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Defamation

Libel - Serious harm - Claimant bringing defamation proceedings in relation to articles published in print and online - Whether statutory "serious harm" test part of test of defamatory meaning to be determined only by reference to words used - Whether "serious harm" being additional requirement to be proved - Defamation Act 2013, s 1(1) Lachaux v Independent Print Ltd; Lachaux v Evening Standard Ltd; Lachaux v AOL (UK) Ltd [2015] EWHC 2242 (QB); [2015] WLR (D) 345

8 September 2015

QBD: Warby J

• 30 July 2015

The effect of section 1(1) of the Defamation Act 2013 was that a statement was not defamatory of a person unless it had caused or would probably cause serious harm to that person's reputation, those being matters to be proved by the claimant on the balance of probabilities.

Warby J, sitting in the Queen's Bench Division, so held in a reserved judgment determining a number of preliminary issues in three sets of libel proceedings brought by the claimant, Bruno Lachaux, against the defendants, Independent Print Ltd, Evening Standard Ltd and AOL (UK) Ltd, arising from articles published in print and online, making various allegations in relation to the manner in which the claimant had treated his wife.

Section 1(1) of the Defamation Act 2013 provides: "A statement...

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