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January 12, 2011

Interpreter awarded £30,000 for libel

Category: News

Justification and QP defences fail, malice proven


Jan Cambridge, a Public Service Interpreter, has succeeded in her claim for libel against Dr Guillermo Makin, another interpreter.

The trial of her claim was heard by Mr Justice Tugendhat in November 2010. In his judgment, handed down on 12 January 2011, Tugendhat J. rejected Dr Makin’s justification and qualifed privilege defences.  He also found that Dr Makin had acted with malice and ordered him to pay Mrs Cambridge £30,000 in damages, her costs (mostly on the indemnity basis) and granted her an injunction.

Mrs Cambridge originally sued  the GMB trade union and Mr Makin as co-defendants, however, the GMB entered into a settlement in September 2009 by which it agreed to pay her £30,000 in damages and to make a statement in open court.

The libel was in the form of an email published in May 2007 to approximately one thousand persons.  It was designed to assist Dr Makin’s campaign to win a motion of no confidence which he had brought against Mrs Cambridge in regard to her conduct as a Director of the National Register of Public Service Interpreters Ltd. Dr Makin’s aim was to remove her from that position so that he could replace her. The libel alleged that Mrs Cambridge has abused her position as a director of the NRPSI by acting on a conflict of interest by selling its members’ data to a body in which she had a private interest and that she had personally benefited from the sale.

A full 5RB case report is available here.

5RB‘s William Bennett (instructed by Kirwans) acted as sole counsel for Mrs Cambridge.

5RB‘s David Hirst (instructed by Collyer Bristow) acted as junior counsel for Dr Makin.