Kahangi & Ors v Nourizadeh
Reference:  EWHC 2451 (QB)
Court: Queen's Bench Division
Judge: Eady J
Date of judgment: 9 Oct 2009
Summary: Defamation - security for costs - resident out of jurisdiction - enforcement - Iran - discretion
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David Hirst (Defendant)
Victoria Jolliffe (Claimant)
Instructing Solicitors: Collyer Bristow LLP for the Claimants; J Tehrani for the Defendant
The claimants brought actions for libel in relation to six articles published in a newspaper called Kayhan and on different websites. The first and second claimants were resident in Iran. The Third Claimant was a non-trading UK company. The Fourth Claimant was a company registered in Gibraltar. D, a dissident Iranian journalist domiciled in the UK applied for an order for security for costs down to the end of trial, arguing, on evidence of (a) Iranian state involvement with the Claimants and (b) evidence from an anonymous Iranian lawyer that enforcement in Iran would be problematic. C accepted that the grounds for security were met but argued that the discretion should not be exercised in favour of D on the basis that the application for security was in bad faith, the personal claimants were wealthy and evidence of difficulty of enforcement was insufficient.
Whether the Court should exercise its discretion to make an order for security for the Defendant’s costs and, if so, in what amount.
Exercising the discretion to make an order for security for costs,
1. There was sufficient evidence to conclude that there would be serious problems over enforcing costs in Iran.
2. The significant conflicts of evidence were insufficient to show that the Claim was likely to succeed and, along with the attacks on Reynolds privilege and the allegations of bad faith could not be resolved within a security for costs application.
3. A staged approach to security for costs was appropriate and the sum of £275,000 was ordered in favour of the Defendant.
A good example of the wide variety of factors that the Court will consider when exercising its discretion to make an order for security for costs (it having been common ground that two of the threshold conditions under CPR 25.13(2) were made out). The Judge noted in passing that pecuniosity was no more determinative than impecuniosity.