Follow up: Think before you tweet

22nd Nov 2017

We recently reported that our Litigation Team had enjoyed another High Court Success in a defamation claim (which followed on from another High Court success on a Malicious Falsehood and Defamation Claim).

Commercial Litigation and Dispute Resolution

Our clients had to prove that the meanings of the relevant statements were defamatory. In this respect, we had to satisfy the Court that the publication of the words complained of, had caused, or was likely to cause, serious harm to our client’s reputations.

In Lachaux v Independent Print Ltd & Ors, [2017] EWCA Civ 1334, the Court of Appeal held that “serious reputational harm is capable of being proved by a process of inference from the seriousness of the defamatory meaning”. We do not wish to state what the defamatory statements were, due to their rather awful and upsetting nature, but one aspect was the suggestion that our clients were fraudulent.

The comments were published on a Twitter account with nearly 2000 followers and to a Facebook group with 12,500 members and had the potential to be seen by an unknown number of people given that the posts were not private.

The Court of Appeal in Lachaux did not deal with the issue raised by s1(2) Defamation Act 2013: that a body trading for profit, such as our client must establish that the words complained of have caused it, or are likely to cause it, serious financial loss. Our client relies as do many businesses on its staff having meetings in the office and at clients’ offices or at home. The impact of the words used would have had an adverse effect on our client. The Court accepted this.

As reported, we obtained an injunction preventing the use of the words and postings (which have been removed), damages and costs.

If you need advice or guidance on the matter please contact our litigation team on 01603 666001 or email ph@rogers-norton.co.uk.