(i) Reduction of damages to a nominal sum on the basis of litigation misconduct
Although novel, there was nothing wrong in principle with Chamberlain J taking account of post-publication event in the shape of his own judgment (in which he made the findings about the Claimant’s litigation conduct) to mitigate damages. It was a novel extension of the principle set out in Goody v Odhams Press Ltd  1 QB 333 (as extended by Turner v News Group Newspapers Ltd  EWCA Civ 540,  1 WLR 3469), namely, that previous criminal convictions and judicial strictures in previous civil litigation are “authoritative public denunciations” which are admissible as evidence to rebut the presumption of a claimant’s good character. The Goody principle is an exception to the rules on admissibility of evidence in mitigation of damages, which are rules of procedure and case management rather than law and aimed at preventing irrelevant prejudice and satellite litigation.
Chamberlain J made no error in treating Dr Wright’s “lies” and “deception” (findings which were not challenged on appeal) as disreputable facts properly before the court, applying FlyMeNow Ltd v Quick Air Jet Charter GmbH  EWHC 3197 (QB) at . They were relevant to damages and logically affected the extent to which the Claimant was entitled to vindication, as the sting of the libel and the litigation misconduct alleged were comparable as both concerned dishonesty. In any event, the extent to which disreputable conduct affects damages is a matter of judgment, which fell within the province of the trial judge.
However, it was unhelpful for Chamberlain J to award nominal damages on the basis that it would be “unconscionable” for the Claimant to receive more. Morality or tests of unconscionability risks the law becoming too loose and unpredictable.
(It was not argued by Dr Wright that, even if the trial judge was wrong to take into account Dr Wright’s lies, the CA should review the weight placed on those light and substitute a different damages award.)
(ii) Campbell v News Group
Campbell was a striking case on its facts. The claimant complained of an allegation that he was a pervert and a habitual sexual abuser of children. The newspaper accepted the verdict on liability but challenged the damages award of £350,000. The Court of Appeal reduced the award to £100,000 on the basis that it was manifestly excessive, and further reduced it to £30,000 to reflect the claimant’s “elaborate and long-lasting attempt to pervert the course of justice” and included fabricating and procuring false testimony and accusing innocent third parties of corruption and lying (which was not the same conduct as imputed by the libel).
Warby LJ did not address whether Campbell was authority for a broad principle that all and any disreputable conduct by a claimant may be taken into account to reduce damages, or whether any of the Young v Bristol Aeroplanes exceptions applied. However, he found that the application of the damages principles to the facts of that case was “unorthodox” and described Campbell an “outlier” in the jurisprudence, highlighting that it had not been cited in the majority of the relevant cases on this appeal.
Further, Warby LJ held (obiter) that there is no general rule that a finding of dishonesty will result in the striking out or dismissal of the whole claim (even after trial) or a reduction of damages: Ul Haq v Shah  EWCA Civ 542  1 WLR 616 and Summers v Fairclough Homes Ltd  UKSC 26  1 WLR 2004, applied. Specific rules of law may allow for this, such as in insurance cases, but a court should not deprive a claimant of rights to which he is entitled, save in exceptional cases. However, that is not what happened here – the trial judge did not engage in the prohibited exercise of ascertaining the damages and reduce that figure to reflect litigation misconduct, but rather Chamberlain J took account of the Claimant’s lies and attempt to deceive the court when determining the Claimant’s entitlement.
The Court of Appeal also refused C/A permission to appeal to the Supreme Court.