Closing argument due shortly
The trial of liability in the long-running libel case of Lachaux v Evening Standard Ltd & Independent Print Ltd started on 22 February 2021 and is due to conclude on 1 March.
It was heard remotely by Nicklin J on Microsoft Teams. The evidence concluded on 24 February. Closing submissions are due to be heard at 2pm on 1 March.
As many readers will know, there have been two preliminary trials in the proceedings, the first a trial of meaning before Sir David Eady in February 2015 and the other a trial of serious harm before Warby J in July 2015.
Warby J’s ruling on serious harm was then appealed by the Defendants (and the publishers of the Huffington Post, with whom Mr Lachaux reached a settlement in May 2019) to the Court of Appeal. That appeal was dismissed. The Defendants then appealed that decision to the Supreme Court. That appeal was also dismissed, but it produced a judgment by Lord Sumption which now represents the definitive view of the law on s.1 of the Defamation Act 2013. Meanwhile, there was a separate appeal by the Defendants to the Court of Appeal concerning an injunction granted by Sir Michael Tugendhat relating to their use of privileged documents belonging to the Claimant. That was also dismissed.
At the current trial, the Defendants’ sole defence is one of publication on a matter of public interest under s.4 of the Defamation Act 2013. If the Claimant succeeds on liability, Nicklin J will also consider the issues of damages and other remedies.
Mr Lachaux is represented at the trial by Adrienne Page QC and Godwin Busuttil of 5RB, instructed by Daniel Taylor and Megan O’Boyle of Taylor Hampton, who also acted for him before Warby J, the Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court on the issue of serious harm.