Court finds published articles to be libellous in planning dispute


Re: Doyle v Smith [2018] EWHC 2935 (QB)

The High Court has handed down judgment following the first libel trial in which a blogger has relied on the public interest defence. The case arose from publications concerning a proposed property deal involving a rugby club. Dismissing the public interest defence and an argument that another article did not meet the serious harm test, Warby J awarded the claimant £37500 in damages and an injunction. This case establishes that bloggers/amateur journalists relying on the public interest defence are likely to be held to the same objective standards of pre-publication conduct as professional journalists.

Guy Vassall-Adams QC and Aidan Wills were involved in this case.