(1) The allegations were undoubtedly serious, and were both spoken to a conference hall full of party supporters, and broadcast live on BBC Parliament to a substantial number of viewers. The Cs suffered serious harm to their reputations and substantial distress as a result of the allegations contained the speech, repetition of those allegations and the response of social media users to the allegations.
(2) D’s submission that Cs’ reputations were not seriously harmed amongst individuals who politically disagreed with Cs was rejected, as was Ds submission that success in a general election result showed that the Cs had suffered no harm to reputation.
(3) Taking into account the weight of the allegations and their effect upon Cs, the appropriate starting point was to compensate each C the sum of £10,000 for the slander at the conference, and £50,000 for the libel broadcast on the BBC.
(4) The court took into account the fact that the offer was made at the last possible moment, eight months after the speech had been made. Further D had done nothing to stem any continuing harm, nor to restore the damage done to Cs’ reputations. Uniquely, despite making the offer of amends she had made no correction or apology at all. D’s conduct throughout the litigation had done nothing to lessen the Cs distress, and had unreasonably caused considerable and unnecessary delay. At the hearing D unreasonably put forward a number of offensive arguments that had been tried and failed before.
(5) Despite D’s unreasonable conduct D had not managed to wholly erase all of the benefits that the Cs had gained from the Offer of Amends: the issue of liability had been settled. So whereas the usual discount for a prompt and unqualified offer of amends is between 35-50%, on the facts of this case, Cs’ awards were reduced by 10%: £1,000 for the slander and £5,000 for the libel. Thus each C was awarded £54,000.