High Court awards £25,000 damages to businesswoman and anti-bullying campaigner

The High Court has awarded £25,000 damages to business coach Lisa Johnson, who runs a company providing online business courses and who also serves as an ambassador for the anti-bullying charity, Bullies Out.

Mrs Johnson brought the action in libel and malicious falsehood in relation to a Facebook post published by the defendant, Emma Hammond. The Facebook post contained various defamatory and false allegations, including that Mrs Johnson was a ‘bully’, a ‘fraud’, and that her business was a ‘scam’.

The defendant did not participate in the proceedings and in November 2022, judgment in default was entered against her by Mr Justice Nicklin, with damages to be assessed.

Damages were assessed at a remedies hearing held on 1 March 2023 before Richard Spearman KC, sitting as a Deputy High Court Judge. He awarded damages in the sum of £25,000 (the maximum he could have awarded) and also granted a permanent injunction restraining the defendant from repeating the same or similar allegations. The judge noted that “had the claim not been capped at that level, it might have been that the award would be higher.”

At the hearing, the judge described the Facebook post as containing “nasty, baseless libels”.

The hearing was reported in The Times and the Daily Mail.

5RB’s Gemma McNeil-Walsh appeared for Lisa Johnson, instructed by Brandsmiths.