Source: All England Reporter
Publisher Citation: [2002] All ER (D) 235 (Jan)
Court: Court of Appeal, Civil Division

Simon Brown, Waller and Sedley LJJ

Representation Desmond Browne QC and Lucy Moorman (instructed by Peter Carter-Ruck) for the claimant.
  Victoria Sharp QC (instructed by Olswang) for the defendant.
Judgment Dates: 28 January 2002


Libel and slander - Damages - Assessment - Aggravated damages - Libel in newspaper - Judge suggesting to jury a bracket for damages - Jury awarding sum outside upper end of suggested bracket - Whether award of damages excessive - Whether Court of Appeal should overturn award - Courts and Legal Services Act 1980, s 8.

The Case

A jury's award of aggravated damages for libel should not be condemned as unreasonable unless it was out of all proportion to what could sensibly have been thought appropriate. The court could only interfere with a jury's award if it was excessive. The question for the court, under s8 of the was whether a reasonable jury could have thought the award necessary to compensate the claimant and to re-establish his reputation. If the answer was no, the award was to be regarded as excessive and the court would substitute for it a proper award. The sum to be substituted would be the highest award which the jury could reasonably have thought necessary, not whatever sum the court thought appropriate, wholly uninfluenced by the jury's view.

Practice Areas

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