Defamation Trials, Summary Determinations and Assessments 2010 [updated]

2 01 2011

Libel defendants had a good year in 2010.  There were 21 defamation hearings before High Court Judges which resulted in the final disposal of libel actions.  The defendants were successful in 17 of these cases, that is 81% of the total.   In three of the four cases in which the claimant was successful – Bryce, Ernst & Young and Metropolitan Schools –  the defendant did not appear.  In the fourth (Berezovsky) the media defendant did not appear and the individual defendant was in person.  In other words, the mainstream media did not fight and lose a single libel case in 2010 – it should however, be noted that there were a number of “late settlements” in media cases, with statements in open court being made shortly before the trial was due to commence.

There are two other striking features of the list of “final determinations” for 2010.  First, of the 18 cases listed, only 8 involved the mainstream UK media.  The media defendants were completely successful in 7 of these cases.  In the eighth (Bowman) the media defendant, MGN, 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.

Second, there were only three completed libel trials which resulted in judgments in 2010.  A fourth – Cambridge v Makin – took place in 2010 but judgment has not yet been handed down.   All of these trials were by judge alone.  There were no libel jury trials at all in 2010.  We believe that this is the first time that a libel jury trial has not taken place in a calendar year.

The purpose of this post is to record the “final determinations” of libel cases by the High Court in 2010.  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” (and our post on the first 6 months of 2010). Like those posts, 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 list is extracted from our “Table of Cases 2010-2011 ” and includes links to the judgments (where available) and, where applicable, the Inforrm blog posts and comments on them as well the useful case notes and comments provided on the websites of barristers’ chambers 1 Brick Court  (“1BC”) and 5 Raymond Buildings (“5RB”).

Date Case Name Reference Court Subject Matter Posts Final win –  C or D
15.12.10 Shergill v Purewal Sir Charles Gray Libel 

Summary Determination

D
13.12.10 Smith v ADVFN [2010] EWHC 3255 (QB) Tugendhat J Libel 

Summary Determination

D
3.12.10 Lait v Evening Standard (No.2) [2010] EWHC 3239 (QB) Eady J Libel 

Fair Comment

Summary Determination

D
24.11.10 Daniels v BBC [2010] EWHC 3057 (QB) Sharp J Libel 

Strike Out

5RB D
8.11.10 Ifheda v Archnat Regional [2010] EWHC 2819 (QB) Tugendhat J Libel 

Summary disposal

5 RB D
8.11.10 Ernst & Young v Coomber [2010] EWHC 2837 (QB) Eady J Libel 

Summary disposal

5 RB C
4.10.10 Metropolitan Schools v Designtechnica [2010] EWHC 241 (QB) Tugendhat J Libel 

Assessment of damages

Discussion 

Further discussion

1 BC

C
27.7.10 Bryce v Barber Tugendhat J Libel 

Trial

News report C
23.7.10 Kaschke v Gray [2010] EWHC 1907 (QB) Stadlen J Libel Strike Out 5 RB D
5.7.10 Henderson v LB Hackney [2010] EWHC 1651 (QB) Eady J Libel 

Meaning

5 RB D
26.5.10 Brady v Norman [2010] EWHC 1215 (QB) Eady J Libel 

Extension of time

5 RB D
17.5.10 Hays plc v Hartley [2010] EWHC 1068 (QB) Tugendhat J Libel 

Strike Out

Hearing 

Case Comment

1BC

5 RB

D
17.5.10 His Holiness Sant Baba Jeet Singh Ji Maharaj v Eastern Media Group [2010] EWHC 1294 (QB) Eady J Libel 

Stay of action

5 RB D
13.5.10 Kaschke v Osler [2010] EWHC 1075 (QB) Eady J Libel 

Strike Out

Case Comment 

1BC

D
5.5.10 Vaidya v GMC [2010] EWHC 984 (QB) Sir Charles Gray Libel 

Summary Judgment

D
28.4.10 Dee v Telegraph Media Group [2010] EWHC 924 (QB) Sharp J Libel 

Strike Out

Hearing  

Case Comment

1BC

5RB

D
26.4.10 Bowman v MGN [2010] EWHC 895 Eady J Libel 

Offer of Amends

1BC 

5RB

N/A
23.3.10 Budu v BBC [2010] EWHC 616 (QB) Sharp J Libel 

Strike out

1 BC D
11.3.10 Hughes v Risbridger [2010] EWHC 491 (QB) Eady J Libel 

Trial

1 BC D
10.3.10 Berezovsky v Russian Television [2010] EWHC 476 (QB). Eady J Libel 

Trial

Case Comment 

5 RB

C
27.1.10 Ali v Associated Newspapers [2010] EWHC 100 (QB) Eady J Libel 

Summary Judgment

1 BC D

 


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3 responses

28 01 2011
Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter

Glad to see the SLAPP filers had a rough year in your neck of the woods. Wish there was an equivalent to your blog in the US.

22 12 2011
Law and Media Round Up – 10 January 2011 « Inforrm's Blog

[…] news.   In a story based on an Inforrm post the Press Gazette reports that 2010 was the first year without a jury trial, drawing attention to […]

7 09 2012
Defamation Trials, Summary Determinations and Assessments: 2011 to 2012 « Inforrm's Blog

[…] defamation cases, which tracked Defamation Trials, Summary Determinations and Assessments in 2011; 2010 and 2005-2009. Additionally, the Ministry of Justice’s Impact Assessment on the Defamation […]

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