Dwek v Macmillan Publishers Ltd & Others

Reference: [1999] EWCA Civ 2002; [2000] EMLR 284

Court: Court of Appeal

Judge: Judge, May & Sedley LJJ

Date of judgment: 28 Jul 1999

Summary:

Defamation - Libel - Photograph - Identification - Striking Out - Ruling on Meaning

Appearances: Desmond Browne QC - Leading Counsel (Defendant)  Patrick Milmo QC - Leading Counsel (Claimant) 

Instructing Solicitors: Sherwood Wheatley for the Claimant; Biddle for the Defendant

Facts

The Claimant complained of a photograph in a book which depicted him next to a woman said to be a prostitute. It was erroneously said in the caption to be a photograph of Dodi Fayed. The Defendants applied to strike out the claim.

Issue

Whether there was an arguable case that some readers would recognise the Plaintiff (now a family dentist) though described in the caption as Dodi Fayed

Held

It was possible to infer that amoungst readers of the book there might be old friends and acquaintances of the Plaintiff who would recognise him

Comment

Sedley LJ commented adversely on this sort of pre-trial skirmishing in defamation actions.

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