Source: All England Reporter
Publisher Citation: [2002] All ER (D) 31 (Mar)
Court: Queen's Bench Division

Judge Richard Walker sitting as a judge of the High Court

Representation William Bennett (instructed by Pritchard Jones Evans Lane, Caernarfon) for the claimant.
  Adam Wolanski (instructed by Jeff Lustig) for the local authority.
Judgment Dates: 4 March 2002


Libel and slander - Summary disposal of claim - Officer of local authority writing letter concerning claimant - Copy of letter appearing on notice board of hospital - Claimant bringing proceedings against authority in respect of publication of letter on hospital notice board - Authority applying for summary disposal of claim - Whether claim to be disposed of summarily - s 8.

The Case

In a libel action, where the claimant sought to amend the particulars of claim after a delay of some 17 months, and the only reason for that delay was oversight on the part of his solicitors, it was held, refusing the application, that although some prejudice would be caused to the claimant by refusing to allow him to amend his particulars of claim, namely the loss of chance to be vindicated by a jury at trial, or by way of a statement read in open court, that prejudice was mitigated to some degree by the fact that the claimant had a potential claim in negligence against his solicitors, and by the fact that his case on the proposed amendment was not a robust one, and that that was outweighed by the prejudice that would be caused to the defendant authority if the application was allowed. Moreover, it was held that the authority was entitled to summary judgment on a claim that it was liable for the publication of a letter, written by one of its officers to certain addressees, on the notice board of a hospital where it was open to inspection by members of the public, since the defendant had no real prospect of success in proving that the authority was in any way responsible for the publication of the letter on that notice board.

Practice Areas

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