Rigg v Associated Newspapers Ltd

Reference: [2003] EWHC 710 (QB); [2004] EMLR 52

Court: Queen's Bench Division

Judge: Gray J

Date of judgment: 7 Mar 2003

Summary: Defamation - Libel - Offer of amends - s2 Defamation Act 1996 - Disclosure - Whether journalist's notes should be disclosed

Appearances: Desmond Browne QC - Leading Counsel (Claimant)  Adrienne Page QC - Leading Counsel (Defendant) 

Instructing Solicitors: Harbottle & Lewis for the Claimant; Reynolds Porter Chamberlain for the Defendant

Facts

Diana Rigg sued in libel for the publication of an article in the Daily Mail. It was purportedly based upon an interview given by Dame Diana. She asserted that much of the interview as set out in the article complained of had been fabricated.

Issue

The Defendant made an offer of amends under s2 Defamation Act 1996. In order to determine whether to accept the offer or not Dame Diana requested disclosure of the journalist’s interview notes.

Held

Disclosure ordered because the Defendant had asserted that because the journalist’s notes accurately recorded what was set out in the article Dame Diana ought not to reject the offer of amends.

Comment

This decision is very much confined to its facts. The order for disclosure was made because of the Defendant’s insistent protestations that Dame Diana had no choice but to accept the offer because of the notes. Therefore the notes were in issue in regard to that decision (which would be final) and thus had to be disclosed.