The first six months of 2010 has been a bad period for libel claimants.  Defendants have scored a string of high profile victories – even without the benefit of libel reform designed to provide them with further assistance.   The purpose of this post is not to try and draw up a “balance sheet” for this period but is the more limited one of recording the “final determinations” of libel cases by the Courts over the past 6 months. This can only be a partial picture as it does not include settlements or withdrawals.  It does not, therefore, include cases such as BCA v Singh (discontinuance after adverse Court of Appeal ruling) or Fiddes v Channel Four (“drop hands” deal on the first day of trial).

The post is intended as a follow up to the one we published in March 2010 which set out to provide a list of all the “Defamation Trials, Summary Determinations and Assessments 2005-2009“.  Like that post, this one includes all the substantive defamation hearings before High Court Judges, including trials, “offer of amends assessments”, summary disposals and determinative  preliminary issues which we are aware of during this period.  We believe that this list is complete but if there are other cases which we have missed then perhaps readers could provide details.

The “headline” figures are startling.  Ten libel cases have concluded in court this year, with the claimant recovering damages or compensation in only two (20%).   Of these ten cases, four involved the mainstream media, which was completely successful in three and in the fourth (Bowman) was, for all practical purposes, the winner – the claimant having failed to match an earlier offer and, as a result, being liable for the costs of the hearing.

Date Case Name Reference Court Result
23.6.10 Khader v Aziz [2010] EWCA Civ 716 Maurice Kay, Carnwath and Moore-Bick LJJ Action struck out
17.5.10 Hays plc v Hartley [2010] EWHC 1068 (QB) Tugendhat J Action struck out
17.5.10 His Holiness Sant Baba Jeet Singh Ji Maharaj v Eastern Media Group [2010] EWHC 1294 (QB) Eady J Stay of action
13.5.10 Kaschke v Osler [2010] EWHC 1075 (QB) Eady J Action struck out
28.4.10 Dee v Telegraph Media Group [2010] EWHC 924 (QB) Sharp J Action struck out
26.4.10 Bowman v MGN [2010] EWHC 895 Eady J Offer of amends compensation hearing,  C recovered £4,250
23.3.10 Budu v BBC [2010] EWHC 616 (QB) Sharp J Action struck out
11.3.10 Hughes v Risbridger [2010] EWHC 491 (QB) Eady J Judgment for D after trial. Qualified privilege
10.3.10 Berezovsky v Russian Television [2010] EWHC 476 (QB). Eady J Judgment for C after trial, damages of £150,000
27.1.10 Ali v Associated Newspapers [2010] EWHC 100 (QB) Eady J Summary judgment for D