Full case report

Maccaba v Lichtenstein (No 2 – mode of trial)

Reference 02/04/2004
Court Queen's Bench Division

Judge Gray J

Date of Judgment 2 Apr 2004


Summary

Defamation – Slander – Mode of Trial – Judge and Jury- Prolonged Examination of Documents – s.69 Supreme Court Act 1981


Facts

The Claimant applied to vary the mode of trial in his claim for slander, breach of confidence and harassment against the Defendant from judge and jury to judge alone. The Claimant submitted that the case would involve detailed investigation of covertly recorded conversations in Hebrew and English and that the transcripts by their length, nature and difficulty of comprehension would better be dealt with by a judge sitting alone.


Issue

Whether the mode of trial should be varied.


Held

Dismissing the application. This was a classic case for trial by judge and jury. The main issue at trial would be which of the parties’ account of events was true. The individual issues such as publication and justification were factual and went to honesty and were fit for a jury to consider.


Comment

Whether a trial will involve a prolonged examination of documents is dependent upon the overall issues in the trial. Whilst a trial, such as this one, would necessarily involve looking at transcripts of conversations, it was unlikely that this would be a central issue.


Instructing Solicitors

Addleshaw Goddard for the Claimant; David Price Solicitors & Advocates for the Defendant