Shozab Abbas v Nawa-I-Jang (17 October 2013)
Reference: Unreported- Claim no. HQ13D02255
Court: QBD Master
Judge: Master Cook
Date of judgment: 17 Oct 2013
Summary: £95,000 damages awarded over article published in popular Urdu newspaper
Chloe Strong (Claimant)
Instructing Solicitors: M-R Solicitors LLP
The Claimant, a career diplomat who has served in Pakistan’s Ministry for Foreign Affairs since 2001, and is currently the High Commissioner, obtained a £95,000 libel award against the newspaper Nawa-I-Jang. The article sued over made completely false allegations about the Claimant including that he was guilty of corruption, bribery, lying and generally acting in a disreputable manner in his professional position.
The Defendant did not engage with the legal process at any stage, and judgment in default had been obtained.
A significant award of £95,000 was ordered by the Master following submissions from Counsel as to the seriousness of the libels. Costs also awarded to the Claimant.
The high award of damages recognised the serious nature of the libels made, which included allegations of corruption and bribery against a senior official. Whilst the extent of publication of the newspaper could not be confirmed, the Judge was satisfied, given the nature of the allegations coupled with the Defendant’s non-engagement, that such an award was justified.
The Judge had, at the CMC prior to the damages assessment hearing, confirmed the dis-application of the Costs Budgeting rules now applicable to all defamation cases.