statistics-graphsThis post records the “final determinations” of libel cases by High Court judges in the legal year: October 2012 – July 2013. It shows a slight increase in the number of trials over the previous year (from 5 to 7).  Defendants continue have a better success rate than claimants (2012/13 – 56%; 2011/12 – 67%, 2011/12 – 59%).

This post updates Inforrm’s previous posts dealing of defamation cases, which tracked “Defamation Trials, Summary Determinations and Assessments” in  2011-2012, 2011; 2010 and 2005-2009.  This is, of course, not a complete picture as there may be some hearings we have missed and the list does not include settlements, withdrawals or statements in open court.  As the Ministry of Justice’s Impact Assessment on the Defamation Bill [PDF] noted, “Data are not collated centrally on the outcomes of defamation claims issued in court. In many cases the costs and damages paid in cases are kept private“.

Summary: October 2012-July 2013

  • First instance defamation hearings, which resulted in disposal of action: 25 (2011/12: 24, 2010/11: 22)
  • The defendants were successful in 14 of these cases, that is 56% of cases (2011/12: 16/24 – 67%; 2010/11: 13/22 – 59%)
  • Defamation trials: 7 (2011/12: 5, 2010/11: 2 – highlighted in turquoise in table below)
  • Defamation trials involving the mainstream media: 4 (2011/12: 3; 2010/11: 1)
  • Defamation trials with jury: 1 (2011/12: 1, 2010/11: 0)

The table below records substantive defamation hearings before High Court Judges, including trials, “offer of amends assessments”, summary disposals and determinative preliminary issues, of which Inforrm is aware. If there are other cases which we have missed, please contact

The “final determinations” of libel claims by first instance judges were as follows:

The cases for 2011-2012, 2010-2011 and 2009-2010 can be seen by clicking on the Tabs at the bottom of the table.