The High Court has today refused an application by Pink News for a trial of certain preliminary issues in Julie Bindel’s libel claim.
Bindel is suing Pink News and its editor in chief Benjamin Cohen for damages and other relief in a libel claim over an article published by the online journal in May 2020. The article, which was framed as a story of a woman escaping from the ‘gender critical cult’, did not name Bindel, but she argues that, as several individuals identified her at the time, as well as claiming a wider campaign from Pink News against her, it was clear the piece referred to her.
The application, to which Bindel initially consented, was brought in order to resolve the dispute over whether Bindel was referred to in the article and, if she was, whether it bore a defamatory meaning about her; and so as to preserve the ability of Pink News to make an offer of amends if the article was found to be defamatory of Bindel.
Nicklin J dismissed the application on the grounds that the issues (of reference and meaning including innuendo meaning) did not meet the criteria for a trial of preliminary issues because they were complex and involved disputed facts.