about to lose. He then pressed on with this almost identical action against the BBC.
Held: A . .
CitedBerezovsky v Forbes Inc and Michaels; Glouchkov v Same HL 16-May-2000
Plaintiffs who lived in Russia sought damages for defamation against an American magazine with a small distribution in England. Both plaintiffs had real connections with and reputations in England. A judgment in Russia would do nothing to repair the . .
CitedGutnick v Dow Jones 28-Aug-2001
(High Court of Victoria) Callinan J said: ‘A publisher, particularly one carrying on the business of publishing, does not act to put matter on the Internet in order for it to reach a small target. It is its ubiquity which is one of the main . .

Cited by:
CitedHaji-Ioannou v Dixon, Regus Group Plc and Another QBD 6-Feb-2009
The defendants sought to strike out the defamation claim on the basis that it was an abuse of process. It was brought by the founder of Easyjet against senior officers of a company in a new venture. The claimant had alleged misuse of confidential . .
CitedDhir v Saddler QBD 6-Dec-2017
Slander damages reduced for conduct
Claim in slander. The defendant was said, at a church meeting to have accused the client of threatening to slit her throat. The defendant argued that the audience of 80 was not large enough.
Held: ‘the authorities demonstrate that it is the . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Defamation, Jurisdiction

Updated: 01 November 2021; Ref: scu.278860

Sobrinho v Impresa Publishing Sa: QBD 22 Jan 2016

Dingemans J considered the effect of s 1 of the 201 Act: ‘first, a claimant must now establish, in addition to the requirements of the common law relating to defamatory statements, that the statement complained of has in fact caused or is likely to cause serious harm to his reputation. ‘Serious’ is an ordinary word in common usage. Section 1 requires the claimant to prove as a fact, on the balance of probabilities, that the statement complained of has caused or will probably cause serious harm to the claimant’s reputation. It should be noted that unless serious harm to reputation can be established an injury to feelings alone, however grave, will not be sufficient.
Secondly it is open to the claimant to call evidence in support of his case on serious harm and it is open to the defendant to call evidence to demonstrate that no serious harm has occurred or is likely to do so. However, a Court determining the issue of serious harm is, as in all cases, entitled to draw inferences based on the admitted evidence. Mass media publications of very serious defamatory allegations are likely to render the need for evidence of serious harm unnecessary. This does not mean that the issue of serious harm is a ‘numbers game’. Reported cases have shown that very serious harm to a reputation can be caused by the publication of a defamatory statement to one person.
Thirdly there are obvious difficulties in getting witnesses to say that they read the words and thought badly of the claimant, compare Ames v The Spamhouse Project [2015] EWHC 127 (QB) . . This is because the claimant will have an understandable desire not to spread the contents of the article complained of by asking persons if they have read it and what they think of the claimant, and because persons who think badly of the claimant are not likely to co-operate in providing evidence.
Fourthly, where there are publications about the same subject matter which are not the subject of complaint (because of limitation issues or because of jurisdictional issues) there can be difficult points of causation which arise: see Tesla Motors v BBC [2013] EWCA (Civ) 152 and Karpov v Browder and others [2013] EMLR 3071 (QB); [2014] EMLR 8. The decision of the House of Lords in Associated Newspapers v Dingle [1964] AC 371 does not prevent these difficulties. That decision was not a decision on causation. The decision in Dingle prevents a defendant from relying in mitigation of damages for libel on the fact that the same or similar defamatory material has been published in other newspapers about the same claimant. Dingle does not address the issue of whether a publication has caused serious harm.
Fifthly, as Bingham LJ stated in Slipper v BBC [1991] QB 283 at 300, the law would part company with the realities of life if it held that the damage caused by publication of a libel began and ended with publication to the original publishee. Defamatory statements are objectionable not least because of their propensity ‘to percolate through underground channels and contaminate hidden springs’ through what has sometimes been called ‘the grapevine effect’. . . ‘

Dingemans J
[2016] EWHC 66 (QB), [2016] EMLR 12
Bailii
Defamation Act 2013 1
England and Wales
Cited by:
CitedEconomou v De Freitas QBD 27-Jul-2016
Failed action for defamation on rape allegations
The claimant had been accused by the defendant’s daughter of rape. He was never charged but sought to prosecute her alleging intent to pervert the course of justice. She later killed herself. The defendant sought to have the inquest extended to . .
CitedTurley v Unite The Union and Another QBD 19-Dec-2019
Defamation of Labour MP by Unite and Blogger
The claimant now a former MP had alleged that a posting on a website supported by the first defendant was false and defamatory. The posting suggested that the claimant had acted dishonestly in applying online for a category of membership of the . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Defamation

Leading Case

Updated: 01 November 2021; Ref: scu.559169

Bento v The Chief Constable of Bedfordshire Police: QBD 1 Jun 2012

bento_ccbpQBD2012

The claimant had been convicted of the murder of his girlfriend. On his acquittal on appeal, the police criticised the CPS decision not to retry the claimant, in effect, the claimant now said, continuing the accusation against him, and so defaming him. The defendant pleaded justification.
Held: The prosecution case rested in substantial part on now discredited evidence that the deceased was carrying a bag when last seen, which bag had later been found with the claimant, and ‘while it is possible that Mr Bento killed Kamila, the balance of probabilities is that he did not and that she committed suicide. The defence of justification therefore fails.’
As to qualified privilege, no case had been found where this had been sought for a statement by one public body as to the actions of anoher. The defence of qualified privilege failed.
Judgment was given for the claimant in the sum of andpound;125,000.

Bean J
[2012] EWHC 1525 (QB)
Bailii
Citing:
Not followedHalford v Brookes CA 1991
The plaintiff, the mother and administratrix of the estate of a 16 year old girl, alleged that her daughter had been murdered by one or both of the Defendants. The claim was for damages for battery. Rougier J at first instance had decided that: . .
CitedIn re H and R (Minors) (Child Sexual Abuse: Standard of Proof) HL 14-Dec-1995
Evidence allowed – Care Application after Abuse
Children had made allegations of serious sexual abuse against their step-father. He was acquitted at trial, but the local authority went ahead with care proceedings. The parents appealed against a finding that a likely risk to the children had still . .
CitedAN, Regina (on the Application of) v Mental Health Review Tribunal (Northern Region) and others CA 21-Dec-2005
The appellant was detained under section 37 of the 1983 Act as a mental patient with a restriction under section 41. He sought his release.
Held: The standard of proof in such applications remained the balance of probabilities, but that . .
CitedIn re D; Doherty, Re (Northern Ireland); Life Sentence Review Commissioners v D HL 11-Jun-2008
The Sentence Review Commissioners had decided not to order the release of the prisoner, who was serving a life sentence. He had been released on licence from a life sentence and then committed further serious sexual offences against under-age girls . .
ApprovedAlexander v Arts Council of Wales QBD 20-Jul-2000
A representative of the Arts Council of Wales was held to have been protected by qualified privilege in making statements at a press conference held to explain the Council’s refusal of a particular application for arts funding, and after the . .
CitedReynolds v Times Newspapers Ltd and others HL 28-Oct-1999
Fair Coment on Political Activities
The defendant newspaper had published articles wrongly accusing the claimant, the former Prime Minister of Ireland of duplicity. The paper now appealed, saying that it should have had available to it a defence of qualified privilege because of the . .
DoubtedBhatt v Chelsea and Westminster NHS Trust QBD 16-Oct-1997
The defendant trust’s press officer had issued information to the press which was defamatory of the claimant in response to inquiries from the press indicating that articles based on the claimant’s criticisms of the trust were about to be published. . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Defamation

Updated: 01 November 2021; Ref: scu.459899

Horrocks v Lowe: HL 1974

The plaintiff complained of an alleged slander spoken at a meeting of the Town Council. The council meeting was an occasion attracting qualified privilege. The judge at trial found that the councillor honestly believed that what he had said in the meeting was true but he had become so anxious to have the other councillor removed from a Committee that he did not consider fairly and objectively whether the evidence he had in his possession justified his conclusions or comments. It followed that the statements were published maliciously and the defence of qualified privilege failed. The Court of Appeal allowed the defendant’s appeal.
Held: The CA decision was upheld. An allegation of malice is a very serious allegation and is generally tantamount to dishonesty. The House considered the circumstances under which a defendant in a defamation case can establish the defence of qualified privilege.
Lord Diplock said: ‘as a general rule English law gives effect to the ninth commandment that a man shall not speak evil falsely of his neighbour. It supplies a temporal sanction: if he cannot prove that defamatory matter which he published was true, he is liable in damages to whomever he has defamed, except where publication is oral only, causes no damage and falls outside the categories of slander actionable per se. The public interest that the law should provide an effective means whereby a man can vindicate his reputation against calumny has nevertheless to be accommodated to the competing public interest in permitting men to communicate frankly and freely with one another about matters in respect of which the law recognises that they have a duty to perform or an interest to protect in doing so. What is published in good faith on matters of these kinds is published on a privileged occasion. It is not actionable even though it be defamatory and turns out to be untrue. With some exceptions which are irrelevant to the instant appeal, the privilege is not absolute but qualified. It is lost if the occasion which gives rise to it is misused. For in all cases of qualified privilege there is some special reason of public policy why the law accords immunity from suit – the existence of some public or private duty, whether legal or moral, on the part of the maker of the defamatory statement which justifies his communicating it or of some interest of his own which he is entitled to protect by doing so. If he uses the occasion for some other reason he loses the protection of the privilege.’
Indifference to truth is not to be equated with carelessness, impulsiveness or irrationality in arriving at a positive belief that what is said is true: ‘In ordinary life it is rare indeed for people to form their beliefs by a process of logical deduction from facts ascertained by a rigorous search for all available evidence and a judicious assessment of its probative value. In greater or in less degree according to their temperaments, their training, their intelligence, they are swayed by prejudice, rely on intuition instead of reasoning, leap to conclusions on inadequate evidence and fail to recognise the cogency of material which might cast doubt on the validity of the conclusions they reach. But despite the imperfection of the mental process by which the belief is arrived at it may still be ‘honest’, that is, a positive belief that the conclusions they have reached are true. The law demands no more.’
and
‘The exception is where what is published incorporates defamatory matter that is not really necessary to fulfilment of the particular duty or the protection of the particular interest upon which the privilege is founded. Logically it might be said that such irrelevant matter falls outside the privilege altogether. But if this were so it would involve application by the court of an objective test of relevance to every part of the defamatory matter published on the privileged occasion; whereas, as everyone knows, ordinary human beings vary in their ability to distinguish that which is logically relevant from that which is not and few, apart from lawyers, have had any training which qualifies them to do so. So the protection afforded by the privilege would be illusory if it were lost in respect of any defamatory matter which upon logical analysis could be shown to be irrelevant to the fulfilment of the duty or the protection of the right upon which the privilege was founded . . As regards irrelevant matter the test is not whether it is logically relevant but whether, in all the circumstances, it can be inferred that the defendant either did not believe it to be true or, though believing it to be true, realised that it had nothing to do with the particular duty or interest on which the privilege was based, but nevertheless seized the opportunity to drag in irrelevant defamatory matter to vent his personal spite, or for some other improper motive. Here, too, judges and juries should be slow to draw this inference.’

Lord Diplock
[1975] AC 135, [1974] 1 All ER 662
England and Wales
Citing:
CitedAdam v Ward HL 1917
The plaintiff, Major Adam MP, falsely attacked General Scobell in a speech in the House of Commons, thus bringing his charge into the national arena. The Army Council investigated the charge, rejected it and directed their secretary, Sir E Ward, the . .

Cited by:
CitedHalford v Chief Constable of Hampshire Constabulary, Curtis CA 13-Feb-2003
The claimant appealed orders in favour of the defendant that statements, which he claimed were defamatory, were made in situations attracting qualified privilege. Allegations had been made by his step-children that the claimant had assaulted them. . .
CitedBranson v Bower QBD 2001
The objective test for fair comment is whether it would be perverse for a jury to hold that the comments are not such that an honest person could express them in the light of the facts known by the Defendants at the date of publication. Hard-hitting . .
CitedMeade v Pugh and Another QBD 5-Mar-2004
The claimant was a social work student. He attended a work experience placement, and challenged the report given by the defendants on that placement, saying it was discriminatory and defamatory. He appealed a strike out of his claim.
Held: The . .
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 . .
CitedHeath v Humphreys 21-May-1990
The court considered the circumstances under which malice could be established so as to defeat a claim of qualified privilege. Malice is not to be inferred from the hypothetical untruth of a proposition derived from a misconstruction of a . .
CitedLoveless v Earl; Capital and Counties (Financial Services) Limited CA 4-Nov-1998
When a defendant claimed qualified privilege and the Plaintiff alleged that the words complained of were issued with malice, the defendant will not prevented from reliance on qualified privilege if it can show that the words have an honestly . .
CitedFraser v Mirza HL 29-Mar-1993
A complaint made against a police officer may be libellous if it was made with an improper motive: ‘The motive with which a person made a defamatory communication can only be ascertained from an examination of his state of mind at the time he made . .
CitedReynolds v Times Newspapers Ltd and others HL 28-Oct-1999
Fair Coment on Political Activities
The defendant newspaper had published articles wrongly accusing the claimant, the former Prime Minister of Ireland of duplicity. The paper now appealed, saying that it should have had available to it a defence of qualified privilege because of the . .
CitedStreet v Derbyshire Unemployed Workers’ Centre CA 21-Jul-2004
The claimant alleged that she had been dismissed for making qualifying disclosures about her employers. The employer said that her actions had not been in good faith. The claimant answered that her motive was irrelevant. The claimant appealed . .
CitedMilne v Express Newspapers CA 28-May-2004
The claimant, having not accepted an offer to make amends, wanted to proceed to a jury trial. To be permitted to do so, he had to seek to establish that the defendants ‘knew or had reason to believe that the statement complained of . . was both . .
CitedNail and Another v News Group Newspapers Ltd and others CA 20-Dec-2004
The claimant appealed the award of damages in his claim for defamation. The defendants had variously issued apologies. The claimant had not complained initially as to one publication.
Held: In defamation proceedings the damage to feelings is . .
CitedJameel and Another v Wall Street Journal Europe Sprl (No 2) CA 3-Feb-2005
The claimant sought damages for an article published by the defendant, who argued that as a corporation, the claimant corporation needed to show special damage, and also that the publication had qualified privilege.
Held: ‘It is an established . .
CitedPanday v Gordon PC 5-Oct-2005
(Trinidad and Tobago) A senior politician had accused an opponent of pseudo-racism. The defendant asserted that he had a defence under the constitution, allowing freedom of political speech.
Held: The appeal failed. The statements were . .
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, . .
CitedTesco Stores Ltd v Guardian News and Media Ltd and Another QBD 29-Jul-2008
The defendant newspaper published articles making allegations as to the use of offshore tax avoidance arrangements. The claimant sought damages also in malicious falsehood. The defendants sought to rely on an offer of amends served only a few . .
CitedQuinton v Peirce and Another QBD 30-Apr-2009
One election candidate said that another had defamed him in an election leaflet. Additional claims were made in injurious falsehood and under the Data Protection Act.
Held: The claim in defamation failed. There were no special privileges in . .
DistinguishedClift v Slough Borough Council and Another QBD 6-Jul-2009
clift_sloughQBD09
The claimant sought damages for defamation. The council had decided that she had threatened a member of staff and notified various people, and entered her name on a violent persons register. She alleged malice, the council pleaded justification and . .
CitedWatts v Times Newspapers Ltd, Neil, Palmer and Schilling and Lom CA 28-Jul-1995
The plaintiff author had claimed damages for defamation, saying that he had been accused of plagiarism. An apology had been given in the form requested – no qualified privilege. The plaintiff brought an associated case against his lawyer, saying . .
CitedKJO v XIM QBD 7-Jul-2011
The claimant had, some 20 years previously, been convicted and sentenced for forgery of a will. The defendants, relatives, had ever since written to those with whom he had dealings to tell them of the conviction and facts. The claimant, unable to . .
CitedThornton v Telegraph Media Group Ltd QBD 26-Jul-2011
The claimant alleged defamation and malicious falsehood in an article published and written by the defendants. She complained that she was said to have fabricated an interview with the second defendant for her book. An interview of sorts had now . .
CitedTilbrook v Parr QBD 13-Jul-2012
The claimant, chair of a political party, the English Democrats, said that a blog written and published on the Internet by the defendant was defamatory and contained malicious falsehoods. The blog was said to associate the claimant’s party with . .
CitedSeray-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 . .
CitedMakudi v Baron Triesman of Tottenham In London Borough of Haringey QBD 1-Feb-2013
makudi_triesmanQBD2013
The claimant, former chairman of the Thailand Football Association, claimed in defamation against the defendant who had been chairman of the English Football Association. The defendant asked the court to strike out the claim, saying that some of the . .
CitedKhader v Aziz and Others CA 23-Jun-2010
The claimant brought defamation proceedings after she had found and returned a valuable necklace belonging to the first respondent. The claim had been dismissed as an abuse of process.
Held: The claimant’s appeal failed: ‘there is such a . .
CitedGreenstein v Campaign Against Antisemitism CA 9-Jul-2021
Failure to plead decisive malice allegation
Appeal by the claimant against an order following a judgment striking out particulars of malice pleaded in the amended reply, among other determinations. Judgment was then entered in favour of the Campaign Against Antisemitsm in respect of a claim . .
CitedHerbage v Pressdram Ltd CA 1984
There was a publication of articles which referred to convictions which were spent under the 1974 Act. The court restated the principle in Bonnard v Perryman: ‘These principles have evolved because of the value the court has placed on freedom of . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Defamation

Leading Case

Updated: 01 November 2021; Ref: scu.179329

Dzhugashvili v Russia (Dec) (Joseph Stalin): ECHR 9 Dec 2014

No defamation for deceased grandfather

ECHR Article 8-1
Respect for private life
Dismissal of claim for defamation of applicant’s grandfather, the former Soviet leader Joseph Stalin: inadmissible
Facts – The applicant is the grandson of the former Soviet leader, Joseph Stalin. In 2009 he sued the Novaya Gazeta newspaper for defamation after it published an article accusing leaders of the Soviet Politburo, including Stalin, of being ‘bound by much blood’ in the order to execute Polish prisoners of war at Katyn in 1940. The article described Stalin as a ‘bloodthirsty cannibal’ and also alleged that the Soviet leaders had ‘evaded moral responsibility for the extremely serious crime’. The District Court dismissed the claim after finding that the article contributed to a factual debate on a question of profound historical discussion and that Stalin’s role as a world-famous figure called for a higher degree of tolerance to public scrutiny and criticism.
The newspaper subsequently published a further article giving the background to the defamation proceedings. The applicant again sued, but his claim was dismissed on the grounds that the article constituted an expression of the author’s view of the initial defamation proceedings.
Law – Article 8: The Court reaffirmed the principle that publications concerning the reputation of a deceased member of a person’s family might, in certain circumstances, affect that person’s private life and identity and thus come within the scope of Article 8 (see Putistin v. Ukraine, 16882/03, 21 November 2013, Information Note 168). However, it distinguished between defamation of a private individual (as in Putistin), whose reputation as part and parcel of their families’ reputation remains within the scope of Article 8, and legitimate criticism of public figures who, by taking up leadership roles, expose themselves to outside scrutiny.
In the applicant’s case, the newspaper’s publication of the first article had contributed to a historical debate of public importance, concerning Joseph Stalin and his alleged role in the Katyn shootings. The second article concerned the author’s interpretation of the domestic court’s findings and could therefore be seen as a continuation of the same discussion. Furthermore, the Katyn tragedy and the related historical figures’ alleged roles and responsibilities inevitably remained open to public scrutiny and criticism, as they presented a matter of general interest for society. Given that cases such as the present one required the right to respect for private life to be balanced against the right to freedom of expression, the Court reiterated that it was an integral part of freedom of expression, guaranteed under Article 10 of the Convention, to seek historical truth.
In conformity with the principles laid down in the Court’s case-law, the national courts had considered that the articles contributed to a factual debate on events of exceptional public interest and importance, had found that Stalin’s historic role called for a high degree of tolerance to public scrutiny and criticism of his personality and actions, and had taken the highly emotional presentation of the opinions outlined within the articles into consideration, finding that they fell within the limits of acceptable criticism.
The national courts had thus struck a fair balance between the applicant’s privacy rights and journalistic freedom of expression.
Conclusion: inadmissible (manifestly ill-founded).

41123/10 – Legal Summary, [2014] ECHR 1448
Bailii
European Convention on Human Rights

Human Rights, Media, Defamation

Updated: 01 November 2021; Ref: scu.569487

Hays Plc v Hartley: QBD 17 May 2010

hays_hartleyQBD10

Mr Hartley operated a news agency, and provided to the publisher of the Sunday Mirror, MGN Ltd, allegations of racism that had been levelled at the claimant company by former employees. The allegations were reported in an article headed ”KKK chants’ and racist abuse claim at top firm But recruitment bosses fight 3 black workers’ tribunal case’. The claimant sued the defendant, but not MGN, and sought to strike out the defendant’s claims of qualified privilege and abuse of process. The employees substantially withdrew their allegations. Apologies had been forwarded and printed. The defendant now argued that the action was being pursued by the claimant only to avoid a costs order.
Held: The continued action was to be stayed as an abuse. The only human rights element at issue, given that the claimant was a company, was the defendant’s Article 10 right of freedom of speech. The company had discontinued its claim against the newspaper anticipatng a Reynold’s defence. The main action being settled, there was now no prospect of any continued claim recovering anything beyond nominal damages, and a judgment could not significantly add to the vindication already given in the public statement.
The Reynolds defence might be available to someone who contributed to the publication of a newspaper article: The Defendant’s practice, which he followed in this case, is to seek to filter out stories which are obviously false, and to forward them on to another journalist to be given further investigation. . . The Defendant does not assume all the tasks that would have to be performed before publication to the world at large could be held to be responsible journalism. For example, he does not check the story with the subject of the story whom might be defamed. He has established relationships with other journalists. He does not publish to the world at large, and his understanding with the journalists to whom he does publish stories is that they, or the organisations for which they work, will carry out the tasks necessary to be performed if publication to the world is to be counted as responsible journalism. He published the words complained of to the Journalist and through him to MGN on that understanding. They agreed that MGN would need to take legal advice. He was justified by events: MGN did publish to the world, and they did so in a form which met the requirement of responsible journalism.
it is not necessary for the Defendant to have acted as if he was the person who made the publication to the world at large. He acted responsibly in confining his publication to one publishee in the circumstances and on the understanding set out above. That is sufficient. The Strasbourg Court has recognised the need to give protection to sources in the different context of disclosure of sources. But the same principles require Reynolds privilege to be afforded to at least an intermediate source such as the Defendant. See Financial Times v UK Application no 821/03 [2009] ECHR 2065 59′ and ‘ it is necessary to consider what might have happened if the corporate defendant D1 had succeeded, on the basis that (acting through its representatives) it had satisfied the requirements of responsible journalism. Suppose the individual defendants worked on the story performing different roles, so that only one of the individual defendants D2 had taken steps to verify the information and sought comment from the subject of the story, while the other D3 had done neither of these things, but had confined himself to receiving information from the source or sources. The appeals of D1 and D2 would then have succeeded. Would the appeal of D3 failed? My provisional view is that that would be contrary to the principles that the House of Lords was formulating. I see no principle on the basis of which each defendant has individually to satisfy all the criteria for responsible journalism, regardless of whether he is one of a number of individuals contributing to the final publication in circumstances where the roles are shared out or the tasks distributed. If that provisional view is right, the next question arising is: would it make any difference if D3 was not employed by D1, but freelance, or if (like the Defendant) he was providing a service to the source?
That as it seems to me is the question that is raised in this case. This is a point which is an important one and may be fact sensitive.’

Tugendhat J
[2010] EWHC 1068 (QB)
Bailii
Citing:
CitedCollins Stewart Ltd and Another v The Financial Times Ltd QBD 25-Feb-2005
The court considered whether damages in a defamation action pursued in respect of one publication were to be increased by subsequent publications not themselves the subject of a claim. . .
CitedGoldsmith v Sperrings Ltd CA 1977
Claims for Collateral Purpose treated as abuse
The plaintiff commenced proceedings for damages for libel and an injunction against the publishers, the editors and the main distributors of Private Eye. In addition, he issued writs against a large number of other wholesale and retail distributors . .
CitedJameel v Wall Street Journal Europe Sprl HL 11-Oct-2006
The House was asked as to the capacity of a limited company to sue for damage to its reputation, where it had no trading activity within the jurisdiction, and as to the extent of the Reynolds defence. The defendants/appellants had published an . .
CitedDow Jones and Co Inc v Jameel CA 3-Feb-2005
Presumption of Damage in Defamation is rebuttable
The defendant complained that the presumption in English law that the victim of a libel had suffered damage was incompatible with his right to a fair trial. They said the statements complained of were repetitions of statements made by US . .
MentionedDuke of Brunswick v Harmer QBD 2-Nov-1849
brunswick_harmerQBD1849
On 19 September 1830 an article was published in the Weekly Dispatch. The limitation period for libel was six years. The article defamed the Duke of Brunswick. Seventeen years after its publication an agent of the Duke purchased a back number . .
CitedIn re Majory, a debtor CA 1955
The debtor challenged the bankruptcy petition and receiving order saying that the creditor had attempted in connection with the proceedings to extort andpound;8 15s from the debtor in excess of the sums lawfully due under a court judgment. He said . .
CitedShackleton v Swift CA 1913
The Act gave special protection to officers and others acting under its powers in cases where, although they might have misconstrued the Act, and although they might have done things which they had no jurisdiction to do, they had acted in good faith . .
CitedMcManus and others v Beckham CA 4-Jul-2002
The claimant sought damages from the defendant who was a pop star, and had vociferously, publicly, and wrongly accused the claimant of selling pictures with fake autographs of her husband. The defendant obtained an order striking out the claim on . .
CitedDee v Telegraph Media Group Ltd QBD 28-Apr-2010
The newspaper sought summary judgment in its defence of the defamation claim. The article labelled the claimant as the world’s worst professional tennis player. The paper said he had no prospect of succeeding once the second article in the same . .

Cited by:
CitedLewis v Commissioner of Police of The Metropolis and Others (Rev 1) QBD 31-Mar-2011
lewis_cpmQBD11
The defendant sought a ruling on the meaning of the words but using section 69(4) of the 1981 Act. The claimant solicitor was acting in complaints as to the unlawful interception of celebrity voicemails by agents of the press. There had been debate . .
CitedCitation Plc v Ellis Whittam Ltd CA 8-Mar-2013
The parties competed in providing employment law services. The claimant complained of slanderous comments said to have been made by the defendant in discussions with a firm of solicitors seeking to select a firm. The claimant now appealed against . .
CitedEconomou v De Freitas QBD 27-Jul-2016
Failed action for defamation on rape allegations
The claimant had been accused by the defendant’s daughter of rape. He was never charged but sought to prosecute her alleging intent to pervert the course of justice. She later killed herself. The defendant sought to have the inquest extended to . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Defamation

Updated: 31 October 2021; Ref: scu.415097

Grubb v Bristol United Press Ltd: CA 1963

Pearce LJ discussed the importance of the use of extrinsic facts in determining meaning in defamation cases, saying: ‘any innuendo (that is, any allegation that the words were used in a defamatory sense other than their ordinary meaning) cannot rely on a mere interpretation of the words of the libel itself but must be supported by extrinsic facts or matters. Thus, there is one cause of action for the libel itself, based on whatever imputations or implications can reasonably be derived from the words themselves, and there is another different cause of action, namely, the innuendo, based not merely on the libel itself but on an extended meaning created by a conjunction of the words with something outside them. The latter cause of action cannot come into existence unless there is some extrinsic fact to create the extended meaning.’
Pearce LJ
[1963] 1 QB 309
England and Wales
Cited by:
CitedAjinomoto Sweeteners Europe Sas v Asda Stores Ltd QBD 15-Jul-2009
ajinomoto_asdaQBD2009
The claimant said that the defendant’s characterisation of its own products as ‘Good for You’ by reference to a description saying that it did not include the claimant’s product as a component, was a malicious falsehood. The defendant sold other . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.
Updated: 20 October 2021; Ref: scu.374704

Scot And His Wife v Hilliar: 1605

Action for slander for accusing the plaintiff’s wife that she would have cut her husband’s throat, and did attempt to do it.
Held: No action lay for the words, ‘she would have cut her husband’s throat’, but that an action was maintainable for the remaining words which charged an attempt
Hutton Sgt
[1605] EngR 41, (1605-1611) Lane 98, (1605) 145 ER 331 (A)
Commonlii
England and Wales
Cited by:
CitedDhir v Saddler QBD 6-Dec-2017
Slander damages reduced for conduct
Claim in slander. The defendant was said, at a church meeting to have accused the client of threatening to slit her throat. The defendant argued that the audience of 80 was not large enough.
Held: ‘the authorities demonstrate that it is the . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.
Updated: 20 October 2021; Ref: scu.424364

Holt v Astgrigg: 1608

The plaintiff complained of the words ‘Sir Thomas Holt struck his cook on the head with a cleaver, and cleaved his head; the one part lay on the one shoulder and the other on the other’.
Held: It was moved in arrest of judgement that the words were not actionable, because it was not averred that the cook was killed, but argumentative.
(1608) Cro Jac 184
England and Wales

Updated: 19 October 2021; Ref: scu.221968

Want’s case: 1601

‘Et fuit tenu auxi par le Court que un libeller est punishable, comment que le matter del libel soit vray’ (And was held also by the court that a libeller is punishable, even if the matter be true)
(1601) Moore 628, (1601) 72 ER 802
England and Wales

Updated: 19 October 2021; Ref: scu.221965

Hulton and Co v Jones: HL 6 Dec 1909

The defendant newspaper published an article describing the attendance at a motor race at Dieppe. It described the antics, intending to refer to a fictitious person, of one Artemus Jones, and said of him that he was ‘with a woman who is not his wife, who must be, you know – the other thing!’ It added: ‘Really, is it not surprising how certain of our fellow-countrymen behave when they come abroad? Who would suppose, by his goings on, that he was a churchwarden at Peckham?’ The real Artemus Jones was not, of course, a churchwarden at Peckham or anywhere else. He was a barrister on the North Wales Circuit.
Held: His claim in defamation succeeded.
The meaning of the words intended by the publisher or the absence of any intention to harm the plaintiff is irrelevant to the inquiry as to their meaning to a reader: ‘A person charged with libel cannot defend himself by showing that he intended in his own breast not to defame, or that he intended not to defame the plaintiff, if in fact he did both.’ The defendants remedy ‘is to abstain from defamatory words.’
Lord Loreburn LC said: ‘A person charged with libel cannot defend himself by shewing that he intended in his own breast not to defame, or that he intended not to defame the plaintiff, if in fact he did both. He has none the less imputed something disgraceful and has none the less injured the plaintiff. A man in good faith may publish a libel believing it to be true, and it may be found by the jury that he acted in good faith believing it to be true, and reasonably believing it to be true, but that in fact the statement was false. Under those circumstances he has no defence to the action, however excellent his intention. If the intention of the writer be immaterial in considering whether the matter written is defamatory, I do not see why it need be relevant in considering whether it is defamatory of the plaintiff. The writing, according to the old form, must be malicious, and it must be of and concerning the plaintiff. Just as the defendant could not excuse himself from malice by proving that he wrote it in the most benevolent spirit, so he cannot shew that the libel was not of and concerning the plaintiff by proving that he never heard of the plaintiff.’
The test was not whether the defendant intended to refer to the plaintiff but whether the words published were understood by reasonable people who knew the plaintiff to refer to him. Defamation is a tort of strict liability and does not depend upon the intention of the publisher.
A witness may be called to testify that they understood, from reading the libel in the light of the facts and circumstances narrated and described, and their acquaintance with, and knowledge of, the plaintiff, that he was the person referred to.
Lord Chancellor (Loreburn), Lords Atkinson, Gorell, and Shaw
[1909] 2 KB 444, 26 TLR 128, [1910] AC 20, [1908-10] All ER 29, [1909] UKHL 591, 47 SLR 591
Bailii
England and Wales
Citing:
CitedEmmens v Pottle CA 1885
A subordinate distributor, here a vendor of newspapers, can plead the common law defence to defamation, of innocent dissemination.
Held: The vendor was prima facie liable, and therefore had to demonstrate the defence to avoid liability. He . .
Appeal fromJones v E Hulton and Co CA 26-May-1909
The defendants, who were the proprietors and publishers of a newspaper, published in an article in their paper defamatory statements of a named person believed by the writer of the article and by the defendants to be a fictitious personage with an . .

Cited by:
CitedThe Financial Conduct Authority v Macris CA 19-May-2015
Appeal by the Authority against a decision by the Upper Tribunal (Tax and Chancery Chamber) deciding, as a preliminary issue determined in accordance with Rule 5(3)(e) of the Tribunal Procedure (Upper Tribunal) Rules 2008, that the respondent to . .
CitedAngiolini v Green SCS 19-Dec-2013
A procedure roll at the instance of the pursuer in terms of which the court was moved to sustain the pursuer’s first plea-in-law and to grant interdict in terms of the fourth conclusion of the summons. . .
CitedIrvine v Sunday Newspapers Ltd QBNI 6-Dec-2013
The plaintiff has sued the defendant for defamation arising out of an article published in the Sunday World on the 28 October 2012 under the heading ‘Fury over UVF’s Nice Little Board’s Earner ‘. . .
CitedBaturina v Times Newspapers Ltd CA 23-Mar-2011
The claimant appealed against directions given in her defamation action against the defendant. It had been said that she owned a house, and the defendant said that this was not defamatory. The claimant said that as the wife of the Mayor of Moscow . .
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. . .
CitedO’Shea v MGN Ltd and Free4Internet Net Limited QBD 4-May-2001
The defendant newspaper published a lawful advertisement for an adult internet service featuring, with her agreement, a photograph of a young woman, who very closely resembled the claimant.
Held: The claim in defamation failed. Morland J . .
CitedDow Jones and Co Inc v Jameel CA 3-Feb-2005
Presumption of Damage in Defamation is rebuttable
The defendant complained that the presumption in English law that the victim of a libel had suffered damage was incompatible with his right to a fair trial. They said the statements complained of were repetitions of statements made by US . .
CitedBaturina v Times Newspapers Ltd QBD 31-Mar-2010
The claimant sought damages in defamation in respect of an article published by the defendant newspaper. She was the wife of the Mayor of Moscow, and was required to disclose on a public list assets held by her. The defendant said that she owned a . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.
Updated: 29 September 2021; Ref: scu.620597

Seray-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 statutory duties.
Held: The action was struck out. It was clear that the publication was protected by qualified privilege at common law. Though, if the Reynolds criteria are satisfied in any particular case, there is no room left for considering whether the relevant defendant was malicious, at the same time an application for summary relief was less appropriate in a Reynolds type case. Had the claimant shown an arguable case for malice? ‘In order to survive, allegations of malice must go beyond that which is equivocal or merely neutral. There must be something from which a jury, ultimately, could rationally infer malice; in the sense that the relevant person was either dishonest in making the defamatory communication or had a dominant motive to injure the claimant. ‘ No such sufficient evidence had been produced.
‘It is accepted 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, in the light of the pleaded case and the evidence available, perverse.’
Eady J
[2008] EWHC 870 (QB)
Bailii
Charities Act 1993
England and Wales
Citing:
CitedReynolds v Times Newspapers Ltd and others HL 28-Oct-1999
Fair Coment on Political Activities
The defendant newspaper had published articles wrongly accusing the claimant, the former Prime Minister of Ireland of duplicity. The paper now appealed, saying that it should have had available to it a defence of qualified privilege because of the . .
CitedSeaga v Harper PC 30-Jan-2008
Public meeting gave no qualified privilege
(Jamaica) The appellant politician pleaded that his words about a senior policemen when spoken at a public meeting were protected from an action in slander by qualified privilege.
Held: The appeal failed. . .
CitedLillie and Reed v Newcastle City Council, Barker, Jones, Saradjian, Wardell QBD 30-Jul-2002
The applicants sought judicial review of a report prepared for the respondent. They had been accused of child abuse whilst working as nursery assistants.
Held: The report was fundamentally flawed, and almost deliberately designed to . .
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 . .
CitedKearns and Others v The General Council of the Bar CA 17-Mar-2003
The claimants had sought to recover from the General Council of the Bar damages for libel in a communication from the head of the Bar Council’s Professional Standards and Legal Services Department to all heads of chambers, their senior clerks and . .
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. . .
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 . .
CitedTelnikoff v Matusevitch CA 1991
The court considered the element of malice in a defamation defence: ‘If a piece of evidence is equally consistent with malice and the absence of malice, it cannot as a matter of law provide evidence on which the jury could find malice. The judge . .
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 . .
CitedWenlock v Moloney CA 1965
The plaintiff alleged a conspiracy to deprive him of his shares and interest in a company. Each side filed affidavit evidence raising issues of fact. With no oral evidence or cross examination on the affidavits, the Master, after a four day hearing, . .
CitedThree Rivers District Council and Others v Governor and Company of The Bank of England HL 18-May-2000
The applicants alleged misfeasance against the Bank of England in respect of the regulation of a bank.
Held: The Bank could not be sued in negligence, but the tort of misfeasance required clear evidence of misdeeds. The action was now properly . .

Cited by:
Appeal fromSeray-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 . .
CitedHughes v Risbridger and Another QBD 9-Dec-2009
hughes_risbridgerQBD2009
The defendants, employees of British Airways, sought summary judgement against the claimant in his claim for defamation in several emails. They had discussed the detention of the claimant under suspicion of theft at the airport, and claimed . .
CitedMakudi v Baron Triesman of Tottenham CA 26-Feb-2014
Appeal against strike out of claims for defamation and malicious falsehood. The defendant had given evidence to the Culture Media and Sport Select Committee of the House of Commons with material highly critical of the claimant, a member of FIFA’s . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.
Updated: 10 August 2021; Ref: scu.267065

A v United Kingdom: ECHR 2002

‘Statements made by MPs outside the Houses of Parliament are subject to the ordinary laws of defamation and breach of confidence, save where they are protected by qualified privilege.’ and ‘Furthermore, the immunity afforded to MPs in the United Kingdom appears to the Court to be in several respects narrower than that afforded to members of national legislatures in certain other signatory States and those afforded to Representative to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe and Members of the European Parliament. In particular, the immunity attaches only to statements made in the course of parliamentary debates on the floor of the House of Commons or House of Lords. No immunity attaches to statements made outside Parliament, even if they amount to a repetition of statements made during the course of Parliamentary debates on matters of public interest. Nor does any immunity attach to an MP’s press statements published prior to parliamentary debates, even if their contents are repeated subsequently in the debate itself.’
(2002) 36 EHRR 917
European Convention on Human Rights
Human Rights
Cited by:
CitedJennings v Buchanan PC 14-Jul-2004
(New Zealand) (Attorney General of New Zealand intervening) The defendant MP had made a statement in Parliament which attracted parliamentary privilege. In a subsequent newspaper interview, he said ‘he did not resile from his claim’. He defended the . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.
Updated: 30 July 2021; Ref: scu.199243

Hourani v Thomson and Others: QBD 6 Feb 2017

Applications for inspection of documents in claim for defamation and harassment.
Warby J
[2017] EWHC 173 (QB)
Bailii
England and Wales
Citing:
See AlsoHourani v Thomson and Others QBD 20-Jan-2017
. .

Cited by:
See AlsoHourani v Thomson and Others QBD 10-Mar-2017
Warby J identified the three issues on which the claimant bore the burden of proof in relation to each defendant on a claim of harassment as: (1) Did the defendant engage in a course of conduct? (2) Did any such course of conduct amount to . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.
Updated: 23 July 2021; Ref: scu.573859

Hourani v Thomson and Others: QBD 20 Jan 2017

Nicola Davies DBE J
[2017] EWHC 56 (QB)
Bailii
England and Wales
Cited by:
See AlsoHourani v Thomson and Others QBD 10-Mar-2017
Warby J identified the three issues on which the claimant bore the burden of proof in relation to each defendant on a claim of harassment as: (1) Did the defendant engage in a course of conduct? (2) Did any such course of conduct amount to . .
See AlsoHourani v Thomson and Others QBD 6-Feb-2017
Applications for inspection of documents in claim for defamation and harassment. . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.
Updated: 23 July 2021; Ref: scu.573383

Hourani v Thomson and Others: QBD 10 Mar 2017

Warby J identified the three issues on which the claimant bore the burden of proof in relation to each defendant on a claim of harassment as: (1) Did the defendant engage in a course of conduct? (2) Did any such course of conduct amount to harassment? and (3) Did the defendant know, or should the defendant have known, that the conduct amounted to harassment? In addition (see [5] and [6]), that case involved an assessment of the merits of the defences that any course of conduct did not amount to harassment because it was (i) pursued for the purpose of preventing or detecting crime and/or (ii) in the particular circumstances, reasonable.
Warby J said: ‘There must, therefore, be conduct on at least two occasions which is, from an objective standpoint, calculated to cause alarm or distress and oppressive, and unacceptable to such a degree that it would sustain criminal liability: see Dowson v Chief Constable of Northumbria Police [2010] EWHC 2612 (QB) [142] (Simon J).
The reference to an ‘objective standpoint’ is important, not least when it comes to cases such as the present, where the complaint is of harassment by publication. In any such case the Court must be alive to the fact that the claim engages Article 10 of the Convention and, as a result, the Court’s duties under ss 2, 3, 6 and 12 of the Human Rights Act 1998. The statute must be interpreted and applied compatibly with the right to freedom of expression, which must be given its due importance. As Tugendhat J observed in Trimingham v Associated Newspapers Ltd [2012] EWHC 1296 (QB) at [267] ‘[i]t would be a serious interference with freedom of expression if those wishing to express their own views could be silenced by, or threatened with, claims for harassment based on subjective claims by individuals that they feel offended or insulted’ . .
In general it may be better to evaluate a given factual scenario in its totality, before reaching a conclusion on whether it amounts to harassment. But in this case I have no difficulty dealing, in isolation, with the question of whether it has been proved that the defendants’ conduct actually caused alarm or distress, or other emotions or impacts consistent with it amounting to harassment. To do so involves picking out for separate consideration the question of whether the claimant has proved the harm which is plainly an element of the tort. As Lord Phillips said in Thomas . . : ‘It seems to me that section 7 [(2)] is dealing with that element of the offence which is constituted by the effect of the conduct rather than with the types of conduct that produce that effect.’ On the facts of this case at least I see no great difficulty, either, in dealing in isolation with the objective aspect of the same question, namely whether the defendants’ conduct was calculated or likely to produce alarm or distress. I can also reach a conclusion on whether the conduct reached the necessary level of gravity or, put another way, whether it was objectively oppressive, having regard to the subject-matter, the claimant’s status, personality, and the other objective circumstances relied on.
But it seems to me that the question of subjective intention belongs in a different category, and is difficult to assess fairly other than in the context of the twin defences of legitimate purpose and reasonableness that are advanced in reliance on s 1(3). It seems reasonable to conclude that conduct which causes distress but might otherwise be fair and reasonable may in fact be unreasonable, if it is engaged in for an illegitimate purpose, or with malign intent. An example was given by Counsel in Thomas: ‘ . . the editor who uses his newspaper to conduct a campaign of vilification against a lover with whom he has broken off a relationship’ (see [36]). This approach would seem consistent with the requirement of the Strasbourg jurisprudence that the right to freedom of expression should be exercised in good faith. Similar reasoning applies to the defendants’ further contention that I should find against Mr Hourani on this issue because ‘For many years he benefitted to an extraordinary degree from his close connections to [Aliyev] and the elite of the Kazakh State. As a result he was able to accumulate vast wealth.’ These are disputed allegations, the truth or falsity of which cannot affect the question of whether the offending acts were likely to or did cause harm, or whether they were objectively oppressive.’
As to the use of hearsay evidence, Warby stated as a general proposition: ‘that it is unsatisfactory to introduce important evidence by means of selective extracts from hearsay written statements.’
Warby J
[2017] EWHC 432 (QB)
Bailii
England and Wales
Citing:
See AlsoHourani v Thomson and Others QBD 20-Jan-2017
. .
See AlsoHourani v Thomson and Others QBD 6-Feb-2017
Applications for inspection of documents in claim for defamation and harassment. . .

Cited by:
CitedGerrard and Another v Eurasian Natural Resources Corporation Ltd and Another QBD 27-Nov-2020
The claimants, a solicitor and his wife, sought damages in harassment and data protection, against a party to proceedings in which he was acting professionally, and against the investigative firm instructed by them. The defendants now requested the . .
CitedHijazi v Yaxley-Lennon (Orse Tommy Robinson) QBD 22-Jul-2021
No Valid Evidence to Support Serious Accusations
The claimant was filmed being assaulted in the school playground. The film was published on the internet, and the defendant right wing politician re-published it, but falsely said that the claimant had himself been violent.
Held: The . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.
Updated: 23 July 2021; Ref: scu.581312

Bokova v Associated Newspapers Ltd: QBD 31 Jul 2018

Nicklin J explained how circumstantial evidence might be admissible to prove the truth of a Chase level 2 meaning: ‘The ‘conduct rule’ and ‘circumstantial evidence’ have been further elucidated.
(i) While it is an essential requisite of a Chase level 2 defence . . that the particulars must focus on the conduct of the claimant said to give rise to the suspicion, in a complicated case it may be necessary to portray some of the background and to connect the main facts relied upon. But the fundamental – and ultimate – question is: whether taken as a whole the particulars demonstrate conduct of the claimant that gives rise to the suspicion: in other words, on the facts pleaded, a person could suspect that the claimant was implicated: Miller -v- Associated Newspapers Ltd [2012] EWHC 3721 (QB) per Sharp J; and Miah -v- British Broadcasting Corpn [2018] EWHC 1054 (QB) [33]-[34] per Warby J.
(ii) In JSC BTA Bank -v- Ablyazov (No.8) [2013] 1 WLR 1331, Rix LJ said:
‘It is, however, the essence of a successful case of circumstantial evidence that the whole is stronger than individual parts. It becomes a net from which there is no escape. That is why a jury is often directed to avoid piecemeal consideration of a circumstantial case: R -v- Hillier (2007) 233 ALR 634 . . Or, as Lord Simon of Glaisdale put it in R -v- Kilbourne [1973] AC 729, 758, ‘Circumstantial evidence . . works by cumulatively, in geometrical progression, eliminating other possibilities’.’
I have no difficulty with the interplay between circumstantial evidence and the ‘conduct rule’. To take an example, in a drugs importation conspiracy it is usual for the prosecution to rely upon a number of sources of evidence including, typically: (1) cell-site analysis showing the presence of mobile telephones at various locations; (2) calls and messages passing between those telephones; and (3) ANPR and CCTV ‘hits’ of various vehicles at particular places. If the same factual issues arose in defence of a libel claim, including alleged facts from these three categories, there would be some evidence in each that did not focus on the conduct of the claimant; indeed, there is likely to be evidence relating to the activities of the other alleged conspirators. However, the strength of the case, and why it gives rise to suspicion falling on the claimant is that, cumulatively and taken together, the evidence implicates the claimant because of his connection to the evidence as a whole. What matters, and what would be essential for the truth defence to have a realistic prospect of success, is the evidential link to the claimant. Without that, the rest of the evidence cannot give rise to a reasonable suspicion.
Nicklin J
[2018] EWHC 2032 (QB), [2018] WLR(D) 502, [2019] 2 WLR 232, [2019] EMLR 6, [2019] QB 861
Bailii, WLRD
Defamation Act 2013
England and Wales
Citing:
See AlsoBokova v Associated Newspapers Ltd QBD 21-Feb-2018
. .

Cited by:
CitedTurley v Unite The Union and Another QBD 19-Dec-2019
Defamation of Labour MP by Unite and Blogger
The claimant now a former MP had alleged that a posting on a website supported by the first defendant was false and defamatory. The posting suggested that the claimant had acted dishonestly in applying online for a category of membership of the . .
CitedHijazi v Yaxley-Lennon (Orse Tommy Robinson) QBD 22-Jul-2021
No Valid Evidence to Support Serious Accusations
The claimant was filmed being assaulted in the school playground. The film was published on the internet, and the defendant right wing politician re-published it, but falsely said that the claimant had himself been violent.
Held: The . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.
Updated: 23 July 2021; Ref: scu.620611

Taylor v Anderton (Police Complaints Authority Intervening): CA 19 Jan 1995

Reports, which had been prepared for the purposes of a police complaint procedure, could be entitled to protection from disclosure under a public interest immunity certificate. The court also considered the relationship between the documentation and the decision as to whether a trial wasto be by judge alone, or with a jury. Cost is also a consideration: ‘The case as it stands will be very lengthy, very expensive, very burdensome and very difficult to control if tried by a judge alone. If tried by a judge and jury it will be even lengthier, even more expensive, even more burdensome and even more difficult to control.’ The fact that sight of a document for inspection may give the inspecting party a litigious advantage in the litigation does not of itself make production of the document unfair: ‘The crucial consideration is, in my judgment, the meaning of the expression ‘disposing fairly of the cause or matter’. Those words direct attention to the question whether inspection is necessary for the fair determination of the matter, whether by trial or otherwise. The purpose of the rule is to ensure that one party does not enjoy an unfair advantage or suffer an unfair disadvantage in the litigation as a result of a document not being produced for inspection. It is, I think, of no importance that a party is curious about the contents of a document or would like to know the contents of it, if he suffers no litigious disadvantage by not seeing it and would gain no litigious advantage by seeing it. That, in my judgment, is the test.’
Sir Thomas Bingham MR, Rose, Morritt LJJ
Independent 28-Feb-1995, Gazette 15-Mar-1995, Times 19-Jan-1995, [1995] 1 WLR 447
England and Wales
Cited by:
CitedRight Hon Aitken MP and Preston; Pallister and Guardian Newspapers Ltd CA 15-May-1997
The defendants appealed against an order that a defamation trial should proced before a judge alone.
Held: ‘Where the parties, or one of them, is a public figure, or there are matters of national interest in question, this would suggest the . .
CitedBranson v Snowden; Branson v Gtech UK Corporation (a Body Corporate) and Rendine CA 3-Jul-1997
The respective parties had been preparing competing bids for the National Lottery. One (Branson) alleged that the other had offerered a bribe. The other responded that the allegation was a lie, and each sued the other for defamation.
Held: The . .
CitedBrooker and Brooker v Chief Constable of Thames Valley Police CA 26-Oct-1998
The plaintiffs claimed damages against the respondents for wrongful arrest and false imprisonment. By mistake the defendants disclosed a letter from a senior officer supporting the allegation, despite which the Police Complaints Authority had denied . .
CitedAshley and Another v Sussex Police CA 27-Jul-2006
The deceased was shot by police officers raiding his flat in 1998. The claimants sought damages for his estate. They had succeeded in claiming damages for false imprisonment, but now appealed dismissal of their claim for damages for assault and . .

These lists may be incomplete.
Updated: 02 June 2021; Ref: scu.89742

Lincoln v Daniels: CA 1961

The defendant claimed absolute immunity in respect of communications sent by him to the Bar Council alleging professional misconduct by the plaintiff, a Queen’s Counsel.
Held: Initial communications sent to the secretary of the Bar Council alleging professional misconduct by a barrister did not attract absolute privilege, since they were not yet a step in an inquiry before an Inn of Court.
Matters submitted to proceedings before an inquiry conducted by the Inn would attract the same privilege as they would in proceedings before a court.
Devlin LJ said: ‘On such a point form is of the first importance; it is by form rather than by the substance of the complaint that a writ is to be distinguished from a letter before action.’
and ‘the privilege that covers proceedings in a court of justice ought not to be extended to matters outside those proceedings except where it is strictly necessary to do so in order to protect those who are to participate in the proceedings from a flank attack. It is true that it is not absolutely necessary for a witness to give a proof, but it is practically necessary for him to do so, as it is practically necessary for a litigant to engage a solicitor.’ and
‘It is not at all easy to determine the scope and extent of the principle in Watson v M’Ewan. I have come to the conclusion that the privilege that covers proceedings in a court of justice ought not to be extended to matters outside those proceedings except where it is strictly necessary to do in order to protect those who are to participate in the proceedings from a flank attack. It is true that it is not absolutely necessary for a witness to give a proof, but it is practically necessary for him to do so, as it is practically necessary for a litigant to engage a solicitor. The sense of Lord Halsbury’s speech is that the extension of the privilege to proofs and pre-cognition is practically necessary for the administration of justice; without it, in his view, no witness could be called. I do not think that the same degree of necessity can be said to attach to the functions of the Bar Council in relation to the Inns of Court.’
Devlin LJ explained the rationale for the distinction between domestic tribunals and those recognised by law: ‘A private institution, such as a club, may set up a body to determine questions of admission and expulsion and it may be composed entirely of lawyers and may follow with exactitude the procedure of a court of law. But absolute privilege is granted only as a matter of public policy and must therefore on principle be confined to matters in which the public is interested and where therefore it is of importance that the whole truth should be elicited even at the risk that an injury inflicted maliciously may go unredressed. The public is not interested in the membership of a private club. The significance of . . the . . requirement . . that the Court or tribunal should be recognised by law . . is that it shows that the public is interested in the matter to be determined by the court. Parliament would not, for example, regulate the disciplining of solicitors if there were not a public interest in the sort of men who practise as solicitors. The same consideration applies to the Bar.’
Devlin LJ considered that absolute privilege fell into three categories: ‘The absolute privilege which covers proceedings in or before a court of justice can be divided into three categories. The first category covers all matters that are done coram judice. This extends to everything that is said in the course of proceedings by judges, parties, counsel and witnesses, and includes the contents of documents put in as evidence. The second covers everything that is done from the inception of the proceedings onwards and extends to all pleadings and other documents brought into existence for the purpose of the proceedings and starting with the writ or other document which institutes the proceedings. The third category is the most difficult of the three to define. It is based on the authority of Watson v McEwan [1905] AC 480 in which the House of Lords held that the privilege attaching to evidence which a witness gave coram judice extended to the precognition or proof of that evidence taken by a solicitor. It is immaterial whether the proof is or is not taken in the course of proceedings. In Beresford v. White (1914) 30 TLR 591 the privilege was held to attach to what was said in the course of an interview by a solicitor with a person who might or might not be in a position to be a witness on behalf of his client in contemplated proceedings.’
Devlin LJ, Sellers LJ
[1962] 1 QB 237, [1961] 3 WLR 866, [1961] 3 All ER 740, (1961) 105 Sol Jo 647
England and Wales
Citing:
CitedWatson v M’Ewan HL 1905
A claim was brought against a medical witness in respect of statements made in preparation of a witness statement and similar statements subsequently made in court. The appellant was a doctor of medicine who had been retained by the respondent in . .

Cited by:
CitedDarker v Chief Constable of The West Midlands Police HL 1-Aug-2000
The plaintiffs had been indicted on counts alleging conspiracy to import drugs and conspiracy to forge traveller’s cheques. During the criminal trial it emerged that there had been such inadequate disclosure by the police that the proceedings were . .
CitedBuckley v Dalziel QBD 3-May-2007
There was a heated dispute between neighbours, culminating in some generous or perhaps over-generous pruning by the claimant of the defendant’s trees and shrubs on the boundaries. The defendants reported the matter to the police. Both Mr and Mrs . .
CitedWestcott v Westcott CA 15-Jul-2008
The defendant was the claimant’s daughter in law. In the course of a bitter divorce she made allegations to the police which were investigated but did not lead to a prosecution. The claimant appealed dismissal of his claim for defamation on the . .
CitedSilcott v Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis CA 24-May-1996
The claimant had been convicted of the murder of PC Blakelock. The only substantial evidence was in the form of the notes of interview he said were fabricated by senior officers. His eventual appeal on this basis was not resisted. He now appealed . .
CitedWhite v Southampton University Hospitals NHS Trust and Another QBD 1-Apr-2011
The claimant doctor sued in defamation for letters written by the defendants to the Fitness to Practice Directorate. She now sought to appeal against a finding that she could not rely upon one letter which had come to her attention through . .
CitedIqbal v Mansoor and Others QBD 26-Aug-2011
The claimant sought the disapplication of the limitation period in order to pursue the defendant solicitors, his former employers, in defamation. . .
CitedIqbal v Mansoor and Others QBD 26-Aug-2011
The claimant sought the disapplication of the limitation period in order to pursue the defendant solicitors, his former employers, in defamation. . .
CitedIqbal v Mansoor and Others QBD 26-Aug-2011
The claimant sought the disapplication of the limitation period in order to pursue the defendant solicitors, his former employers, in defamation. . .
CitedSingh v Moorlands Primary School and Another CA 25-Jul-2013
The claimant was a non-white head teacher, alleging that her school governors and local authority had undermined and had ‘deliberately endorsed a targeted campaign of discrimination, bullying, harassment and victimisation’ against her as an Asian . .
CitedO’Connor v Bar Standards Board SC 6-Dec-2017
The claimant barrister complained of the manner of conduct of the disciplinary proceedings brought against her. She had been cleared of any breach of the Bar Code of Conduct, but her claim was then ruled out of time under section 7(5)(a), time . .

These lists may be incomplete.
Updated: 11 May 2021; Ref: scu.180924

Tesla Motors Ltd and Another v British Broadcasting Corporation: CA 5 Mar 2013

The claimant said that the defendant, in its Top Gear programme in a review of its car, caused it damage through malicious falsehood and defamation. They appealed against a finding that the words used were incapable of bearing the defamatory meanings complained of.
Held: The appeal was dismissed. Though there were falsehoods in the programme, the claiant had been unable to identify its losses.
Maurice Kay VP, Moore-Bick, Rimer LJJ
[2013] EWCA Civ 152
Bailii
Defamation Act 1952
England and Wales
Citing:
CitedSkuse v Granada Television CA 30-Mar-1993
The claimant complained that the defendant had said in a television programme that he had failed to act properly when presenting his expert forensic evidence in court in the trial of the Birmingham Six.
Held: The court should give to the . .
CitedJeynes v News Magazines Ltd and Another CA 31-Jan-2008
Whether Statement defamatory at common law
The claimant appealed against a striking out of her claim for defamation on finding that the words did not have the defamatory meaning complained of, namely that she was transgendered or transsexual.
Held: The appeal failed.
Sir Anthony . .
Appeal fromTesla Motors Ltd and Another v British Broadcasting Corporation QBD 28-Oct-2011
The claimant company manufactured electric cars. They claimed that a review of a car on the defendant’s programme ‘Top Gear’ included malicious falsehoods and was defamatory.
Held: The defamatory meanings claimed could not properly be . .
Appeal fromTesla Motors Ltd and Another v British Broadcasting Corporation QBD 23-Feb-2012
The claimant, manufacturer of electric cars, complained of a review of its car on ‘Top Gear’. It’s pleaded meanings had been rejected, and it now sought leave to amend its pleading to add new alleged defamatory meanings. . .

Cited by:
CitedMcAlpine v Bercow QBD 24-May-2013
The claimant alleged defamation in a tweet by the defendant. The court now decided as a preliminary point, the meaning of the words: ‘Why is Lord McAlpine trending? *Innocent face*’. There had been other but widespread (mistaken) allegations against . .

These lists may be incomplete.
Updated: 30 April 2021; Ref: scu.471332

Gardiner v Fairfax: 1942

Complaint was made that the plaintiff had been libelled in the defendant’s book review.
Held: A publication is defamatory in nature if it ‘is likely to cause ordinary decent folk in the community, taken in general, to think the less of [the plaintiff]’.
A critic is ‘entitled to dip his pen in gall for the purposes of legitimate criticism.’
The court equated malice with a commentator’s failure to express his ‘real opinion’: ‘To establish malice, it is necessary to produce evidence that the comment was designed to serve some other purpose than that of expressing the commentator’s real opinion, for example, that of satisfying a private grudge against the person attacked.’
Jordan CJ
(1942) 42 SR (NSW) 171
Australia
Cited by:
CitedLowe v Associated Newspapers Ltd QBD 28-Feb-2006
The defendant sought to defend the claim for defamation by claiming fair comment. The claimant said that the relevant facts were not known to the defendant at the time of the publication.
Held: To claim facts in aid of a defence of fair . .
CitedTse Wai Chun Paul v Albert Cheng 13-Nov-2000
(Court of Final Appeal of Hong Kong) For the purposes of the defence to defamation of fair comment: ‘The comment must explicitly or implicitly indicate, at least in general terms, what are the facts on which the comment is being made. The reader or . .
CitedRobins v Kordowski and Another QBD 22-Jul-2011
robins_kordQBD11
The claimant solicitor said he had been defamed on the first defendant’s website (‘Solicitors from Hell’) by the second defendant. The first defendant now applied to set aside judgment entered by default. The claimant additionally sought summary . .

These lists may be incomplete.
Updated: 23 April 2021; Ref: scu.368290

Mahon and Another v Rahn and Others (1): CA 12 Jun 1997

Two company directors sued Swiss bankers who had responded to enquiries from the police in London. The charges which followed had been dismissed, and the directors sued in defamation, seeking to rely upon the materials sent to the police.
Held: The appeal succeeded. There is no implied undertaking as to the use of disclosed documents in criminal proceedings preventing their use in civil proceedings. It was foreseeable that the information, if acted upon, would be made public. This applied whether or not the material was obtained under compulsion. There was no analogy between the position of the Crown in a criminal case and that of a party in civil proceedings. It could not be said that the Crown would be deterred from complying with its obligations of disclosure, whether at common law or now under statute, by concern that the accused might use the documents for some ulterior purpose. The rules of public interest immunity, immunity from suit and qualified privilege should be sufficient protection for people who might be adversely affected by collateral use of disclosed documents.
Otton LJ, Staughton LJ
Times 12-Jun-1997, [1998] QB 424
England and Wales
Citing:
Appeal fromMahon v Rahn QBD 19-Jun-1996
Directors of a London firm of stockbrokers brought libel proceedings against two Swiss bankers.
Held: The absolute immunity which is given to both witnesses and potential witnesses extends to all those taking part in a criminal investigation . .

Cited by:
Appealed toMahon v Rahn QBD 19-Jun-1996
Directors of a London firm of stockbrokers brought libel proceedings against two Swiss bankers.
Held: The absolute immunity which is given to both witnesses and potential witnesses extends to all those taking part in a criminal investigation . .
CitedTaylor and Others v Director of The Serious Fraud Office and Others HL 29-Oct-1998
The defendant had requested the Isle of Man authorities to investigate the part if any taken by the plaintiff in a major fraud. No charges were brought against the plaintiff, but the documents showing suspicion came to be disclosed in the later . .
See AlsoMahon, Kent v Dr Rahn, Biedermann, Haab-Biedermann, Rahn, and Bodmer (a Partnership) (No 2) CA 8-Jun-2000
The defendant’s lawyers wrote to a financial services regulatory body investigating the possible fraudulent conduct of the plaintiff’s stockbroking firm. The letter was passed to the Serious Fraud Office who later brought criminal proceedings . .
CitedMcBride v The Body Shop International Plc QBD 10-Jul-2007
The claimant sought damages for libel in an internal email written by her manager, accusing her of being a compulsive liar. The email had not been disclosed save in Employment Tribunal proceedings, and the claimant sought permission to use the email . .
See AlsoMahon v Rahn and others (No 2) CA 8-Nov-1999
Brooke LJ attempted to draw a distinction between simple cases. . .

These lists may be incomplete.
Updated: 21 April 2021; Ref: scu.83320

Cleese v Clark and Another: QBD 6 Feb 2003

Assessment of damages after offer of amends.
Held: the Court’s award of damages serves as ‘an outward and visible sign of vindication’
Eady J
[2003] EWHC 137 (QB), [2004] EMLR 3
Bailii
Defamation Act 1996 3
England and Wales
Cited by:
CitedDhir v Saddler QBD 6-Dec-2017
Slander damages reduced for conduct
Claim in slander. The defendant was said, at a church meeting to have accused the client of threatening to slit her throat. The defendant argued that the audience of 80 was not large enough.
Held: ‘the authorities demonstrate that it is the . .

These lists may be incomplete.
Updated: 20 April 2021; Ref: scu.464875

Kiam v Neill and Another (No 2): CA 26 Jul 1996

An allegation of insolvency was made against a well known businessman. An apology in agreed terms was published after 3 weeks.
Held: A jury award of 45,000 in damages was not excessive for a libel despite an apology having been given. The plaintiff’s prominence was a relevant circumstance.
Times 26-Jul-1996, [1996] EMLR 493
England and Wales
Citing:
See AlsoKiam v Neil and Another CA 14-Dec-1994
A defendant may not tell the jury of pre-trial offers of settlement from the Plaintiff on damages. . .

Cited by:
CitedKiam v MGN Ltd CA 28-Jan-2002
Where a court regards a jury award in a defamation case as excessive, a ‘proper’ award can be substituted for it is not whatever sum court thinks appropriate, wholly uninfluenced by jury’s view, but the highest award which a jury could reasonably . .
See AlsoKiam v Neil and Another CA 14-Dec-1994
A defendant may not tell the jury of pre-trial offers of settlement from the Plaintiff on damages. . .
CitedNail and Another v News Group Newspapers Ltd and others CA 20-Dec-2004
The claimant appealed the award of damages in his claim for defamation. The defendants had variously issued apologies. The claimant had not complained initially as to one publication.
Held: In defamation proceedings the damage to feelings is . .

These lists may be incomplete.
Updated: 11 April 2021; Ref: scu.82773

Berkoff v Burchill and and Times Newspapers Limited: CA 31 Jul 1996

The plaintiff actor said that an article by the defendant labelling him ugly was defamatory. The defendant denied that the words were defamatory.
Held: It is for the jury to decide in what context the words complained of were used and whether they were defamatory in those circumstances. An allegation that an actor was hideously ugly was capable of being defamatory of him on the grounds it exposed him to ridicule.
Neill LJ said ‘It is necessary in some cases to consider the occupation of the plaintiff.’ and ‘It will be seen from this collection of definitions that words may be defamatory, even though they neither impute disgraceful conduct to the plaintiff nor any lack of skill or efficiency in the conduct of his trade or business or professional activity, if they hold him up to contempt scorn or ridicule or tend to exclude him from society. On the other hand insults which do not diminish a man’s standing among other people do not found an action or libel or slander. The exact borderline may often be difficult to define . . the word ‘reputation’, by its association with phrases such as ‘business reputation’, ‘professional reputation’ or ‘reputation for honesty’, may obscure the fact that in this context the word is to be interpreted in a broad sense as comprehending all aspects of a person’s standing in the community. A man who is held up as a figure of fun may be defeated in his claim for damages, for example, by a plea of fair comment, or, if he succeeds on liability, the compensation which he receives from a jury may be very small. But nevertheless the publication of which he complains may be defamatory of him because it affects in an adverse manner the attitude of other people towards him . . one has to consider the words in the surroundings in which they appear . . It is trite law that the meaning of words in a libel action is determined by the reaction of the ordinary reader and not by the intention of the publisher, but the perceived intention of the publisher may colour the meaning. In the present case it would, in my view, be open to a jury to conclude that in the context the remarks about Mr Berkoff gave the impression that he was not merely physically unattractive in appearance but actually repulsive. It seems to me that to say this of someone in the public eye who makes his living, in part at least, as an actor, is capable of lowering his standing in the estimation of the public and of making him an object of ridicule’.
Lord Millett, dissenting in the result, said that ‘it is one thing to ridicule a man; it is another to expose him to ridicule’.
Neill LJ, Millett LJ, Phillips LJ
Times 09-Aug-1996, [1996] EWCA Civ 564, [1996] 4 All ER 1008
England and Wales
Citing:
CitedParmiter v Coupland And Another 1840
In an action for libel, the Judge is not bound to state to the jury, as matter of law, whether the publication complained of be a libel or not ; but the proper course is for him to define what is a libel in point of law, and to leave it to the jury . .
CitedDrummond-Jackson v British Medical Association CA 1970
The court considered whether an article published in the British Medical Journal was capable of bearing a meaning defamatory of the plaintiff dentist. The article made an attack upon the plaintiff’s technique for anaesthesia.
Held: Words may . .
CitedThe Capital and Counties Bank Limited v George Henty and Sons HL 1882
The defendant wrote to their customers saying ‘Henty and Sons hereby give notice that they will not receive in payment cheques drawn on any of the branches of the Capital and Counties Bank.’ The contents of the circular became known and there was a . .
CitedSim v Stretch HL 1936
Test For Defamatory Meaning
The plaintiff complained that the defendant had written in a telegram to accuse him of enticing away a servant. The House considered the process of deciding whether words were defamatory.
Held: The telegram was incapable of bearing a . .
CitedScott v Sampson QBD 1882
The court explained why evidence of particular acts of misconduct on the part of the Plaintiff tending to show his character and disposition should be excluded, saying ‘Both principle and authority seems equally against its admission. It would give . .
CitedYoussoupoff v MGM Pictures CA 1934
The plaintiff (herself a Princess) complained that she could be identified with the character Princess Natasha in the film ‘Rasputin, the Mad Monk’. On the basis that the film suggested that, by reason of her identification with ‘Princess Natasha’, . .
CitedTournier v National Provincial and Union Bank of England CA 1924
The court considered the duty of confidentiality owed by a banker to his client. Bankes LJ said: ‘At the present day I think it may be asserted with confidence that the duty is a legal one arising out of contract, and that the duty is not absolute . .

Cited by:
CitedDee v Telegraph Media Group Ltd QBD 28-Apr-2010
The newspaper sought summary judgment in its defence of the defamation claim. The article labelled the claimant as the world’s worst professional tennis player. The paper said he had no prospect of succeeding once the second article in the same . .
CitedThornton v Telegraph Media Group Ltd QBD 16-Jun-2010
The claimant said that a review of her book was defamatory and a malicious falsehood. The defendant now sought summary judgment or a ruling as to the meaning of the words complained of.
Held: The application for summary judgment succeeded. The . .
CitedUppal v Endemol UK Ltd and Others QBD 9-Apr-2014
The claimant alleged defamation by other contestants at the time when she was participating in the defendants’ TV show, Big Brother. The defendants had broadcast the material. The defendant now sought a ruling that the words complained of were not . .

These lists may be incomplete.
Updated: 11 April 2021; Ref: scu.78355

Kiam v Neil and Another: CA 14 Dec 1994

A defendant may not tell the jury of pre-trial offers of settlement from the Plaintiff on damages.
Times 14-Dec-1994
England and Wales
Citing:
See AlsoKiam v Neill and Another (No 2) CA 26-Jul-1996
An allegation of insolvency was made against a well known businessman. An apology in agreed terms was published after 3 weeks.
Held: A jury award of 45,000 in damages was not excessive for a libel despite an apology having been given. The . .

Cited by:
See AlsoKiam v Neill and Another (No 2) CA 26-Jul-1996
An allegation of insolvency was made against a well known businessman. An apology in agreed terms was published after 3 weeks.
Held: A jury award of 45,000 in damages was not excessive for a libel despite an apology having been given. The . .

These lists may be incomplete.
Updated: 10 April 2021; Ref: scu.82772

British Data Management Plc v Boxer Commercial Removals Plc and Another: CA 28 Feb 1996

A quia timet action in a defamation case must specify the precise words which are expected to be used.
Times 28-Feb-1996, [1996] 3 All ER 707
England and Wales
Cited by:
AffirmedBest v Charter Medical of England Ltd and Another CA 26-Oct-2001
The Civil Procedure Rules did not alter the previous practice in defamation actions, that the words to be relied upon should be pleaded in detail, save only in exceptional circumstances. The case had been properly struck out, as disclosing no . .

These lists may be incomplete.
Updated: 10 April 2021; Ref: scu.78624

Charleston and Another v News Group Newspapers Ltd: CA 12 Jan 1994

A libel in published photographs was capable of being remedied by the accompanying article. The court should look to the publication as a whole.
Independent 14-Jan-1994, Times 12-Jan-1994
England and Wales
Cited by:
Appeal fromCharleston and Another v News Group Newspapers Ltd and Another HL 31-Mar-1995
The plaintiffs were actors playing Harold and Madge Bishop in the Australian soap series ‘Neighbours’. They sued on a tabloid newspaper article which showed their faces superimposed on the near-naked bodies of models apparently engaged in sexual . .

These lists may be incomplete.
Updated: 09 April 2021; Ref: scu.78986

Brown v Bower and Another: QBD 31 Oct 2017

Judgment on issues of meaning and whether defamatory.
As to the Chase levels of meaning: ‘They come from the decision of Brooke LJ in Chase v News Group Newspapers Ltd [2003] EMLR 11 [45] in which he identified three types of defamatory allegation: broadly, (1) the claimant is guilty of the act; (2) reasonable grounds to suspect that the claimant is guilty of the act; and (3) grounds to investigate whether the claimant has committed the act. In the lexicon of defamation, these have come to be known as the Chase levels. Reflecting the almost infinite capacity for subtle differences in meaning, they are not a straitjacket forcing the court to select one of these prescribed levels of meaning, but they are a helpful shorthand. In Charman v Orion Publishing Group Ltd, for example, Gray J found a meaning of ‘cogent grounds to suspect’
Nicklin J
[2017] EWHC 2637 (QB), [2018] EMLR 9, [2017] WLR(D) 719, [2017] 4 WLR 197
Bailii, WLRD
England and Wales
Citing:
CitedChase v Newsgroup Newspapers Ltd CA 3-Dec-2002
The defendant appealed against a striking out of part of its defence to the claim of defamation, pleading justification.
Held: The Human Rights Convention had not itself changed the conditions for a plea of justification based upon reasonable . .

Cited by:
CitedHayden v Associated Newspapers Ltd QBD 11-Mar-2020
The claimant alleged defamation by the defendant, and the court now considered the meanings of the words complained of. Another person had been held by police for seven hours after identifying the claimant as a transgendered man.
Held: The . .

These lists may be incomplete.
Updated: 08 April 2021; Ref: scu.598440

Mann v O’Neill: 31 Jul 1997

High Court of Australia – Courts should be reluctant to extend the immunity given to witnesses: ‘the general rule is that the extension of absolute privilege is viewed with the most jealous suspicion, and resisted, unless its necessity is demonstrated’
Defamation – Absolute privilege – Absolute privilege only attaches out of necessity – Judicial and quasi-judicial proceedings – Complaint procedures and disciplinary proceedings – Letter to Attorney-General questioning special magistrate’s fitness to hold office – Letter not a step in disciplinary proceedings – Letter invoked investigative function equating with prosecuting authority’s function – Not necessary that statements to prosecuting authorities be absolutely privileged – Complaints to prosecuting authorities enjoy qualified privilege.
(1997) 71 ALJR 903, (1997) 191 CLR 204, (1997) 145 ALR 682, (1997) 12 Leg Rep 21, [1997] Aust Torts Reports 81-436
Austlii
Australia
Cited by:
CitedGeneral Medical Council v Professor Sir Roy Meadow, Attorney General CA 26-Oct-2006
The GMC appealed against the dismissal of its proceedings for professional misconduct against the respondent doctor, whose expert evidence to a criminal court was the subject of complaint. The doctor said that the evidence given by him was . .

These lists may be incomplete.
Updated: 07 April 2021; Ref: scu.245753

Flymenow Ltd v Quick Air Jet Charter Gmbh: QBD 15 Dec 2016

Warby J awarded a claimant company general damages of pounds 10 for a libel suggesting that it was insolvent.
Warby J
[2016] EWHC 3197 (QB)
Bailii
England and Wales
Citing:
CitedJohn v MGN Ltd CA 12-Dec-1995
MGN appealed as to the level of damages awarded against it namely pounds 350,000 damages, comprising pounds 75,000 compensatory damages and pounds 275,000 exemplary damages. The newspaper contended that as a matter of principle there is no scope in . .

Cited by:
CitedTurley v Unite The Union and Another QBD 19-Dec-2019
Defamation of Labour MP by Unite and Blogger
The claimant now a former MP had alleged that a posting on a website supported by the first defendant was false and defamatory. The posting suggested that the claimant had acted dishonestly in applying online for a category of membership of the . .

These lists may be incomplete.
Updated: 18 March 2021; Ref: scu.572637

Barron and Others v Collins: QBD 6 Feb 2017

Three MPs had sued in defamation after the defendant had wrongly accused them of knowing of the sexual exploitation of children in Rotherham without doing anything about it. Liability now being established, the court set out to assess the damages payable under an offer of amends.
Held: The court set starting points of pounds 10,000 for each slander, and pounds 50,000 for each act of defamation.
Warby J repeated that: ‘ . . special caution is required when it comes to deciding what is justified and proportionate by way of compensation for libels such as those in issue here, which are published by one politician about another on a topic of public interest. Politicians may in general have thicker skins than the average. Whether or not that is so in the individual case, they are expected to tolerate more than would be expected of others.’
Warby J
[2017] EWHC 162 (QB)
Bailii
Defamation Act 1996
England and Wales
Cited by:
CitedTurley v Unite The Union and Another QBD 19-Dec-2019
Defamation of Labour MP by Unite and Blogger
The claimant now a former MP had alleged that a posting on a website supported by the first defendant was false and defamatory. The posting suggested that the claimant had acted dishonestly in applying online for a category of membership of the . .

These lists may be incomplete.
Updated: 18 March 2021; Ref: scu.574091

Flood v Times Newspapers Ltd: QBD 25 Jul 2013

[2013] EWHC 2182 (QB)
Bailii
England and Wales
Citing:
At Supreme CourtFlood v Times Newspapers Ltd SC 21-Mar-2012
The defendant had published an article which was defamatory of the claimant police officer, saying that he was under investigation for alleged corruption. The inquiry later cleared him. The court was now asked whether the paper had Reynolds type . .

Cited by:
See AlsoFlood v Times Newspapers Ltd QBD 19-Dec-2013
The claimant policeman alleged defamation in an article published by the defendant newspaper. The defendant advanced two substantive defences, a defence of public interest (Reynolds) privilege and justification. After protracted litigation, the . .

These lists may be incomplete.
Updated: 17 March 2021; Ref: scu.513773

Monks v Warwick District Council: QBD 7 May 2009

The claimant sought damages in defamation in respect of a statement made by one of its planning officers.
Held: A source or contributor cannot be sued for a defamatory meaning which only arises from part of the media publication to which he has contributed.
Where a contributor’s words are included in a publication, and a claimant seeks to sue the contributor for publication of the article, the quote cannot be read in isolation to produce a more injurious meaning than the publication as a whole
Sharp DBE J
[2009] EWHC 959 (QB)
Bailii
England and Wales
Cited by:
CitedEconomou v De Freitas QBD 27-Jul-2016
Failed action for defamation on rape allegations
The claimant had been accused by the defendant’s daughter of rape. He was never charged but sought to prosecute her alleging intent to pervert the course of justice. She later killed herself. The defendant sought to have the inquest extended to . .
CitedTurley v Unite The Union and Another QBD 19-Dec-2019
Defamation of Labour MP by Unite and Blogger
The claimant now a former MP had alleged that a posting on a website supported by the first defendant was false and defamatory. The posting suggested that the claimant had acted dishonestly in applying online for a category of membership of the . .

These lists may be incomplete.
Updated: 17 March 2021; Ref: scu.346750

Stern v Piper and Others: CA 21 May 1996

The defendant newspaper said that allegations had been made against the plaintiff that he was not paying his debts. In their defence they pleaded justification and the fact that he was being sued for debt.
Held: A defamation was not to be justified in respect of extracts from affirmations in pending lawsuits. The court applied the rule that a repetition of a libel is as bad as the original to the situation where the defendant contended that it had simply made a statement that an allegation had been made.
Hirst LJ said: ‘I think it is significant that privilege only protects reports of proceedings taking place in open court, and that its foundation is that those proceedings took place in public, so that the public in general should have access to fair and accurate reports thereof: Webb v Times Publishing Co. Ltd. ‘
Simon Brown LJ said: ‘One can quite well understand, however, why the law of qualified privilege does not extend to the pre-trial reporting of allegations contained in court documents: it is one thing to report proceedings contemporaneously or even retrospectively – then both sides’ stories are being, or will have been, told in open court; quite another to be privileged to do so when perhaps (as here) only one side’s allegations are being related and at a time likely to be months or even years before the full picture will emerge in open court.’
Hirst LJ, Simon Brown LJ, Sir Ralph Gibson
Gazette 12-Jun-1996, Times 30-May-1996, [1997] QB 123, [1996] EWCA Civ 1291, [1996] 3 WLR 715, [1996] EMLR 413, [1996] 3 All ER 385
Bailii
England and Wales
Citing:
CitedLewis v Daily Telegraph Ltd HL 1964
Ascertaining Meaning of Words for Defamation
The Daily Telegraph had published an article headed ‘Inquiry on Firm by City Police’ and the Daily Mail had published an article headed ‘Fraud Squad Probe Firm’. The plaintiffs claimed that those articles carried the meaning that they were guilty of . .
CitedDe Crespigny v Wellesley 9-Feb-1829
In an action for a libel, it is no plea, that the defendant had the libellous statement from another, and upon publication disclosed the author’s name. . .
CitedDe Crespigny v Wellesley 9-Feb-1829
In an action for a libel, it is no plea, that the defendant had the libellous statement from another, and upon publication disclosed the author’s name. . .
CitedMcPherson v Daniels 1829
Bayley J said: Upon the great point, viz. whether it is a good defence to an action for slander for a defendant to show he heard it from another, and at that time named the author, I am of the opinion that it is not’ and ‘the law will not permit a . .
CitedCadam v Beaverbrook Newspapers Ltd CA 1959
The defendants had published an article stating simply and solely that a writ had been issued against the four plaintiffs claiming damages for alleged conspiracy to defraud. They pleaded justification, based on the issue of the writ itself. The . .
CitedTruth (NZ) Ltd v Holloway PC 1960
The publication complained of related to the plaintiff Cabinet Minister (referred to in the article as Phil), in which it was stated that a man had seen one Judd, to whom an import licence had been issued, with the object of getting information from . .
CitedWaters v Sunday Pictorial Newspapers Ltd CA 1961
The defendants published an article describing the plaintiff estate agent as ‘a notorious dodgy operator of London slum properties’. The article quoted statements by Lord Goddard CJ 8 years before describing the plaintiff’s estate agency as ‘a . .
CitedChalmers v Payne 1835
Bane and Antidote Doctrine – Take them as One
The court considered the bane and antidote doctrine in defamation. B Alderson said: ‘But the question here is, whether the matter be slanderous or not, which is a question of the Jury; who are to take the whole together and say whether the result of . .
CitedWebb v Times Publishing Co Ltd 1960
The Times newspaper published a report of the criminal trial in Switzerland of a British subject. When sued in defamation they sought to rely upon the defence of fair reporting of judicial proceedings.
Held: A blanket protection for reporting . .
CitedUren v John Fairfax and Sons Pty Ltd 2-Jun-1966
(High Court of Australia) ‘It seems to us that, in a case where there is no qualified privilege to report or repeat the defamatory statements of others, the whole cohesion of the law of defamation would be destroyed, if it were permissible merely to . .
CitedLewis v Daily Telegraph Ltd HL 1964
Ascertaining Meaning of Words for Defamation
The Daily Telegraph had published an article headed ‘Inquiry on Firm by City Police’ and the Daily Mail had published an article headed ‘Fraud Squad Probe Firm’. The plaintiffs claimed that those articles carried the meaning that they were guilty of . .

Cited by:
CitedKing v Telegraph Group Ltd CA 18-May-2004
The defendant appealed against interim costs orders made in the claim against it for defamation.
Held: The general power of cost capping measures available to courts were available also in defamation proceedings. The claimant was being . .
CitedJameel and Another v Times Newspapers Limited CA 21-Jul-2004
The defendant had published a newspaper article linking the claimant to terrorist activity. The defendants argued that no full accusation was made, but only that the claimant was under investigation for such behaviour, and that the article had . .
CitedCuristan v Times Newspapers Ltd CA 30-Apr-2008
curistan_timesCA2008
The court considered the availability of qualified privilege for reporting of statements made in parliament and the actionable meaning of the article, which comprised in part those statements and in part other factual material representing the . .
CitedFlood v Times Newspapers Ltd QBD 2-Oct-2009
The defendant had published a story in its newspaper. At that time it attracted Reynolds qualified privilege. After the circumstances changed, the paper offered an updating item. That offer was rejected as inadequate.
Held: The qualified . .
CitedSuresh Bhagwani Raja Shah and Navin Bhagwanji Shah v Standard Chartered Bank CA 2-Apr-1998
The plaintiffs appealed against refusal of orders striking out the defences of justification to their libel action.
Held: The words complained of bore an accusation of money laundering. A plea of justification based upon a reasonable belief in . .
CitedChase v Newsgroup Newspapers Ltd CA 3-Dec-2002
The defendant appealed against a striking out of part of its defence to the claim of defamation, pleading justification.
Held: The Human Rights Convention had not itself changed the conditions for a plea of justification based upon reasonable . .
CitedFlood v Times Newspapers Ltd SC 21-Mar-2012
The defendant had published an article which was defamatory of the claimant police officer, saying that he was under investigation for alleged corruption. The inquiry later cleared him. The court was now asked whether the paper had Reynolds type . .

These lists may be incomplete.
Updated: 17 March 2021; Ref: scu.89544

Henry v News Group Newspapers Ltd and Others: QBD 26 May 2011

The defendant, having been sued for defamation by the claimant social worker pleaded justification and now sought third party disclosure against the hospital involved and against the police of documents which might support the stories it had published.
Eady J
[2011] EWHC 1364 (QB)
Bailii
Civil Procedure Rules 31.17

Updated: 12 March 2021; Ref: scu.440196

Ames and Another v The Spamhaus Project Ltd and Another: QBD 27 Jan 2015

Warby J said: ‘ . . but as practitioners in this field are well aware, it is generally impractical for a claimant to seek out witnesses to say that they read the words complained of and thought the worse of the claimant’
Warby J
[2015] EWHC 127 (QB), [2015] EMLR 13, [2015] 1 WLR 3409, [2015] WLR (D) 51
Bailii, WLRD
England and Wales
Citing:
CitedScott v Sampson QBD 1882
The court explained why evidence of particular acts of misconduct on the part of the Plaintiff tending to show his character and disposition should be excluded, saying ‘Both principle and authority seems equally against its admission. It would give . .

Cited by:
CitedLachaux v Independent Print Ltd (1) CA 12-Sep-2017
Defamation – presumption of damage after 2013 Act
The claimant said that the defendant had published defamatory statements which were part of a campaign of defamation brought by his former wife. The court now considered the requirement for substantiality in the 2013 Act.
Held: The defendant’s . .
CitedTurley v Unite The Union and Another QBD 19-Dec-2019
Defamation of Labour MP by Unite and Blogger
The claimant now a former MP had alleged that a posting on a website supported by the first defendant was false and defamatory. The posting suggested that the claimant had acted dishonestly in applying online for a category of membership of the . .
CitedAhuja v Politika Novine I Magazini Doo and Others QBD 23-Nov-2015
Action for misuse of private information and libel. Application to have set aside leave to serve out of the jurisdiction. The defendant published a newspaper in Serbian, in print in Serbia and online. Though in Serbian, the claimant said that online . .

These lists may be incomplete.
Updated: 12 March 2021; Ref: scu.541924

Cassidy v Daily Mirror: CA 1929

Words which would not otherwise have been defamatory can become so because of circumstances. The intention of the defendant is irrelevant: ‘Liability for libel does not depend on the intention of the defamor; but on the fact of defamation.’
Scrutton LJ said: ‘I agree with the view expressed arguendo by Sir Montague Smith in the case of Simmons v. Mitchell (1880) 6 App. Cas. 156, 158.: The Judge must decide if the words are reasonably capable of two meanings; if he so decide, the jury must determine which of the two meanings was intended; and by intended I understand that a man is liable for the reasonable inferences to be drawn from the words he used, whether he foresaw them or not.’
Russell LJ, Scrutton LJ
[1929] 2 KB 331
England and Wales
Cited by:
CitedFreeguard and Another v Martlet Homes Ltd CA 4-Dec-2008
freeguard_martletCA2008
The claimant complained of a defamation alleged in the words ‘Let me know if he is abusive to you’.
Held: The claim failed. The words complained of did not carry a defamatory meaning. There was no innuendo present: ‘no jury with its feet on . .
CitedBaturina v Times Newspapers Ltd CA 23-Mar-2011
The claimant appealed against directions given in her defamation action against the defendant. It had been said that she owned a house, and the defendant said that this was not defamatory. The claimant said that as the wife of the Mayor of Moscow . .
CitedEconomou v De Freitas QBD 27-Jul-2016
Failed action for defamation on rape allegations
The claimant had been accused by the defendant’s daughter of rape. He was never charged but sought to prosecute her alleging intent to pervert the course of justice. She later killed herself. The defendant sought to have the inquest extended to . .

These lists may be incomplete.
Updated: 12 March 2021; Ref: scu.319877

Berezovsky v Forbes Inc and Michaels; Glouchkov v Same: HL 16 May 2000

Plaintiffs who lived in Russia sought damages for defamation against an American magazine with a small distribution in England. Both plaintiffs had real connections with and reputations in England. A judgment in Russia would do nothing to repair the reputations in England, and accordingly the proper place to sue was in England. Under English law the publication of a defamatory article carries with it a presumption that the person defamed by it has suffered damage, without the need to prove that anyone knowing that person has read the article.
Lord Steyn referred to the case law and said: ‘Counsel accepted that he could not object to a proposition that the place where in substance the tort arises is a weighty factor pointing to that jurisdiction being the appropriate one. This illustrates the weakness of the argument. The distinction between a prima facie position and treating the same factor as a weighty circumstance pointing in the same direction is a rather fine one. For my part the Albaforth line of authority is well established, tried and tested, and unobjectionable in principle. I would hold that Hirst LJ correctly relied on these decisions.’
Lord Hope said: ‘In a defamation case the judge is not required to disregard evidence that publication has taken place elsewhere as well as in England. On the contrary, this feature of the case, if present, will always be a relevant factor. The weight to be given to it will vary from case to case, having regard to the plaintiff’s connection with this country in which he wishes to raise his action. The rule which applies to these cases is that the plaintiff must limit his claim to the effects of the publication in England: Diamond v. Sutton (1866) L.R. 1 Ex. 130; Schapira v. Ahronson [1999] E.M.L.R. 735; see also Eyre v. Nationwide News Pty. Ltd. [1967] N.Z.L.R. 851. Common sense suggests that the more tenuous the connection with this country the harder it will be for the claim to survive the application of this rule’.
Lord Steyn, Lord Nolan, Lord Hoffmann, Lord Hope of Craighead, Lord Hobhouse of Wood-borough
Times 16-May-2000, Gazette 31-May-2000, [2000] 1 WLR 1004, [2000] UKHL 25, [2000] 2 All ER 986
House of Lords, House of Lords, Bailii
England and Wales
Citing:
Appeal fromBerezovsky and Another v Forbes Inc and Another CA 27-Nov-1998
Where a defamatory article was published in many jurisdictions, there is no rule preventing a plaintiff recovering in those jurisdictions where a remedy is given. Not confined by restriction to most appropriate jurisdiction. . .
See AlsoBerezovsky and Glouchkov v Forbes Inc and Michaels CA 31-Jul-2001
The claimant sought damages from the defendant for a magazine article claiming that he was involved in organised crime in Russia. The defendants appealed against the striking out of elements of the defence suggesting lesser meanings. Was meaning a . .
CitedSpiliada Maritime Corporation v Cansulex Ltd, The Spiliada HL 1986
Forum Non Conveniens Restated
The House reviewed the authorities on the principle of forum non conveniens and restated how to apply the principle where the defendant seeks a stay of proceedings on the ground that there is another more appropriate forum.
Held: ‘In the . .
CitedLadd v Marshall CA 29-Nov-1954
Conditions for new evidence on appeal
At the trial, the wife of the appellant’s opponent said she had forgotten certain events. After the trial she began divorce proceedings, and informed the appellant that she now remembered. He sought either to appeal admitting fresh evidence, or for . .
CitedDuke of Brunswick v Harmer QBD 2-Nov-1849
brunswick_harmerQBD1849
On 19 September 1830 an article was published in the Weekly Dispatch. The limitation period for libel was six years. The article defamed the Duke of Brunswick. Seventeen years after its publication an agent of the Duke purchased a back number . .
CitedDiamond v Sutton 1866
A plaintiff who seeks leave to serve out of the jurisdiction in respect of publication within the jurisdiction is guilty of an abuse if he seeks to include in the same action matters occurring elsewhere. . .
CitedRatcliffe v Evans 1892
The plaintiff was an engineer and boiler-maker. He alleged that a statement in the local newspaper that he had ceased business had caused him loss. The evidence that was given at trial consisted of general evidence of a downturn in trade; but the . .
CitedShevill and Others v Presse Alliance SA HL 26-Jul-1996
A libel case against a French paper was rightly brought in UK despite the small (250 copies nationally and 5 in the plaintiff’s local area (Yorkshire)) circulation here. The Brussels Convention allows a claim for defamation in UK though the main . .
CitedShevill, Ixora Trading Inc., Chequepoint SARL and Chequepoint International Ltd v Presse Alliance SA ECJ 7-Mar-1995
On a proper construction of the expression ‘place where the harmful event occurred’ in Article 5(3) of the Convention of 27 September 1968 on Jurisdiction and the Enforcement of Judgments in Civil and Commercial Matters as amended by the Convention . .
CitedLee v Wilson and Mackinnon 19-Dec-1934
(High Court of Australia) More than one person can be identified in a defamatory piece.
In determining the meaning in fact conveyed by the publication, the intention of the publisher is irrelevant, and it does not matter not whether the . .
CitedKroch v Rossell CA 1937
The plaintiff brought libel proceedings against the publishers of French and Belgian newspapers. He obtained permission to serve each defendant out of the jurisdiction on the ground that a small number of copies of each newspaper had been published . .
CitedCordoba Shipping Co Ltd v National State Bank, Elizabeth, New Jersey (The Albaforth) CA 1984
cordoba_albaforthCA1984
A negligent misrepresentation was made in a telex sent from the United States but received and acted upon in England. The judge had set aside leave to serve the document out of the jurisdiction.
Held: The appeal succeeded. The transmission was . .

Cited by:
CitedLewis and others v King CA 19-Oct-2004
The claimant sought damages for defamation for an article published on the Internet. The claimant Don King sued in London even though he lived in the US as did the defendants.
Held: A publication via the internet occurred when the material was . .
CitedDow Jones and Co Inc v Jameel CA 3-Feb-2005
Presumption of Damage in Defamation is rebuttable
The defendant complained that the presumption in English law that the victim of a libel had suffered damage was incompatible with his right to a fair trial. They said the statements complained of were repetitions of statements made by US . .
See AlsoBerezovsky and Glouchkov v Forbes Inc and Michaels CA 31-Jul-2001
The claimant sought damages from the defendant for a magazine article claiming that he was involved in organised crime in Russia. The defendants appealed against the striking out of elements of the defence suggesting lesser meanings. Was meaning a . .
CitedMardas v New York Times Company and Another QBD 17-Dec-2008
The claimant sought damages in defamation. The US publisher defendants denied that there had been any sufficient publication in the UK and that the court did not have jurisdiction. The claimant appealed the strike out of the claims.
Held: The . .
CitedMetropolitan International Schools Ltd. (T/A Skillstrain And/Or Train2Game) v Designtechnica Corp (T/A Digital Trends) and Others QBD 16-Jul-2009
The claimant complained that the defendant had published on its internet forums comments by posters which were defamatory of it, and which were then made available by the second defendant search engine. The court was asked what responsibility a . .
CitedFlood v Times Newspapers Ltd QBD 2-Oct-2009
The defendant had published a story in its newspaper. At that time it attracted Reynolds qualified privilege. After the circumstances changed, the paper offered an updating item. That offer was rejected as inadequate.
Held: The qualified . .
CitedVTB Capital Plc v Nutritek International Corp and Others SC 6-Feb-2013
The claimant bank said that it had been induced to create very substantial lending facilities by fraudulent misrepresentation by the defendants. They now appealed against findings that England was not clearly or distinctly the appropriate forum for . .
CitedAhuja v Politika Novine I Magazini Doo and Others QBD 23-Nov-2015
Action for misuse of private information and libel. Application to have set aside leave to serve out of the jurisdiction. The defendant published a newspaper in Serbian, in print in Serbia and online. Though in Serbian, the claimant said that online . .

These lists may be incomplete.
Updated: 12 March 2021; Ref: scu.78349

Theedom v Nourish Trading Ltd (T/A CSP Recruitment) and Another: QBD 15 Jun 2016

The claimant sued his former employer and his then manager for libel in emails. The issues in the trial have been whether the defamatory imputations conveyed by the emails were substantially true and, if not, what damages should be awarded to the claimant.
Held: The clam failed. The imputations were substantially true.
Warby J
[2016] EWHC 1364 (QB)
Bailii
England and Wales

Updated: 11 March 2021; Ref: scu.565544

Clynes v O’ Connor: QBD 13 May 2011

The court considered an action for damages for slander consisting of a few words spoken in an angry outburst and ‘the court must try to achieve a proportionate outcome in litigation which, in itself, appears to be disproportionate and, arguably, to serve no useful purpose at all.’
Held: ‘It should have been disposed of by a prompt apology at the outset and the parties should quite simply have got on with their lives. Nevertheless, there has been an admission that slanders were uttered and that they were heard by a few bystanders. The solicitor’s letters were ignored and costs will inevitably have been incurred in the interim. In all the circumstances, it seems to me that a very modest sum of damages will serve the purpose.’ A later costs award should be similarly proportionate.
Eady J
[2011] EWHC 1201 (QB)
Bailii

Updated: 11 March 2021; Ref: scu.439675

Commissioner of Police of The Metropolis and Another v Times Newspapers Ltd and Another: QBD 18 Apr 2011

The defendant had been sued in defamation, and now sought release of police records as to the claimant.
Tugendhat J
[2011] EWHC 776 (QB)
Bailii
England and Wales
Cited by:
CitedBeghal v Director of Public Prosecutions SC 22-Jul-2015
Questions on Entry must be answered
B was questioned at an airport under Schedule 7 to the 2000 Act, and required to answer questions asked by appropriate officers for the purpose set out. She refused to answer and was convicted of that refusal , contrary to paragraph 18 of that . .
See AlsoCommissioner of Police of The Metropolis and Another v Times Newspapers Ltd and Another QBD 24-Oct-2011
The claimant accused the defendant newspaper and journalist of breach of confidence, conversion and Data Protection breach. They said that he had received and published extracts from a confidential internal document leaked to him. . .

These lists may be incomplete.
Updated: 07 March 2021; Ref: scu.432864

Mireskandari v Associated Newspapers Ltd: CA 23 Feb 2011

The claimant appealed against orders made in the course of his defamation claim.
Lord Neuberger, MR, Hooper, Rimer LJJ
[2011] EWCA Civ 233
Bailii
England and Wales
Citing:
CitedRegina v Derby Magistrates Court Ex Parte B HL 19-Oct-1995
No Breach of Solicitor Client Confidence Allowed
B was charged with the murder of a young girl. He made a confession to the police, but later changed his story, saying his stepfather had killed the girl. He was acquitted. The stepfather was then charged with the murder. At his committal for trial, . .
CitedGeneral Accident Fire and Life Assurance Corporation v Tanter (‘The Zephyr’) 1984
When considering the extent to which a court should order partial disclosure of legally privileged advice, the test is one of fairness in the conduct of the trial. It should be left to the trial judge to determine whether a party in the evidence . .

These lists may be incomplete.
Updated: 05 March 2021; Ref: scu.430463

Henry v News Group Newspapers Ltd: QBD 18 Feb 2011

The defendant in this defamnation action sought disclosure from a third party, the claimant’s former employers. In a notorious child murder she said she had been blamed by the defendant for not seeking the child’s placement in care. She said that her requests for this had been turned down by the LA.
Tugendhat J
[2011] EWHC 296 (QB)
Bailii

Updated: 05 March 2021; Ref: scu.429737

Hayward v Thompson: CA 1981

A later publication by the same defendant can be used to identify the plaintiff in an earlier publication. If the defendant did intend to refer to the plaintiff, it may be enough if the recipient understood it as referring to the plaintiff regardless of how unreasonable or extraordinary it may have been for the recipient to do so.
Lord Denning MR said: ‘whether one or more causes of action are to be included in one verdict or judgment will depend upon the exercise of the trial Judge’s judicial discretion.’ It is the practice of the English courts in defamation actions to favour a single award of damages, even where there is more than one cause of action.
The court should in interpreting a passage, look to the meaning which the ordinary and reasonable reader would give it on a first reading.
Lord Denning considered the use of evidence as to the meaning: ‘Many read the article. In England Sir Peter Scott did so. He said that the words ‘One is a wealthy benefactor of the Liberal party’ conveyed to him Mr. Jack Hayward. They did likewise to a Mrs. Cowper who gave evidence. In the Bahamas Mr. Hayward’s daughter and son-in-law read it and thought it referred to him. But the most telling evidence came from Mr. Hayward himself. He said that in the Bahamas, after the article, the telephone never stopped ringing, day or night, either at home or at the office. He set it out in a contemporary letter from the Bahamas: ‘The telephone has hardly stopped ringing since I returned and reporters from virtually every newspaper have been on the line.’ The most striking incident was that: . . ‘
Sir George Baker said: ‘There are few civil actions in which nothing new emerges in the course of the hearing.’
Sir Stanley Rees answered an argument that it was not open in law in any circumstances to rely upon a subsequent publication in order to provide evidence of a defamatory meaning or of identification in an earlier article. Counsel referred the court hearing that argument to a number of authorities, in which an original publication was of innocent material which only became defamatory upon the publication of subsequent material, submitting that the principle derived from the cited cases was that a writer of innocent matter could not, by reason of facts which came into existence subsequent to the original innocent publication, become liable in damages for libel because the subsequent material attributed a defamatory meaning to the innocent publication, saying: ‘The question we have to consider is whether that well-established principle applies to a case such as the instant one when (1) the original publication is defamatory; (2) when the second publication relied upon explicitly identifies the person defamed; and (3) it is published by the same party who published the original libel.’
The learned judge held that it was open to find that, as from the second publication, the plaintiff had been publicly named as the person referred to in the first article, which was defamatory.
Sir George Baker, Lord Denning MR, Sir Stanley Rees
[1982] 1 QB 47, [1981] 3 All ER 45
England and Wales
Cited by:
CitedWright v Gregson and Others QBD 1-Jul-2010
The defendant denied that the words complained of were bore the defamatory meaning alleged, and asked the court to rule accordingly and to strike out he claim. He complained of comments about his intentions for the use of money raised for charitable . .
CitedWatkins v Woolas QBD 5-Nov-2010
The petitioner said that in the course of the election campaign, the respondent Labour candidate had used illegal practices in the form of deliberately misleading and racially inflammatory material.
Held: The claim succeeded, and the election . .
CitedLewis v Commissioner of Police of The Metropolis and Others (Rev 1) QBD 31-Mar-2011
lewis_cpmQBD11
The defendant sought a ruling on the meaning of the words but using section 69(4) of the 1981 Act. The claimant solicitor was acting in complaints as to the unlawful interception of celebrity voicemails by agents of the press. There had been debate . .
CitedEconomou v De Freitas QBD 27-Jul-2016
Failed action for defamation on rape allegations
The claimant had been accused by the defendant’s daughter of rape. He was never charged but sought to prosecute her alleging intent to pervert the course of justice. She later killed herself. The defendant sought to have the inquest extended to . .

These lists may be incomplete.
Updated: 05 March 2021; Ref: scu.420204

Pritchard Englefield (A Firm) and Another v Steinberg: QBD 11 Feb 2011

The defendant sought to set aside summary judgment against him in a defamation action relating to a publication on the internet. The action had been heard over several years with the defendant being unrepresented, ill or abroad.
Held: The application failed. None of the issues raised by the defendant had been determinative of the judgment given in 2003, the claimants did not appear to have misled the judge, and the defendant had still produced no evidence to support any possible basis for running his defence.
Eady J
[2011] EWHC 48 (QB)
Bailii
England and Wales
Citing:
CitedHertfordshire Investments Ltd v Bubb and Another CA 25-Jul-2000
When considering an application for a re-hearing of a County Court action in order to consider and admit new evidence, the county court and High Court practice is now the same and the judge should consider the list of questions in Ladd v Marshall, . .

These lists may be incomplete.
Updated: 04 March 2021; Ref: scu.428709