Full case report
Mills v MGN Ltd
Reference  EWHC 1384 (QB)
Court Queen's Bench Division
Judge Eady J
Date of Judgment 5 Jul 2002
Defamation – Libel – ruling on meaning – striking out – CPR Part 3.4(2) – exemplary damages
The claimant, now married to Sir Paul McCartney, sued in libel over an article published in the Sunday Mirror. The defendant applied to strike out the defamatory meaning relied on by the claimant and her claim for exemplary damages.
Whether the meaning pleaded on behalf of the claimant was one which the article was capable of bearing; whether the plea of exemplary damages was permissible.
Application granted. The meaning had been overpleaded; the article was not capable of supporting a meaning of ‘dishonesty’. Cases of ‘dishonesty’ and ‘mercenary calculation’ in the context of claims for exemplary damages must be pleaded with the same cogency as pleas of dishonesty and malice in other contexts.
Formulaic pleas of exemplary damages will not be permitted.
Davenport Lyons for the Defendant
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.