Media Law: Recent Work Archive: 2010
Early Resolution Procedure Group
In early 2010, the Early Resolution Procedure Group was set up at the suggestion of Lord Justice Jackson, to consider ways in which claims in libel might be resolved more quickly, and therefore at lower cost, than is sometimes possible through litigation. Carter-Ruck partner Alasdair Pepper was one of the originators of a number of the ideas contained in the Report and was a member of the Group, which was chaired by Sir Charles Gray.
University of Wales submits formal complaint to BBC
Carter-Ruck is advising the University of Wales and its Vice-Chancellor, Professor Marc Clement, in relation to their formal complaint to the BBC over an episode of the Welsh investigative television series 'Week In, Week Out', broadcast on 9 November 2010.
The Times has paid substantial libel damages to the leading sports psychologist Roberto Forzoni after falsely alleging that he had to leave his position at the Lawn Tennis Association because the players had lost confidence in him.
The payout follows a full apology published earlier this year.
Apology Press Gazette
Carter-Ruck is representing freelance journalist Hardeep Singh who is the Defendant in an appeal brought by His Holiness Baba Jeet Singh Ji Maharaj, which is to be heard in the week commencing 28 February 2011. The appeal relates to an Order of Mr. Justice Eady, dated 17 May 2010, that the proceedings brought by the Claimant be stayed on the grounds of non-justiciability.
Court of Appeal success for Boris Berezovsky
Following a judgment of the Court of Appeal on 25 November 2010, Boris Berezovsky has successfully defeated various appeals brought by Vladimir Terluk, the Second Defendant in libel proceedings that went to trial before Eady J in February 2010. Mr Berezovsky was awarded £150,000 in libel damages against Mr Terluk and the Russian television company RTR (see archive).
The Court of Appeal refused Mr Terluk permission to appeal against the Judge's decision to sit without a jury and dismissed the appeal against the Judge's refusal to adjourn the trial. Mr Terluk had argued, among other things, that the trial conducted by Judge alone was unfair because his consent to a trial without a jury was not valid, since it was given without sufficient safeguards to protect him as a Russian-speaking litigant in person. The Court of Appeal found that this argument had "no prospect of success" as the Judge's explanations to Mr Terluk "could not have been fairer or clearer" and Mr Terluk "plainly understood" what was in issue.
The balance of Mr Terluk's application for permission to Appeal the libel judgment is still to be determined.
Judgment of Court of Appeal
Libel proceedings discontinued against leading Danish newspaper
A libel action brought by a number of claimants including the pharmaceutical giant Ferring Holding Denmark A/S has been discontinued. The proceedings related to an article published in Denmark by a leading Danish newspaper Morgenavisen Jyllands-Posten (published by JP/Politikens Hus A/S). As there was little or no publication in England and Wales, the defendant issued an application to Court to strike out the claim. Faced with this, the claimants discontinued the proceedings and have paid the newspaper's legal costs.
The Sun apologises to Heathrow security guard over front page story
The Sun has apologised to Jonathan Laker, a security guard at Heathrow Airport, over a front page article which falsely alleged that Mr Laker had abused his position as a security guard by surreptitiously taking a naked scan of his female colleague. The Sun has now acknowledged that these allegations were untrue and indeed that words attributed to Mr Laker in the article were made up. As well as apologising, The Sun has agreed to pay Mr Laker £45,000 in damages together with his legal costs.
Libel Claimants resist strike-out application by Lambeth Council
In a decision addressing important issues of law and public policy, the High Court has rejected an application by Lambeth Council and its chief internal auditor to strike out defamation claims brought by the Headteacher, Chairman of Governors and Director of Education of the Lambeth-based Durand Academy.
Click here for the judgmentClick here for South London Press report of the case
Turkish Prime Minister takes legal action against Daily Telegraph
The Prime Minister of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, has consulted Carter-Ruck regarding untrue allegations concerning a supposed Iranian donation to his AK Parti that have been published by the Daily Telegraph.
Spectator apologises to leading AIDS Researcher
The Spectator has published an apology to Professor John Moore, a world-leading AIDS researcher and Professor of Microbiology and Immunology at Cornell University, over false and highly defamatory comments posted by two readers under the "Questioning the Aids Consensus" blog on the Spectator website. The Spectator has also made a donation to an HIV/AIDS charity nominated by Professor Moore.
Sunday Telegraph apologises to Chair of IPCC
The Sunday Telegraph has published an apology to Dr Rajendra Pachauri, the Chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) who in 2007 received the Nobel Peace Prize on behalf of the IPCC, over an article it published in December 2009. The newspaper had falsely accused Dr Pachauri of corruption and of abusing his position as chair of the IPCC.
The Times apologises to the Chairman and Treasurer of Queen's Road Mosque
The Times has apologised to both the Chairman (Musaji Hariff) and Treasurer (Iqbal Mehtar) of Queen’s Road Mosque, East London, over false allegations published in the newspaper in September 2009. In the article, entitled "Mosque that has a 20-year history of radical activity", The Times falsely alleged that the Queen's Road Mosque was controlled by the ultra-orthodox Tablighi Jamaat and as a consequence its worshippers were easy prey for terrorist recruiters and extremists. The newspaper has published an apology, and agreed to pay damages and costs. Mr Hariff and Mr Mehtar will be donating the sum received in damages to the mosque.
Tamil hunger striker wins £77,500 against the Daily Mail and The Sun
Parameswaran Subramanyam, a Tamil refugee, has won his libel claims against the Daily Mail and The Sun newspapers.
In April 2009, Mr Subramanyam embarked on a 23-day hunger strike outside the Houses of Parliament as part of a long running demonstration by Tamils resident in UK to protest about the civil war in Sri Lanka.
In October 2009, the Daily Mail published allegations that Mr Subramanyam had secretly been eating takeaway burgers throughout his hunger strike and caused the police to waste a fortune in public money. The allegations were repeated by the Sun on its website.
Four months after issuing court proceedings, both newspapers have now admitted in the High Court that the allegations were completely false and should never have been published. They have both published full apologies to Mr Subramanyam, paid him £77,500 in libel damages as well as his legal costs.
Statement in Open Court
Click here for Guardian.co.uk report of the case
Click here for Press Gazette report of the case
Click here for Daily Mail ApologyClick here for The Sun Apology
Express apologises and pays £60,000 to Interpal over false terrorism allegations
Express Newspapers has apologised in the High Court to the Trustees of Interpal (a UK-based charity that provides relief and development aid to Palestinians in need) over an article published on 27 December 2009 concerning the terrorist attempt to blow up an airliner over the United States on Christmas Day 2009. The article falsely alleged that Interpal supported Hamas (which is designated as a terrorist organisation under UK anti-terrorism legislation) and that the charity and its Trustees thereby aid terrorism.
The newspaper published an apology on its website and has agreed to pay £60,000 damages to the Trustees, which they will apply to the charity's funds.
Professor Robert Service and Dr Rachel Polonsky secure apology and libel damages over anonymous book reviews
The settlement has been concluded of the complaint brought by Professor Robert Service and Dr Rachel Polonsky against Professor Orlando Figes of Birkbeck College, London over reviews of their works posted on the Amazon website. This remarkable story was given widespread coverage in the national press earlier in 2010 (see links below).
Professor Service and Dr Polonsky brought their complaint after Professor Figes circulated an email to colleagues denying that he was behind anonymous, scathing reviews of their books on Amazon and criticising them for suggesting he was involved. Professor Figes’s wife then stated that it was her that had written the reviews. However, a week later Professor Figes admitted that it was not his wife, but he, that was to blame.
As part of the settlement Professor Figes has circulated a full apology to colleagues in which, among other things, he accepts that his denial of responsibility was false and withdraws any adverse imputations that his email had conveyed against Professor Service and Dr Polonsky. Professor Figes has also agreed to pay damages as well as the legal costs of the complaint.
Prince Radu of Romania
Prince Radu of Romania has won his long-running libel claim against the editor and publisher of Royalty Monthly magazine. In the article, published on 17 September 2004, Royalty Monthly falsely alleged that Prince Radu was dishonestly claiming to have been granted a title, and that he was guilty of being an officer in the Securitate secret police. Royalty Monthly now accepts that these allegations were completely untrue and should never have been published. As well as giving a full apology to Prince Radu in the High Court in London, Royalty Monthly has agreed to pay substantial damages to Prince Radu together with his legal costs.
Former IPL Chairman issues libel proceedings
Lalit Modi, former Chairman of the Indian Premier League, has issued proceedings for libel in the High Court in London against Giles Clarke, the Chairman of the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB). Mr Modi complains of defamatory allegations made in an email sent by Mr Clarke on 2 May 2010 to Shashank Manohar, the president of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) and others. In his email Mr Clarke alleged that Mr Modi was planning to destroy world cricket by setting up a rebel league in contravention of ICC regulations. Mr Modi utterly refutes Giles Clarke's claims and has made this clear in detailed submissions made to the BCCI on 31 May 2010.
Solicitors from Hell libel claim resolved
Solicitor Scott Eason has settled his libel action against Rick Kordowski, brought over false allegations published about him on the website Solicitors from Hell. Mr Kordowski has accepted the allegations are false, taken them down from his website and apologised to Mr Eason.
Sir Robert Atkins MEP
The Daily Telegraph has published a full apology and paid damages and legal costs to Sir Robert Atkins MEP over false allegations concerning his expenses claims.
The Sun apologises to Dr Mohammed Asha
News Group Newspapers has apologised to Dr Mohammed Asha over false allegations published in The Sun on 10 August 2009. The article complained of falsely alleged that there were very strong grounds to suspect that Dr Asha would be involved in the future in terrorist bomb plots and was, therefore, an ongoing threat to national security. The newspaper has published an apology, agreed to pay Dr Asha £115,000 in compensation and his legal costs.
On 16 April, Magnus Boyd and Simon Singh were interviewed on BBC Radio 4's Today programme by James McNaughtie on the movement for libel refom generated by Singh's successful defence of the Claim against him by the British Chiropractic Association.
Express Newspapers apologises over terrorism allegations
Express Newspapers has apologised in the High Court to the Trustees of the Ummah Welfare Trust (a UK charity providing emergency relief in developing countries) over an article published on 27 December 2009 that falsely claimed that the charity was linked to Anwar al Awlaki, said to be the spiritual leader of Al Qaeda and behind the 9/11 attacks and the Christmas Day Detroit aeroplane bomb plot. The article also falsely alleged that the charity had accepted donations in order to advance terrorism and had connections to Hamas. The newspaper has published a report of its apology on its website and has agreed to pay damages to the Trustees, which they will apply to the charity's funds.
Carter-Ruck invited to join super injunctions committee
Carter-Ruck Partner Alasdair Pepper will sit on a committee set up by The Master of the Rolls to examine the issue of so-called "super-injunctions".
Racehorse trainers secure apology and damages from The Racing Post
The Racing Post has published an apology to well-known racehorse trainers Jim and Tom Best and their father Leon Best Snr in respect of an article published in June 2009 which falsely claimed they had been charged with serious criminal offences. The Racing Post also agreed to pay Jim, Tom and Leon Best Snr damages and their legal costs.
Daniel Hannan MEP
The New Statesman has apologised to Daniel Hannan, the Conservative MEP for Southeast England, in respect of defamatory allegations published on its website on 18 September 2009. The New Statesman has also paid Mr Hannan damages together with his legal costs.
Boris Berezovsky wins £150,000 libel damages against Russian state broadcaster
Boris Berezovsky, the well-known Russian businessman, has won £150,000 in libel damages against the Russian State Television and Radio Broadcasting Company and Vladimir Terluk following a two week trial in the High Court.
On 3 March 2010, the Financial Times published a large feature on libel and privacy law, including numerous references to Carter-Ruck.
Trafigura and The Independent
The Independent has retracted front-page allegations made about the leading commodities trader Trafigura. The newspaper published a full correction both in the hard copy and online.
Law in Action and Newshour
On 23 February, Partner Nigel Tait appeared on Radio 4's Law in Action programme commenting on recent developments in privacy law and "super-injunctions". Nigel Tait was also interviewed on 24 February on the World Service's Newshour programme regarding the Culture, Media and Sport Committee's report into press standards, privacy and libel.
Click here to listen to the Newshour interview
Professor Henrik Thomsen and GE Healthcare
Terms of settlement have been agreed in the long running libel proceedings brought by GE Healthcare against Henrik Thomsen, Professor of Radiology at Herlev hospital, Copenhagen. The parties have agreed the following press release.
Press ReleaseClick here for The Guardian's report of the case
Jacqui Lait MP
Muslim Council of Britain spokesman, Inayat Bunglawala, has won his libel case against the Mail on Sunday. The newspaper published a full and prominent apology to Mr Bunglawala in the Mail on Sunday and on its website and agreed to pay him substantial damages for libel together with his legal costs.