Source: All England Reporter
Publisher Citation: [2002] All ER (D) 355 (Oct)
Neutral Citation: [2002] UKHL 40
Court: House of Lords

Lord Bingham of Cornhill, Lord Steyn, Lord Hobhouse of Woodborough, Lord Millett and Lord Scott of Foscote

Representation Robert Hartley QC and Sarah Palin (instructed by Cuff Roberts, Liverpool) for the claimant.
  Richard Spearman QC (instructed by Daniel Taylor) for the defendants.
Judgment Dates: 24 October 2002


Libel and slander - Damages - Assessment of damages - Jurisdiction of House of Lords.

The Case

The House of Lords had power to substitute for a sum of damages awarded by a jury such sum as appeared to the court to be proper instead of ordering a new trial. By s4 of the it was provided that the House of Lords might, on an appeal to it, 'determine what of right, and according to law and custom of this realm, ought to be done in the subject-matter of such appeal.' Moreover, a petition to the House of Lords routinely asked that the order of the Court of Appeal 'may be reviewed by Her Majesty the Queen, in Her Court of Parliament, and that the said Order may be reversed, varied or altered or that your Petitioner may have such other relief in the premises as to Her Majesty the Queen, in Her Court of Parliament, may seem meet'. The House of Lords was not a creature of statute and in the absence of statutory or judicial restriction had inherent power to exercise any power vested in the Court of Appeal. It would be strange if the House of Lords, having jurisdiction to entertain the claimant's appeal against the decision of the Court of Appeal, did not have power to substitute the order which it concluded the Court of Appeal should have made.

Practice Areas

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