Full case report
Mawdsley v Guardian Newspapers Ltd
Reference  EWHC 1780 (QB)
Court Queen's Bench Division
Judge Morland J
Date of Judgment 24 Jul 2002
Defamation – Libel – Failure to mitigate – Summary disposal – s.8 Defamation Act 1996- damages
The Claimant brought a libel action in respect of an article published by the Defendant in its newspaper and on its website. The Defendant accepted a defamatory meaning and entered into negotiations with the Claimant over the terms of an apology, but no agreement could be reached. The Defendant sought summary disposal of the claim under s.8 of the Defamation Act 1996, arguing that the Claimant had failed to mitigate his loss by unreasonably refusing to accept an apology.
(1) Whether the Claimant had failed to mitigate his loss by unreasonably refusing to accept an apology;
(2) Whether the claim was suitable for summary disposal under s.8 of the Defamation Act 1996
The Claimant had failed to mitigate his loss by unreasonably refusing to accept the final offer by the Defendant of an apology, which the Press Complaints Commission regarded as reasonable. Summary relief would adequately compensate the Claimant.
This is a warning to all Claimants not unreasonably to object to the publication of an apology. The Court held that in defamation, just as with any other tort, the Claimant has a duty to mitigate his loss.
More from 5RB
5RB is the pre-eminent set in the area for handling defamation, privacy, contempt and data protection matters. Interviewees praise the set for having great depth and quality of counsel, and note that it boasts many of the top barristers in the field. Get the lowdown here.
New 22nd Edition of Clerk & Lindsell on Torts, published by Sweet & Maxwell. Further info here.