Today the Supreme Court is hearing the second and final day of the appeal in the case of Lachaux v Independent Print Limited and another against the Court of Appeal decision. Centre stage will be section 1(1) of the Defamation Act 2013, which, although has been discussed at length in this case so far, still requires clarification.
Watch this space
Just because the Supreme Court granted the permission to appeal, does not mean the appellants have an upper hand. The Supreme Court will only grant permission to appeal if it considers there are important points of principle or practice to consider. It has in the past granted permission and then ultimately dismissed the case or granted the permission and used it as an opportunity to clarify the law.
Whatever the decision, we can hope for guidance on the meaning of section 1(1)’s “serious harm” requirement in what is being considered by many commentators to be the defamation case of the year.
This appeal raises a number of issues of law and practice in cases of defamation. All are important to the parties but some have a wider importance, involving a consideration both of the meaning and effect of s.1(1) of the Defamation Act 2013 ("the 2013 Act") and of the practice and procedure to be followed where it is in issue whether a published statement has caused or is likely to cause serious harm to the reputation of the claimant.