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Defamation injunctions: the need to show risk of republication

In Bell v Payne (2015) an application for an injunction to restrain an ex-girlfriend making defamatory allegations was adjourned with liberty to restore.


In September 2013, proceedings were issued for libel. The claimant, a self-defence trainer had been in a relationship with the defendant. The relationship ended and the claimant alleged that in April 2013, the defendant sent a defamatory email to a client of the claimant and that as a result of that email, he lost a valuable contract. The defendant did not participate in the proceedings and therefore default judgment was sought and the claimant was awarded £14,100 in damages.


In this instance, whether it was appropriate to restrain the defendant from making further defamatory allegations. The defendant did not attend the hearing, nor was she represented.


There was no evidence of any further or continuing defamatory allegations by the claimant since the original email (sent in April 2013). There was communication between the Police and the defendant but as it is not possible to sue someone for defamation on the basis of communications with the Police, this evidence was not entertained.  It was held that there was not a real or substantial risk that the defendant would publish further defamatory comments if not restrained. There was also no evidence to suggest that the defendant might publish defamatory allegations in the future.

Judge Moloney QC did not dismiss the application but adjourned it with the liberty to restore so that the claimant could apply in the future should any evidence come to light of the continued publication of the original defamatory material or evidence of a real or substantial risk of the defendant making a defamatory publication in the future.





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