Full case report
Nail v News Group Newspapers Ltd & Others (QBD)
Reference  EWHC 647 (QB);  EMLR 362
Court Queen's Bench Division
Judge Eady J
Date of Judgment 26 Mar 2004
Defamation – Libel- offer of amends – assessment of damages
In 1998 Harper Collins published a biography of the Claimant entitled “Nailed”. He decided not to arouse interest in it by suing. In 2002 extracts from “Nailed” were published in the News of the World and the book attracted new consumer interest, selling about a hundred copies. The Claimant sued the News of the World for the offending article and, separately, Harper Collins for the editions of the book sold in 2002.
Both Harper Collins and the News of the World made offers of amends under s2 Defamation Act 1996 which the Claimant accepted. The court had to determine the appropriate levels of damages.
The Claimant was awarded £7,500 for the Harper Collins book and £22,500 for the News of the World article.
The Judge held that, as there was a public interest in encouraging media defendants to make offers of amends, damages awards in such cases ought to be “healthily discounted”.
The general trend of libel awards suggests that judges give significantly lower awards of damages than juries (see also Milne v Sunday Telegraph and Cleese v Associated Newspapers).
Schillings for the Claimant; Farrer & Co for the Defendants
More from 5RB
5RB is the pre-eminent set in the area for handling defamation, privacy, contempt and data protection matters. Interviewees praise the set for having great depth and quality of counsel, and note that it boasts many of the top barristers in the field. Get the lowdown here.
New 22nd Edition of Clerk & Lindsell on Torts, published by Sweet & Maxwell. Further info here.