The International Forum for Responsible Media Blog

Sir Alan Ward retires – some of his privacy and defamation cases

250px-Justice_wardSir Alan Ward retires this week after 18 years in the Court of Appeal and nearly 24 years as a judge.  His “valedictory” is at 9.30am on 14 February 2013.  His wit and good humour have attracted a considerable “fan club”. 

The judgment beginning ‘This case involves a number of – and here I must not fall into Dr Spooner’s error – warring bankers’ has passed into folklore.  His “lap dancing” judgment and his interactions with litigants in person such as Darth Vader have attracted widespread attention.  However, for the purposes of this blog we wish to draw attention to one small area of his judicial work: media law.

Lord Justice Ward has, over the years, sat on many notable defamation and privacy appeals.  We mention the following:

ETK v News Group Newspapers [2011] EWCA Civ 439, Ward, Laws and Moore-Bick LJJ, allowed an appeal against an order of Collins J refusing an injunction to prevent the disclosure by the News of the World of a story concerning an affair which the married claimant had had but which both he and his wife did not wish to be made public.  In the course of his judgment Ward LJ referred to an application made at the outset of the hearing on behalf of Mr Benjamin Pell

“”Mr David Price QC intervened on behalf of that well known figure, Mr Benjamin Pell, who is regularly seen in the press benches of these courts reporting especially on matters in this field in which he has become quite an expert, to the extent even of his occasionally prompting learned counsel with references to relevant authority of which counsel was ignorant”

Clift v Slough Borough Council [2010] EWCA Civ 1484, Ward, Thomas and Richards LJJ dismissed an appeal against a decision of Tugendhat J in which he had held that, as a result of the Human Rights Act 1998, a public authority could only rely on a defence of qualified privilege where it could show that the interference with the Article 8 right to reputation of the claimant was justified under Article 8(2).  Ward LJ gave the leading judgment.

H v Tomlinson [2008] EWCA Civ 1258, Ward, Sedley and Longmore LJJ held that where a claim for damages for libel and slander is dismissed because the sting of the defamation is defeated by the defence of justification, can the same remarks cannot found a claim for breach of the claimant’s art 8 right to respect for his privacy and reputation.  Ward LJ gave the judgment of the Court.

Westcott v Westcott [2008] EWCA Civ 818, Ward, Sedley and Stanley Burnton LJJ held that when a person who makes a complaint to the police, thereby instigating a police investigation which does not lead to a prosecution, he nonetheless has a defence of absolute privilege.

Charman v Orion Publishing [2007] EWCA Civ 972, Ward, Sedley and Hooper LLJ allowed an appeal against a judgment of Gray J, holding that the defence of Reynolds qualified privilege was available in respect of allegations made  in a book entitled “Bent Coppers”

Roberts v Gable [2007] EWCA Civ 721, Ward, Sedley and Moore-Bick LJJ, held that the “reportage” variety of Reynolds qualified privilege applied to an article concerning the allegations of criminality against the claimant.

Kirby v Daily Telegraph, 13 August 1998, Roch, Ward and Potter LJJ, held that a previous judgment in a libel case was final and could not be reopened.  Mr Peter Goldsmith QC and Mr Jonathan Sumption QC as they then were appeared for the two parties.

Tsikata v Newspaper Publishing [1997] 1 All ER 655, Neill, Ward and Thorpe LJJ held that a newspaper report of a judicial inquiry in Ghana was protected by qualified privilege.

Count Tolstoy-Miloslavsky v Lord Aldington [1996] 2 All 556, Rose, Roch and Ward LJJ dismissed an appeal by Schilling and Lom against an order by Collins J that they should pay 60% of the defendant’s costs.

Gilberthorpe v Hawkins and Others, The Times, 3 April 1995, McCowan and Ward LJJ and Sir Roger Parker, allowed an appeal against a judgment of Drake J striking out a libel action on the ground of delay.

1 Comment

  1. Loverat

    I attended one of his hearings in the Appeal Court several years ago, Very amusing man and judging by some of his remarks during the hearing a book listing his quotations might be a best seller. This was one which was reported in the Evening Standard….

    Further to the judge who reputedly asked “Who are the Beatles?” — reputedly, because the tale remains an urban myth — there is this, completely genuine, gem from Lord Justice Ward, in the recent case of Smith v ADVFN Plc & others: “…bulletin boards, usually under a pseudonym or an avatar, whatever that means”.

Leave a Reply

© 2023 Inforrm's Blog

Theme by Anders NorénUp ↑

%d bloggers like this: