The long running cases of Miller v Associated Newspapers finally concluded on 31 October 2014, more than 6 years after publication of the article complained of, when the Supreme Court dismiissed the Defendant’s application for permission to appeal on the ground that it did not raise a point of law of general importance.
The case concerned an article published on the front page of the Daily Mail on 2 October 2008 under the headline “Met Boss in new ‘Cash for friend’ storm“. The action was commenced on 29 September 2009 and the Particulars of Claim were served on 26 November 2009.
The case first came before the courts on 18 March 2010 when Mr Justice Eady struck out one of the claimant’s pleaded meanings ( EWHC 700 (QB)). The Defence was served on 12 July 2010. The substantive defence relied on was justification. On 14 July 2011 the parties agreed to trial by judge alone.
In November 2011 Mr Justice Tugendhat decided that ( EWHC 2677 (QB)) the words complained of meant that
“there were (at the date of publication) reasonable grounds to suspect that Mr Miller was a willing beneficiary of improper conduct and cronyism because of his friendship with Sir Ian Blair in respect of the award of a number of Metropolitan Police Service contracts to Mr Miller’s company worth millions of pounds of public money”.
The case was tried by Mrs Justice Sharp on 21 to 25 May 2012 and on 21 December 2012 she gave judgment dismissing the defence of justification and awarding the claimant, Mr Miller, damages of £65,000 ( EWHC 3721 (QB)).
The Daily Mail appealed to the Court of Appeal. Its appeal was dismissed on 24 January 2014 ( EWCA Civ 39). The Daily Mail then sought permission to appeal to the Supreme Court. The decision of 31 October 2014 dismissing that application – just over six years since the publication of the article complained of – is the final conclusion of this long drawn out case.