Wallis v Valentine

Reference: [2002] EWCA Civ 1034; [2003] EMLR 175

Court: Court of Appeal

Judge: Peter Gibson & Potter LJJ and Sir Murray Stuart-Smith

Date of judgment: 18 Jul 2002

Summary: Defamation - Libel - Summary Judgment - Evidence of Publication - No prospect of Success - CPR Part 24 - Abuse of Process

Appearances: Jacob Dean (Defendant) 

Instructing Solicitors: Peter Carter-Ruck and Partners


The Claimant complained of libel published to his wife and unspecificed others. His wife knew whether the libel was true or not. Previte J struck out the claim of publication to others under CPR Part 24 and the remainder of the claim as abuse of process on the grounds of the Claimant’s conduct and the overriding objective.


Whether court entitled to intervene on the grounds of abuse of process.


Judge was correct to strike out the claim of publication to unspecified others and to find that claim that remained was an abuse.


Although the facts were extreme this does show an increasing willingness of the courts to exercise control over technically valid but disproportionate claims. However, Eady J has said in Howe & Co v Burden [2004] EWHC 196 (QB) that there is no general “game is not worth the candle” basis for striking out defamation claims.