Full case report

Mireskandari v Associated Newspapers Ltd

Reference 19/11/2008
Court Queen's Bench Division

Judge Master Fontaine

Date of Judgment 19 Nov 2008


Summary

Defamation – Extension of Time for Service of a Defence – Solicitors duty to make own investigation of facts independent of their client


Facts

C, a former solicitor who was suspended from practice by the Law Society sued D, the publisher of the Daily Mail and (at that time) the Evening Standard, for libel in respect of a number of articles alleging that he committed fraud, had bogus academic and legal qualifications and employed a serving Met police officer as a secret expert to assist a defendant in a prosecution involving the Met. At this time the issue came before the Master for an extension of time for service of a Defence.


Issue

Whether D should have a further extension of time for service of a Defence


Held

D was entitled to further time


Comment

Whilst the ex termpore judgments of Masters on matters of fact can only be at best illustrative this is reported here because solicitors for media defendants might find assistance in the following words of Master Fontaine:

“There is, of course, always the point made in these applications in a libel claim that when a defendant publishes information it should have been sure of its facts at the time. But solicitors who are instructed on behalf of a defendant to a libel claim would usually wish, and probably have a duty, to make their own investigations independently of the newspaper defendant.’


Instructing Solicitors

Carter Ruck for C; RPC for D