Government press release was a statement of opinion

Underhill LJ, Sharp LJ and Sir Rupert Jackson have upheld the decision of Nicol J, on a trial of preliminary issues, that a government press release that conveyed the meaning that the Claimant was an “extremist hate speaker” was, in context, a statement of opinion based on an evaluation of his publicly expressed views and how they compared to “British values”. The Court refused the Defendant’s application to cross-appeal on meaning. The case now reverts to the High Court for determination of “serious harm”, the remaining issues in relation to the honest opinion defence under s3 of the Defamation Act 2013, and the Claimant’s claims under the Data Protection Act 1998 and the Human Rights Act 1998 arising out of the publication.

The 5RB case report can be read here.

5RB’s Aidan Eardley (instructed by the Treasury Solicitor) represented the Defendant.