Mahfouz v Brisard & Others
Reference:  EWHC 1735 (QB)
Court: Queen's Bench Division
Judge: Eady J
Date of judgment: 1 Jul 2004
Summary: Defamation - Libel - Judgment in default - Remedies - Summary disposal - ss. 8-10 Defamation Act 1996
Instructing Solicitors: Kendall Freeman for the Claimant
The Defendants published on the internet allegations that the Claimant provided massive financial support to Al-Qaeda and Osama Bin Laden. The Claimant brought proceedings for libel. The Defendants were all based abroad and refused to take part in the proceedings. In due course, the Claimant obtained judgment by default. He sought the remedies available under ss 8-10 of the Defamation Act 1996, namely damages (limited to £10,000), a declaration of falsity and an order for publication of a correction and apology.
What remedies the Claimant should be awarded.
In the light of the Claimant’s unchallenged evidence, the relief sought would be granted, namely damages of £10,000, a declaration of falsity and an order for publication of an apology. The order would take account of the fallback procedure in the absence of an agreed apology, which requires publication of a summary of the judgment.
This decision demonstrates the courts’ willingness to grant summary relief under the 1996 Act when presented with unchallenged evidence. The availability of a declaration of falsity, in particular, may make default judgments far more valuable to defamation Claimants.