The long-awaited decision in Lachaux v Independent Print Ltd  EWCA Civ 1334 has brought some badly-needed clarity and certainty to the law of libel, and it seems fair to say that reports of the death of the libel writ have been greatly exaggerated. The decision interprets both the meaning of section 1(1) of the Defamation Act 2013 – “the serious harm” test – and determines the point at which a claim for libel crystallises.
The food blogger, journalist and left-wing political activist Jack Monroe has been awarded £24,000 in damages by the High Court following two tweets sent by the MailOnline (and former Sun)columnist Katie Hopkins in May 2015.
In TRK & BVP v ICM  EWHC 2810 Mr Justice Warby granted an interim without notice injunction preventing a spurned lover from disclosing private information obtained from the alleged hacking of his former lover’s computer system.
The claimant in the case of Economou v De Freitas ( EWHC 1853 (QB)) has lost his libel action against the father of a woman who accused him of rape. The claimant, Alexander Economou, brought the action over statements published in the media between November and December 2014 which he claimed amounted to a “public rubbishing” by the defendant. Mr Justice Warby dismissed the claim at the High Court on 26 July 2016 on the grounds that the statements were made in the public interest.
Two Labour MPs, Sir Kevin Barron and John Healey, have each been awarded £40,000 in damages as a result of libelous comments made about them during an interview by a political rival on national television. Liability had already been determined and there was subsequently a hearing to determine quantum.
In Richardson v Facebook  EWHC 3154 (QB) Mr Justice Warby dismissed the claimant’s appeals in two separate but similar claims for defamation and breach of Article 8 ECHR. One claim was brought against ‘Facebook’ and the other against Google UK Ltd.
In Lachaux v Independent Print ( EWHC 2242 (QB) the High Court sought to clarify the meaning of section 1 of the Defamation Act 2013: the requirement for defamation claimants to show that a publication has caused serious harm to reputation or is likely to cause serious harm to reputation.