Full case report

Subotic v Knezevic

Reference [2013] EWHC 3011
Court High Court, Queen's Bench Division

Judge Dingemans J

Date of Judgment 14 Oct 2013


Summary

Defamation – Jurisdiction – Jameel abuse


Facts

The Claimant, a Serbian national, sued the Defendant, a Montenegrin national, for damages for libel in respect of publications in certain Balkan language newspapers said to have a hard copy circulation in England and Wales and in respect of internet publication of those and similar articles in England and Wales. An application for an opportunity to amend to plead a claim over publication in the Balkans was refused.


Issue

Should the claim be struck out as disclosing no substantial tort, pursuant to Jameel v Dow Jones [2005] EWCA Civ 75?


Held

It was common ground that the English Court had jurisdiction, as the claim was based on damage to the Claimant’s reputation said to have been suffered in England and Wales. There was a good arguable case from which publication of the articles in England and Wales could be inferred, but on the evidence the extent of that publication was minimal. In those circumstances the “time, effort and cost involved in determing the issues engaged in this action, for the amount of damages that are in issue, is simply not justifiable” [70].

The action was dismissed as a Jameel abuse.


Comment

The decision on Jameel abuse was based on a straighfoward balancing of the extent of publication in England and Wales with the nature and complexity of the proceedings. There is an interesting discussion at [48] – [54] about the implications of the Claimant’s application for an opportunity to claim over damage suffered in Serbia, Montenegro and Croatia, arising out of the Defendant’s alleged English domicile at the time of publication. The Judge held however that it was too late for the Claimant to make such a claim, in proceedings which had begun in October 2011.


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