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Flashcards in Defamation - Reference to the Claimant Deck (14)
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1

What is the key question to be asked when considering the requirement that a defamatory statement must refer to the claimant?

Would a reasonable person understand the statement as referring to the claimant? As laid down in the case of Morgan v Odhams Press Ltd.

2

What are the potential ways in which a defamatory imputation may refer to the claimant?

- Express Reference
- Reference innuendo
- Mistaken description or photographs
- Fictional characters
- Group defamation
- C identified only by statements in linked publications

3

Which case provides an example of reference by innuendo?

Morgan v Odhams Press Ltd

4

What are the details and findings of the Morgan v Odhams Press Ltd Case?

A newspaper published an article claiming that a woman had been kidnapped by a criminal gang. The woman was residing in the claimant’s house, he argued that the article was defamatory because many people were aware the women was living in the house and may conclude that the claimant was a member of a criminal gang. The article was defamatory as a substantial group of people knew the article could be directed at the claimant.

5

Which case provides an example of reference by mistaken description of photographs?

Newstead v London Express Newspapers Ltd

6

What are the details and findings of the Newstead Case?

A newspaper referred to ‘Harold Newstead, a thirty-year-old Camberwell man’ in regards to a trial on bigamy. Another man called Harold Newstead from Camberwell aged around thirty claimed for defamation. The intention of the newspaper was said to be irrelevant and the affect of the article to lower the claimant’s reputation among reasonable people made it defamatory. (More specificity on the details of the person would've avoided defamation).

7

Which case provided an example of reference via fictional characters?

Hulton & Co v Jones

8

What are the details and findings of the Hulton & Co v Jones Case?

The defendant had written about a motor show, and in his writing implied that a man called Artemus Jones had a mistress. The author made up the story and the name but there was a barrister called Artemus Jones who sued for defamation. The lack of intention to identify the claimant was found to be irrelevant and the affect of it as identifying and lowering the reputation of the claimant in the eyes of right-minded people made it defamatory.

9

Can an individual bring an action for defamation on the basis of a statement made in reference to a group or class?

If a defamatory imputation refers to a group but not to any individual within it, no action lies for it. If, however, a group is limited, such that the D's imputation may reasonably be taken to refer to C, then C is sufficiently identified. Thus a member of that group must prove that the defamatory statement was reasonably understood as referring to him.

10

Which case provides an example of a defamation action based upon a statement made in reference to a group or class?

Knupffer v London Express Newspaper

11

What are the details and findings of the Knupffer v London Express Newspaper Case?

The defendant had an article on the Young Russian political party, and implied that this group were colluding with the Nazi party in the Second World War. It was held that there was no defamation as the claimant had not been singled out from the members of the political group.

12

What counter-balances the potential for defamation action on the basis of mistaken description or photographs?

Defamation will not be found where the burden to avoid mistaken identity in Tort would be contrary to Article 10 of the ECHR - as shown by the case of O’Shea v MGN Ltd.

13

What are the details of the O'Shea v MGN Ltd Case?

The defendant advertised a pornographic website in which the model used resembled the claimant. The claimant claimed that a reasonable person may conclude that they had consented to appear on a pornographic website.

14

What are the findings of the O'Shea v MGN Ltd Case?

It was held that this was not defamatory, relying on Article 10(2) of the Convention. It was said that a finding of defamation would ‘place an impossible burden on a publisher if he were required to check if [every] true picture of someone [he published] resembled someone else who because of the context of the picture was defamed’.