In previous posts we have considered the final hearings in defamation claims in 2010 – and the decline in the number of trials. But only a small proportion of defamation cases are actually dealt with at hearings or trials. There are between 200 and 300 defamation claims commenced each year – 259 in 2008 and 298 in 2009 (see RPC’s analysis and our post commenting on it) – but only 21 were disposed of at hearings. The question arises as to what happened to the other 200 odd claims which, it seems likely, would have been disposed of in 2010?
A substantial number were settled by the defendant agreeing to pay damages and costs and making a statement in open court. We counted 43 such statements in 2010 – but we may well have missed some. There is a list at the bottom of this post. [Update] Mr Benjamin Pell has drawn our attention to a number of omissions from the list – and two privacy statements included in error. The updated list of 46 statements is set out below.
There have been a number of settlements of libel actions which have resulted in apologies but no statement in open court – for example, Ed Buxton v News Group (the “Sun”) and NOW Magazine, Eason v Kordowski (Solicitors from Hell), Sawalha v Phillips (libel on Spectator blog), Laker v News Group (body scanner libel), Islam Expo v Spectator, Forzini v Times Newspapers, Gordon Taylor v Associated Newspapers
There have also been a number of high profile cases in which libel claims have been “discontinued” – we are thinking for example of, GE Healthcare v Thomsen, Fiddes v Channel Four, BCA v Singh, North London Mosque v Policy Exchange.
However, the total of all the cases we have mentioned so far – hearings, statements, apologies and withdrawals – is only 79, or just over a third of the annual figure for libel claims which are commenced. Even assuming that we have missed a number of settlements and apologies, it appears that there a very substantial proportion of issued claims – perhaps around half – which have not been accounted for.
Of course, it is possible that each year a number of claims are simply “left on the court file” with neither party taking action to progress the case – although it can be assumed that if a claimant does nothing for a period of years then a defendant will, eventually, take steps to have the case struck out.
It seems likely that the “unaccounted for” fall into one of three categories
- withdrawn or discontinued without publicity;
- settled without publicity;
- struck out for want of prosecution.
There is at present, no information available as to what percentage of the remaining cases fall into each of these categories. It might be assumed that, in general, successful libel claimants would wish to have their settlements publicised and successful defendants would wish the public to know if a claim was abandoned or struck out.
STATEMENTS IN OPEN COURT IN LIBEL CASES IN 2010
1. GASCOIGNE v MGN LIMITED, 17/12/2010
2. LORD TRIESMAN V UTV MEDIA, 9/12/2010
3. (1) NELSON ANGELO PIQUET (2) NELSON PIQUET SOUTO MAIOR V RENAULT F1 TEAM LTD, QBD 7/12/2010
4. MARK LEWIS v (1) COMMISSIONER OF POLICE OF THE METROPOLIS (2) BARONESS BUSCOMBE (3) PRESS COMPLAINTS COMMISSION 26/11/2010
5. LAVASA CORPORATION v TIMES NEWSPAPERS, 17/11/2010
6. LOUIS M BACON v ASSOCIATED NEWSPAPERS LTD 16/11/2010
7. MARIA JAYNE WYATT v GORDON A CARTWRIGHT 10/11/2010
8. CRISTIANO RONALDO V TELEGRAPH MEDIA GROUP LTD , 8/11/2010
9. HESFORD v EXPRESS NEWSPAPERS, 4/11/2010
10. SYLVIA HENRY v INDEPENDENT NEWS & MEDIA LTD 26/10/2010
11. SYLVIA HENRY v MGN LTD 26/10/2010
12. SYLVIA HENRY v ASSOCIATED NEWSPAPERS 26/10/2010
13. (1) PETER KENYON (2) CHELSEA FC PLC v ASSOCIATED NEWSPAPERS LTD 21/10/2010
14. PATRICK JOSEPH HILL v (1) HARVARD UNIVERSITY PRESS (2) WES DAVIS 12/10/2010
15. LILY ALLEN v (1) NEWS GROUP NEWSPAPERS LTD (2) SO PRESS SARL 7/10/2010
16. TAKE 2 INC v EXPRESS NEWSPAPERS LIMITED, 4/10/2010
17. HOLMAN v SUFFOLK COUNTY COUNCIL, 15/9/2010
18. STEPHEN UNDERHILL v TIMOTHY WATSON 29/7/2010
19. PARAMESWARAN SUBRAMANYAM V NEWS GROUP NEWSPAPERS LTD 29/7/10
20. (1) IAIN STAMP (2) UK INNOVATIVE FINANCIAL DESIGNS LTD v DAVID COTTRELL 29/7/2010
21. REZA PANKHURST V EVENING STANDARD LTD 28/7/2010
22. REZA PANKHURST V ASSOCIATED NEWSPAPERS LTD 28/7/2010
23. IBRAHIM HEWITT & ORS V EXPRESS NEWSPAPERS LIMITED 22/7/2010
24. MOHAMMED MICHAEL GEORGE V EXPRESS NEWSPAPERS 19/7/2010
25. SHERYL GASCOIGNE v MGN LTD 16/7/2010
26. STELIOS HAJI-IOANNOU v (1) MICHAEL O’LEARY (2) RYANAIR LTD 15/7/2010
27. PRINCE RADU OF HOHENZOLLERN V (1) MARCO HOUSTON (2) SENA-JULIA PUBLICATUS LTD 15/7/2010
28. SYLVIA HENRY v HARINGEY LONDON BOROUGH COUNCIL 1/7/2010
29. ZOE MARGOLIS v INDEPENDENT NEWS & MEDIA LTD 21/5/2010
30. BARRY GEORGE v (1) MGN LTD (2) TINA WEAVER (3) DAVID JEFFS 14/5/2010
31. SHERYL GASCOIGNE v NEWS GROUP NEWSPAPERS LTD 7/5/2010
32. MOHAMMED JAMIL ABDELQADER ASHA v NEWS GROUP NEWSPAPERS LTD 27/4/2010
33. (1) JOYCE PINFIELD (2) DAVID VALENTINE v TAKE A BREAK MAGAZINE 21/4/2010
34. IDRIS ATCHA AND OTHERS V EXPRESS NEWSPAPERS LIMITED 15/4/2010
35. (1) MCLAUGHLIN (2) MARTIN (3) DAVIES v NEWALL 15/4/2010
36. TOM WATSON V NEWS GROUP NEWSPAPERS LTD 12/4/2010
37. CLAIRE POWELL v KATIE PRICE 19/3/2010
38. ROMAN ABRAMOVICH v GRUPPO EDITORIALE L’ESPRESSO SPA 18/3/2010
39. JULIA SVETLICHNAJA v OXFORD UNIVERSITY PRESS 15/3/2010
40. SIR MICHAEL PARKINSON v ASSOCIATED NEWSPAPERS LTD 3/3/2010
41. GARETH LEVINGTON v (1) MOODY’S INVESTORS SERVICE LTD (2) MOODY’S INVESTORS SERVICE INC (3) MOODY’S CORPORATION (4) MIS QUALITY MANAGEMENT CORPORATION 25/2/2010
42. ABDUL MUNEEM PATEL v (1) JR BOOKS (2) JEREMY ROBSON (3) GORDON THOMAS (4) ROB KIRKPATRICK 17/2/2010
43. ABDUL MUNEEM PATEL v NEWS GROUP NEWSPAPERS LTD 17/2/2010
44. MARTYN SMITH v PRESS ASSOCIATION LTD 4/2/2010
45. INAYAT BUNGLAWALA v ASSOCIATED NEWSPAPERS LTD 29/1/2010
46. PEACHES GELDOF v EXPRESS NEWSPAPERS 12/1/2010