Hassan v Holburn and others

Reference: [2004] EWCA Civ 789

Court: Court of Appeal

Judge: Sedley LJ

Date of judgment: 9 Jun 2004

Summary: Defamation - Libel - permission to appeal - Limitation Act 1980 sections 4A, 32, 35 - publication - republication - costs


The Applicant brought proceedings for breach of contract and defamation in respect of references written about him. The defamation claim was struck out by the Judge as being out of time and there were no good reasons to disapply the limitation period. The applicant appealed from that decision and also against an order to pay the costs thrown away as a result of an adjournment.


Whether the applicant should have permission to appeal.


Applications dismissed. Neither had any realistic prospect of success. The Judge was entitled to adjourn the hearing because of the Applicant’s late service of his skeleton argument. The Judge had been entitled to conclude that publication of the alleged defamatory references had occurred outside the limitation period and no inference of publication could be drawn from the fact that the General Medical Council still held the references on file. The Judge had been correct not to exercise his discretion to extend the time limit.


One of several claims brought by Dr Hassan. Sedley LJ confirmed the view of several judges and masters throughout these cases that the mere presence of references on a file did not consitute publication.