Henry v News Group Newspapers Ltd

Reference: Unreported, 13 January 2011

Court: Queen's Bench Division

Judge: Tugendhat J

Date of judgment: 13 Jan 2011

Summary: Libel – Non-party disclosure – CPR 31.17

Appearances: Adam Wolanski QC (Applicant) 

Instructing Solicitors: Farrer and Co for the applicant; Walker Morris for the NSPCC

Facts

Sylvia Henry brought a claim for libel against News Group Newspapers. Her claim was based in part upon allegations published in The Sun that she lied to the Victoria Climbie Enquiry. In 1999 Ms Henry was a social worker at a centre run by the NSPCC to which Victoria Climbie was referred. She subsequently told the Climbie Enquiry that she had been informed by Haringey Council to take no further action in the case.

Issue

Whether the NSPCC should be ordered to disclose documents sought by News Group Newspapers.

Held

Held, ordering disclosure:

(1) The applicant satisfied the court that the documents sought existed.

(2) Following the approach set out in Flood v Times Newspapers (Third Party Disclosure), disclosure of those documents would support or adversely affect the case of one party or the other in the litigation. In order to dispose fairly of the proceedings it was necessary to order disclosure. Vindication achieved without all material which was relevant, or likely to be relevant, being before the court was a poor form of vindication.

Comment

An application of the Flood v Times Newspapers (Third Party Disclosure) principles.