Reference:  EWHC 1787 (QB)
Court: Queen's Bench Division
Judge: Tugendhat J
Date of judgment: 30 Jul 2003
Summary: Defamation - Libel - Meanings - Strike out application - Abuse of process
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David Sherborne (Defendant)
Instructing Solicitors: CCL for the Claimant; Reynolds Porter Chamberlain for the Defedant
The Claimant had been a friend of Stephen Lawrence. He brought a libel action against the Defendants in respect of a book about the murder of Stephen Lawrence, which was critical of him. The Defendants applied for all or part of his particulars of claim to be struck out and for his claim to be dismissed.
(1) Whether the words complained of were capable of bearing the meanings contended for or any meanings defamatory of the Claimant.
(2) Whether the claim had any reasonable prospect of success or was an abuse of process.
(1) The words complained of were capable of bearing some of the meaings contended for, but not others, which would be amended accordingly.
(2) The claim did have a reasonable prospect of success. The abuse of process argument was not strong enough for the case to be withdrawn from a jury.
This application was partially successful, but the claim settled shortly thereafter.