Permission granted to charity to appeal strike out ruling on capacity in libel claim over Policy Exchange 'extremist literature' report
The North London Central Mosque Trust has today been given permission to appeal the ruling by Eady J that its trustees could not pursue a libel claim to vindicate its reputation.
A claim was brought in respect of a report by the Policy Exchange think-tank that made allegations relating to the nature of the literature available at the mosque run by the Trust. The Trust denied the allegations, and the Policy Exchange report was the subject of criticism in a piece on BBC’s Newsnight programme, during which Policy Exchange director Dean Godson made further remarks, which are also the subject of the action.
The Defendants applied to have the claim struck out on the basis that the claim was in the name of the Trust, and as an unincorporated charitable trust, it lacked legal capacity to either bring or be the subject of a defamation claim. The Trust applied to continue the action in respect of the damage to the Trust’s reputation, but substituting the names of trustees for that of the Trust in the title of the action.
In November, Eady J refused that application and struck out the claim. Sir Richard Buxton refused permission to appeal on the papers, but Sedley LJ today granted permission after an oral hearing. The appeal will now proceed to a full Court of Appeal hearing in which the law of defamation as it relates to unincorporated bodies, and charitable trusts in particular, will be reviewed.