Wood 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 trial, informed members of the insurance industry, such as the manager of the Association of British Insurers Crime and Fraud Prevention Bureau, that he was guilty. In fact he was subsequently acquitted. The claimant complained that the letters associating him and the business with the accused meant and were understood to mean that he had aided and abetted the commission of numerous serious criminal offences. The director had not personally been suspect, but felt he had been defamed. The defendant appealed summary judgment against him for libel, complaining that the claimant had been allowed to add a claim for slander late in the day.
Held: The judge had to find an equitable solution before allowing a late amendment. The judge had not gone through a detailed analysis, but had addressed the fundamental issue.


May LJ, Dyson LJ, Wall LJ


[2004] EWCA Civ 1638, Times 13-Dec-2004, [2005] EMLR 20




England and Wales


Appeal fromWood v West Midlands Police QBD 8-Dec-2003
The claimant’s busness partner had been investigated by the police. He claimed in defamation after a senior officer circulated business associates and others informing them of the prosecution and suggesting the partners’s guilt. He said he was . .
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 . .

Cited by:

CitedClift v Slough Borough Council and Another QBD 6-Jul-2009
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.

Police, Defamation

Updated: 28 June 2022; Ref: scu.221603