Lakah Group and Lakah v Al Jazeera and Mansour (No 2)
Reference:  EWHC 2500 (QB)
Court: Queen's Bench Division
Judge: Eady J
Date of judgment: 3 Dec 2002
Summary: Contempt of court - Committal - Foreign citizens - Non-resident parties
Instructing Solicitors: DKLL for the Claimants. Wiggin & Co for the Defendants.
The Claimants brought a libel action against the Defendants in respect of an allegedly defamatory television programme, and obtained an interim injunction prohibiting the broadcast of ‘television or video footage’. While the injunction was in force, the Defendants continued to broadcast the soundtrack to the programme via the internet. The Claimants alleged that the Defendants were in contempt of court and applied for committal of the second Defendant, a Qatar-resident Egyptian national, and sequestration of the assets of the first Defendant, a Qatari company with no assets in this jurisdiction.
(1) Whether the Defendants were in contempt of court; (2)Whether the court had the jurisdiction to make the orders sought
The applications were dismissed. It would be innapropriate for the court to exercise its summary jurisdiction over parties outside the jurisdiction. Further, contempt had not been proven beyond reasonable doubt and it was not clear that the internet material was within the terms of the injunction.
An unusual case, but an example of the limits of the English Court’s ability and willingness to control allegedly defamatory publications outside the jurisdiction.