Monthly Archives: March 2012
Flood-v- Times Newspapers Limited: Supreme Court rules report is protected by Reynolds privilege and gives guidance on what journalists must do to verify allegations.
On 21 March the Supreme Court handed down a long-awaited judgment, overturning a decision of the Court of Appeal and reinstating the finding of the trial judge Mr Justice Tugendhat that a report published in the Times on 2 June 2006 was protected by Reynolds privilege. As is always the case, the decision was fact-sensitive, and, as Lord Phillips pointed out, the case was an illustration yet again of the inherent complexity of the law of libel and the importance of identifying the meaning of the article.
The Report of the Joint Committee on the draft Defamation Bill (October 2011) identified a number of areas where it considered greater clarity was required. For the most part, the Government in its Response (February 2012) has accepted the recommendations made.
There remain, however, a number of areas where the effect that the proposed changes of the law will have in practice remains unclear. In several instances, the Government proposes “to consider further” points raised by the Joint Committee. These include matters such as “reportage” (the repetition of allegations made by others), how “peer-reviewed” papers and “public archive” material may be defined so as to be afforded the protection of statutory qualified privilege, the liability of “secondary publishers” such as booksellers, and the thorny topic of “publication on the internet”. As ever, the devil may lie in the detail, for which we shall have to wait. Continue reading
The hearing which took place in Leeds Mercantile Court before Christmas, and the expected judgment, attracted considerable interest, not just within the legal community but also among the many thousands of business owners who find themselves in a similar position to the Claimants in that action.
The reason this relatively small claim was potentially very significant is because it was the first hearing of a claim against a UK bank regarding the misselling of an interest rate swap. Tens of thousands of these products were sold to small and medium size businesses byUKbanks in recent years and have brought many of those businesses to their knees. Continue reading