£10,000 damages for cricketer

High Court awards libel damages to former cricketer and match referee Clive Lloyd

The High Court has awarded £10,000 damages to Clive Lloyd, the former internationally renowned cricketer and match referee, under the summary disposal procedure for defamation claims.

Mr Lloyd brought the libel action against the editor, journalist and publisher of the Sri Lankan Sunday Times in relation to an article headed “When Hussain threatened match referee Clive Lloyd” and an accompanying cartoon published in its edition for 21 December 2003. The article reported on the disciplinary hearing of Hussain and Muralitharan in front of Mr Lloyd following the former England Captain’s verbal assault on the Sri Lankan spinner during the second test in Kandy.

Mr Lloyd’s case was that the sting of the article was that he: (1) failed in his professional duty to act as an impartial match referee; (2) had held a hearing of Muralitharan’s complaint against Hussain in breach of the International Cricket Council Code of Conduct for Players, and; (3) had thereby disgraced the ICC and the whole game of cricket. Mr Lloyd issued proceedings for libel in the High Court in London and obtained judgment in his favour.

The Defendants had taken very little active participation in the litigation and judgment in default was entered against them in January 2005 with damages to be assessed. Damages were assessed under the summary disposal procedure (under sections 8 and 9 of the Defamation Act 1996) and pursuant to CPR 53.

Mr Justice Eady declared at the hearing that the allegations complained of by Mr Lloyd were defamatory of him and were false and ordered the Defendants to pay Mr Lloyd the maximum amount of compensation available under the summary disposal procedure to compensate him for the distress, hurt and embarrassment caused by the publication.

5RB‘s Anna Coppola, instructed by Pannone Solicitors, appeared for Mr Lloyd. Richard Parkes QC was involved in earlier stages of the proceedings.