Reference:  EWHC 2862 (QB)
Court: Queen's Bench Division
Judge: Sharp J
Date of judgment: 14 Oct 2009
Summary: Defamation - Libel - Pre-Trial Review - Whether two actions for libel should be heard at the same time or separately
Appearances: Adam Speker KC (Claimant)
Instructing Solicitors: Schillings for the Claimant; David Price for the Telegraph; Davenport Lyons for the Mirror
The Claimant, a very well-known professional footballer, brought actions for libel against the publishers of The Mirror and The Telegraph. At a CMC an order was made that there should be a hearing of both claims where the Judge could give directions whether the claims should be tried together or consecutively.
Whether the two trials should be tried together or separately
The trials should be heard separately and the Telegraph trial should follow the Mirror action. There were significant differences between the two actions in relation to meaning and justification and whilst extra costs would be incurred if the actions were tried separately it could be unjust to the Telegraph if the jury’s view of meaning in the Telegraph action was affected by the view that it took of the Mirror action.
The Mirror action settled in November 2009 with an apology and payment of damages. The Telegraph trial is due to take place in May 2010.