Full case report

Vassiliev v Amazon.com Inc

Reference [2003] EWHC 2302 (Comm)
Court Queen's Bench Division (Commercial Court)

Judge Eady J

Date of Judgment 2 Oct 2003


Summary

Defamation – Civil procedure – Summary judgment – Abuse of process – Fair comment – Related proceedings – whether the issues were sufficiently similar


Facts

In June 2003 the Claimant lost a libel action against the publisher of an article about the views contained in a book co-written by the Claimant, following a successful fair comment defence. Qualified privilege was also upheld after the jury’s verdict. The Claimant brought the present action based on material on the Defendant’s website, containing a summary of the article which had been subject of the June proceedings. The meanings pleaded were effectively the same as in the June proceedings.


Issue

Whether the claim was an abuse of process or had no realistic process of success.


Held

The action would serve no legitimate purpose and there was no real prospect of defeating the fair comment defence. The action was dismissed.


Comment

A variation on the theme of relitigating issues that have already been the subject of a trial. Although Mr Vassilev’s action was against a different defendant in relation to a different publication, the issues were sufficiently similar for the Court to be satisfied that it would be an abuse of process to allow the second action to proceed.


Instructing Solicitors

The Claimant appeared in person. CMS Cameron McKenna for the Defendant.