Wall Street Journal appeal dismissed

Rejection of Reynolds privilege upheld but Dow Jones wins Internet appeal

In a judgment handed down today, the Court of Appeal has upheld Eady J’s decision to reject the defence of Reynolds qualified privilege in the case brought by Mohammed Jameel and an associated company against the Wall Street Journal Europe. The case, which involved allegations of possible terrorism financing, went to trial in December 2003.


The decision is the most recent in a series of Court of Appeal judgments considering the appropriate test for Reynolds. The Court also rejected the WSJE’s argument that the ‘presumption of damage’ in English libel law was contrary to Article 10 of the European Convention, and refused it permission to argue that the ‘presumption of falsity’ was contrary to Article 10. The WSJE was also refused leave to appeal to the House of Lords.


In a separate judgment the Court has, however, allowed the appeal of Dow Jones against Eady J’s decision not to strike out a claim brought by Mr Jameel’s brother, Yousef Jameel over the publication of a document made available on the Wall Street Journal‘s (American) online edition. The Court held that the apparent circulation here was so small that both the damage and the vindication would be minimal and therefore not worth pursuing. The proceedings were therefore stayed.


5RB‘s James Price QC and Justin Rushbrooke represented the Jameels in the first case and Yousef Jameel in the second.


For the full judgment and the 5RB case report in the Wall Street Journal Europe case click here.


For the full judgment and the 5RB case report in the Dow Jones case click here.