Spencer v Sillitoe and International Computers Ltd

Reference: [2002] EWCA Civ 1579; [2003] EMLR 207

Court: Court of Appeal

Judge: Simon Brown, Buxton & Carnwath LJJ

Date of judgment: 22 Oct 2002

Summary: Defamation - Libel - Summary judgment - Disputed facts - Role of Jury - CPR Part 24 - s.69 Supreme Court Act 1981

Instructing Solicitors: The Claimant in person. Masons for the Defendants.


The Claimant brought defamation proceedings against the second Defendant, his ex-employer, and the first Defendant, the deputy head of its human resources department, in relation to a meeting attended by the Claimant and the first Defendant. At the hearing, the case turned on a note of the meeting, produced by the first Defendant, which attributed various statements to the Claimant, and which was later distributed around the company. The Claimant claimed that the contents of the note were false while the Defendants asserted they were true. Morland J granted the Defendants summary judgment. The Claimant appealed.


Whether summary judgment was properly granted.


The case turned on disputed facts which required proper evaluation by a jury. As such the judge was wrong to have granted summary judgment.


Some cases can involve just one disputed fact, but one is enough to dispose of an application for summary judgment.