The Appellant/Claimant was previously an executive director, board member and substantial shareholder of the Stobart Group Limited. The Respondents/Defendants were also members of the Stobart Group board. In 2018, a boardroom dispute arose. Mr Tinkler considered that the First Respondent, Mr Ferguson, then the Chairman, should be replaced. The other Respondents supported Mr Ferguson. Ahead of the Stobart Group’s AGM, the company issued a Regulatory News Service (“RNS”) announcement on 25 May 2018 to the London Stock Exchange about the dispute.
On 29 May 2018 the Respondents issued a second announcement via RNS on behalf of Stobart Group (“The Announcement”).
On 8 June 2018 the Appellant issued a claim for libel and malicious falsehood in respect of the Announcement.
On 14 June 2018 Mr Tinkler was dismissed as a director and employee. The following day Stobart Group commenced proceedings against Mr Tinkler in the Commercial Court (“the Stobart Action”), including for declarations that he had been lawfully dismissed. Mr Tinkler counter-claimed.
The Stobart Group’s AGM took place on 6 July 2018. Mr Ferguson was re-elected as chairman. The Appellant was also re-elected to the Board, but the board subsequently removed him.
The Stobart Action was expedited and tried before HHJ Russen QC in November 2018 with judgment handed down on 15 February 2019 ( EWHC 258 (Comm)) (“the Russen Judgment”).
Mr Tinkler’s defamation and malicious falsehood action was pursued in the QBD, although he discontinued his libel action following rulings on meaning. The meaning of the Announcement for the purpose of the malicious falsehood claim was that he had “destabilised the Board at a crucial time for the business (Meaning A); and/or he required the Board to deal with challenges [some of which were listed] (Meaning B)”
On 8 June 2020 Nicklin J struck out the malicious falsehood claim on the grounds that (a) it was an abuse amounting to a collateral attack on the Russen Judgment and (b) Mr Tinkler did not have a case that the Announcement was calculated to cause pecuniary damage within s.3 of the Defamation Act 1952.
The Appellant, who had appeared in person before Nicklin J, appealed.
Following the hearing of the appeal, two differently constituted panels handed down judgments in two other appeals concerning collateral attack abuse: Allsop v Banner Jones Ltd  EWCA Civ 7 and PriceWaterhouseCoopers LLP v BTI 2014 LLC  EWCA Civ 9.