Muhammad v Daily The News International

Reference: [2023] EWHC 674 (KB)

Court: High Court

Judge: Master Cook

Date of judgment: 30 Mar 2023

Summary: Jurisdiction - s.10 Defamation Act 2013 - service - CPR Part 6 - author, editor & publisher

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Instructing Solicitors: Stone White Solicitors for D2, D3 and D4


C sued over articles published in late May 2022 which he said accused him of organising protests in London which had become violent. The claim was brought against four defendants, said to have published the articles in print and online.

C attempted to bring his claim in late May 2023, just before expiry of the limitation period. However, the Claim Form was not issued until 27 July 2023, and not served until October 2023.

Ds2-4 filed an Acknowledgement of Service and an application under CPR Part 11 seeking declarations of non-jurisdiction:

– that (other than the print edition of the Daily Jang London, published by D2) D2 & D3 were not the ‘author, editor or publisher’ of the print or online articles sued upon. The author of all the articles was D4, but the editors and publishers of the online and Pakistani print editions were Pakistani-domiciled companies. It was clearly practicable for C to sue the author: he was suing D4 in this very action.

– that D4 had never been validly served at his ‘usual or last known residence’ at all.

– that either the claim form had not been served within 4 months or claims were time-barred, subject to an application by C under s.32A Limitation Act 1980.

C made a cross-application under s.32A Limitation Act 1980.


(1) Did the Court have jurisdiction over D2 (beyond the print edition of Daily Jang London) and D3?

(2) Had jurisdiction over D4 been established by valid service of the Claim Form upon him?

(3) Should the limitation period be disapplied under s.32A Limitation Act 1980?


(1) No. Other than the print edition of Daily Jang London, the Court lacked jurisdiction over D2 and D3 pursuant to s.10 Defamation Act 2013.

(2) No. There was no valid service on D4 at his ‘usual or last known residence’ and no application (in time or otherwise) had been made for alternative service upon him.

(3) No. The Court was not prepared to exercise its discretion to disapply the limitation period.


The first published judgment where s.10 Defamation Act 2013 has been the operative basis for a finding of non-jurisdiction, as a result of an application under CPR Part 11.

Essentially, a party who is not ‘author, editor or publisher’ in the definitions given by s.1 of the Defamation Act 1996 can challenge jurisdiction under CPR Part 11 by use of s.10 Defamation Act 2013. If he or she (a) fails to do so (engaging the deemed waiver at CPR r.11(5)(b)), or (b) loses that jurisdiction challenge (whether (i) on the basis of the interlocutory evidence and standard of proof, and/or (ii) because it was not ‘reasonably practicable’ to sue the author/editor/publisher), the objection must then be pleaded as a substantive defence under s.1 of the 1996 Act (deliberately preserved by Parliament when enacting s.10 of the 2013 Act).

The Judgment at [18] says it is fortified in its conclusion as to the procedural correctness of this approach by reference to the judgment of Warby LJ in Soriano v Forensic News [2021] EWCA Civ 1952 at [52].

Objections to the validity of service (which is the foundation of jurisdiction), even by parties domiciled within England & Wales, should be taken by way of application under CPR Part 11: see [16]