Full case report

Milne v Express Newspapers (No.2)

Reference [2003] EWHC 1843 (QB)
Court Queen's Bench Division

Judge Eady J

Date of Judgment 10 Jul 2003


Summary

Defamation – Libel – offer of amends – rejection of offer of amends – the correct test under s4(3) Defamation Act 1996


Facts

The Claimant, a solicitor, reported Keith Vaz MP to the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards for not declaring payments made to him by another solicitor, Sarosh Zaiwalla, when twice recommending him for an honour. Following a finding by the relevant Parliamentary Committee upholding the Claimant’s complaint, the Sunday Express published an article quoting Mr Zaiwalla. The agreed meaning of the article was that the Claimant was reasonably suspected of giving false evidence to the Parliamentary Commissioner. The Defendant made an offer of amends which the Claimant rejected.


Issue

Application to strike out the Claimant’s plea further to s.4(3) Defamation Act 1996.


Held

The plea was struck out. It was not sufficient to allege that the journalist suspected the words complained of were true; he must have known it to be false or been reckless indifferent as to its truth or falsity for the s.4(3) test to be passed.


Comment

The Court of Appeal upheld Eady J’s approach. See [2004] EWCA Civ 664


Instructing Solicitors

Andrew Milne & Co for the Claimant