Libel claim in Haviland v Lownie is dismissed

Murray J grants summary judgment in favour of the two Defendants - Andrew Lownie and Mr Lownie's literary agency - in libel claim

A judgment dismissing a claim in libel brought against The Andrew Lownie Literary Agency Ltd (the First Defendant) and its owner, the historian, writer and literary agent Andrew Lownie (the Second Defendant), was today handed down by Mr Justice Murray.  Murray J granted reverse summary judgment in favour of the Defendants.

The Claimant, David Haviland, and the Second Defendant had worked together in the book publishing industry.  After the Claimant and Second Defendant parted ways the Claimant offered freelance services.  He used a publishers’ and freelancers’ website to promote his services.  The Claimant’s profiles on the website referred to books he claimed to have worked on in his prior association with the Second Defendant and his agency, and some other matters including an endorsement from the Second Defendant.

The claim arose from five emails that had been sent by Mr Lownie to the website operators objecting to certain of the entries the Claimant had included on his profiles, including the endorsement that had been withdrawn.

Murray J found there to have been two publishees of the emails and that the meanings of the emails that had been determined by the Court as a preliminary issue fell a long way short of establishing serious harm on an inferential case.  The Court further held that had summary judgment not been granted for the Defendants, the claim would have been struck out both as disclosing no reasonable grounds for bringing the claim and pursuant to the Jameel jurisdiction.

The judgment is available at the Files link below.

5RB‘s John Stables, instructed by Brett Wilson LLP, appeared for the Defendants.