On 1 September 2016, Mrs Trump issued libel proceedings in the Circuit Court for Montgomery County Maryland, against the New York based US publisher of MailOnline, Mail Media Inc, and a US blogger named Webster Griffin Tarpley. The Maryland Complaint can be found here [pdf].
The English claim concerns a 20 August 2016 Daily Mail article with the headline
‘Racy photos and troubling questions about his wife’s past that could derail Trump’
This article discussed, among other things, an article published by Suzy, a Slovenian magazine, alleged that Mrs. Trump’s modelling agency in New York, run by Paolo Zampolli, ‘operated as an escort agency for wealthy clients.’
On 1 September 2016, the Daily Mail published a lengthy “retraction” – though it could not bring itself to use the word “apology”. It was said that
To the extent that anything in the Daily Mail’s article was interpreted as stating or suggesting that Mrs. Trump worked as an ‘escort’ or in the ‘sex business,’ that she had a ‘composite or presentation card for the sex business,’ or that either of the modeling agencies referenced in the article were engaged in these businesses, it is hereby retracted, and the Daily Mail newspaper regrets any such misinterpretation.
MediaLawyer now reports that Mrs Trump has issued a High Court claim form against Associated Newspapers Limited, the publishers of the Daily Mail.
We had a post about the US action last month in which we commented that, bearing in mind Mrs Trump’s status as a “public figure”, it was going to be very difficult for her to succeed in her US libel proceedings.
We drew attention, however, to the very different position in England and Wales where the burden is on the defendant to prove truth. There is no question of staying the proceedings on the basis of forum non conveniens because Associated Newspapers Limited is an English company and there is, therefore, an absolute right for a claimant to sue it in the courts of this country under Article 2 of the Brussels Convention (see the decision of the CJEU in Owusu v Jackson  QB 801).
The main hurdle for the claimant to overcome is that of showing that the statement caused or is likely to cause “serious harm to reputation” (see generally, this post). We will report on the further progress of this libel action in due course.