Challenge to presumption of damage in defamation
The hearing of the Defendants’ appeals from the decisions against them in the cases of Jameel & another v Wall Street Journal and Jameel v Dow Jones & Company Inc starts in the Court of Appeal today.
In the first of these cases, at the conclusion of a trial before Eady J and a jury last December, on the basis of the jury’s findings of fact Eady J rejected the defence of qualified privilege advanced by the Defendant. The jury awarded the Claimants a total of £40,000 in damages. The Wall Street Journal is appealing the ruling on qualified privilege. It is also renewing its application for permission to appeal against a decision preventing it from challenging the principle of English law that defamatory words are presumed to be false.
In the second, in July this year Eady J struck out certain parts of the Defendants’ case including, significantly, a challenge to the principle that an individual may be presumed to have suffered damage when defamatory material is published about him.
The judges hearing the appeals are Lord Phillips, The Master of the Rolls, Sedley LJ and Jonathan Parker LJ. The hearing is scheduled to last three days.