ZC v Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust: QBD 26 Jul 2019

Defamation/privacy claims against doctors failed

The claimant, seeking damages for alleged defamation, now asked for the case to be anonymised.
Held: The conditions for anonymisation were not met. The anonymity would be retained temporarily until any time for appeal had passed.
As to the defamation allegation (contained in an email: ‘in order to satisfy the test in s 1(1), the Claimant must prove on the balance of probabilities as a fact that the Email has caused her serious harm, or that it is likely as a matter of fact to do so in the future’. She had been unable to substantiate the assertion that more than four people had seen the email at issue.
The claimant had at times lied to staff and hidden her identity, and without additional evidence the assertions were not made out.
The Defendant having additionally succeeded in showing that the imputations conveyed by the Email that the Claimant was dishonest and fraudulent were substantially true. The defence of truth therefore succeeded.
There can be no expectation of privacy in relation to an attempt to deceive a hospital professional.

Julian Knowles J
[2019] EWHC 2040 (QB)
Civil Procedure Rules 39.2.4, Human Rights Act 1998, Defamation Act 2013 1(1)
England and Wales
CitedHM Revenue and Customs v Banerjee (1) ChD 19-Jun-2009
The taxpayer sought anonymity in the reporting of the case against her.
Held: No, she could not be given anonymity.
Henderson J said: ‘In determining whether it is necessary to hold a hearing in private, or to grant anonymity to a party, . .
CitedIn re Guardian News and Media Ltd and Others; HM Treasury v Ahmed and Others SC 27-Jan-2010
Proceedings had been brought to challenge the validity of Orders in Council which had frozen the assets of the claimants in those proceedings. Ancillary orders were made and confirmed requiring them not to be identified. As the cases came to 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 . .
CitedPrince Abdulaziz v Apex Global Management Ltd and Another SC 26-Nov-2014
The appellant was involved in very substantial litigation with the respondents. As a member of the Saudi Royal family he said that by convention he was not allowed to sign a witness statement, and appealed inter alia against orders requiring him to . .
CitedLachaux v Independent Print Ltd and Another SC 12-Jun-2019
Need to Show Damage Increased by 2013 Act
The claimant alleged defamation by three publishers. The articles were held to have defamatory meaning, but the papers argued that the defamations did not reach the threshold of seriousness in section 1(1) of the 2013 Act.
Held: Section 1 of . .
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 . .
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 . .
CitedPJS v News Group Newspapers Ltd SC 19-May-2016
The appellants had applied for restrictions on the publication of stories about their extra marital affairs. The Court of Appeal had removed the restrictions on the basis that the story had been widely spread outside the jurisdiction both on the . .
CitedKoutsogiannis v The Random House Group Ltd QBD 18-Jan-2019
Settling Meaning in Defamation Cases
Nicklin J set out the approach to meaning in defamation actions: The Court’s task is to determine the single natural and ordinary meaning of the words complained of, which is the meaning that the hypothetical reasonable reader would understand the . .
CitedStocker v Stocker SC 3-Apr-2019
The parties had been married and divorced. Mrs S told M S’s new partner on Facebook that he had tried to strangle her and made other allegations. Mrs S now appealed from a finding that she had defamed him. Lord Kerr restated the approach to meaning . .
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 . .
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 . .
CitedSerafin v Malkiewicz and Others CA 17-May-2019
Appeal from rejection of claim in defamation . .
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 . .
CitedIvey v Genting Casinos (UK) Ltd (T/A Crockfords) SC 25-Oct-2017
The claimant gambler sought payment of his winnings. The casino said that he had operated a system called edge-sorting to achieve the winnings, and that this was a form of cheating so as to excuse their payment. The system exploited tiny variances . .
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 . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Defamation, Information

Updated: 02 November 2021; Ref: scu.641728