Case Law: Tesla Motors v BBC, Top Gear up before Top Judges – Rosalind English

7 03 2013

Top GearIn the case of Tesla Motors v BBC ([2013] EWCA Civ 152) the Court of Appeal refused an appeal against the strike out of a libel claim against the BBC in relation to a review of an electric sports car by the “Top Gear” programme. The judge below had been correct in concluding that there was no sufficient prospect of the manufacturer recovering a substantial sum of damages such as to justify continuing the case to trial. Read the rest of this entry »





Libel Claims against ITV and Twitter – Lord McAlpine and the restoration of reputation [Updated]

20 11 2012

As we pointed out last week, Lord McAlpine’s reputation was severely damaged by the event surrounding the ill-conceived Newsnight broadcast of 2 November 2012. That damage was caused in part by the publication on Twitter of material which linked him to the unidentified individual mentioned in the broadcast.  Lord McAlpine was plainly entitled to have his reputation restored.  This was, in practice, substantially achieved by the apology given by the BBC on 10 November 2012. Read the rest of this entry »





Libel damages and Lord McAlpine: did the BBC pay too much?

16 11 2012

There is no doubt that Lord McAlpine has been badly treated by the BBC. The Newsnight broadcast on 2 November 2012 about sexual abuse in children’s homes in North Wales in the 1970s and 1980s referred to “a leading Tory politician of the Thatcher era”.  Although he was not mentioned by name, this individual being referred to was Lord McAlpine.  He was identified before transmission on Twitter and was foreseeably identified afterwards by large numbers of people.  The report was wrong – as the BBC admitted on 10 November 2012.  It issued an unreserved apology. Read the rest of this entry »





Lord McAlpine and libel reform – Gavin Phillipson

15 11 2012

Condemnation of the BBC over the Newsnight report linking child abuse allegations to a former senior Tory politician has been savage and universal. Journalists, pundits and politicians confess themselves shocked and horrified that programme could fall so far below the standards of professional journalism expected at the BBC. The BBC, which had not actually named Lord McAlpine, promptly published an apology and full retraction, but McAlpine may still sue for libel. Read the rest of this entry »





The Leveson Inquiry and the BBC – Brian Cathcart

12 11 2012

Is there a link between the BBC crisis and Leveson? Does the fate of George Entwistle teach us lessons about regulated journalism? Yesterday’s papers were fumbling for the connection.

In the Observer, the headline on Peter Preston’s media column declares: ‘While Leveson’s in his bunker, the media’s in chaos’. Dominic Lawson writes in the Sunday Times under the headline: ‘Forget a press gag, it’s Twitter we must police.’ Read the rest of this entry »





The BBC, Lord McAlpine and Libel Law

11 11 2012

The past week has seen a series of extraordinary events arising out of a BBC Newsnight broadcast about sexual abuse in children’s homes in North Wales in the 1970s and 1980s.  This led to the wide dissemination of false allegations against the former Conservative Party Treasurer, Lord McAlpine and resulted in the resignation of the Director General of the BBC.  The case gives rise to a number of interesting libel law questions and casts doubt on the appropriateness of a proposed new “public interest defence”. Read the rest of this entry »








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