Full case report

Lennon v Scottish Daily Record & Sunday Mail

Reference [2004] EWHC 359 (QB); [2004] EMLR 332
Court Queen's Bench Division

Judge Tugendhat J

Date of Judgment 2 Mar 2004


Summary

Defamation – Libel- jurisdiction – meaning


Facts

The Claimant plays football for Celtic FC. He complained (in an action in the English High Court) about a prominent article in the Scottish Daily Record alleging that, on a club night out in Newcastle, he either chased down and robbed a photographer or that it was highly likely that he had done so.


Issue

(1) whether the Court should decline jurisdiction in favour of the Scottish court
(2) Whether the Claimant’s pleaded meanings words were capable meanings


Held

(1) Given that the Daily Record sells many thousands of copies in England and Wales and the Claimant has a reputation in those countries, jurisdiction was not ousted.
(2) The words complained of were only capable of bearing the lower “highly likely” meaning.


Comment

The principles governing cross-border intra UK publication and jurisdiction have been examined in surprisingly few authorities; and what authority there is is in conflict (see Foxen v Scotsman Publications [1995] EMLR 145 and Cumming v Scottish Daily Record [1995] EMLR 538 and discussion in Gatley at para 24.35). This case shows that where a claimant can show that there has been substantial (in the sense of more than token) publication in England & Wales and that he has some reputation to protect, the English Court will not decline jurisdiction in favour of Scotland where the bulk of the publication took place.


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Instructing Solicitors

Darlingtons for the Claimant