High Court refuses application for strike out and summary judgment in libel and malicious falsehood claim (Ward v Associated Newspapers Ltd)

By Luke Browne

Publisher: Lexis®PSL
Date of Publication: 27 Oct 2020

Article summary

The court refused to strike out a libel and malicious falsehood claim brought by Mr Michael Ward against Associated Newspapers Ltd (ANL), or to grant summary judgment against him. Nicklin J considered the authorities on collateral attack and abuse of process, and the scope of an earlier criminal trial involving Mr Ward, and concluded that the action was not a collateral attack on Mr Ward’s criminal convictions, or the Court of Appeal’s refusal of his later appeal. A failure to provide any evidence, beyond those criminal convictions, that Mr Ward’s reputation was already so damaged that he had no real prospect of meeting the test under section 1 of the Defamation Act 2013, and to satisfy the court that Mr Ward had no real prospect of defeating ANL’s qualified privilege defence by demonstrating malice, led the judge to refuse to grant summary judgment on the libel claim. The prospect of Mr Ward demonstrating malice, and his provision of a coherent explanation as to how the statement complained of had caused him pecuniary damage, meant that the malicious falsehood action was likewise not a candidate for summary judgment.

Ward v Associated Newspapers Ltd and another [2020] EWHC 2797 (QB)

This article was first published by Lexis®PSL on 27 October 2020 and can be downloaded below.