Tim Smith analyses the crucial judgment for defamation claims in Lachaux v Independent Print  UKSC 27. In concluding that the Defamation Act 2013 introduced an enhanced threshold of serious harm from that established by the previous case law and by requiring it to be determined by reference to the actual facts as to its impact, not merely as to the meaning of the words, the Supreme Court has, through this judgment, strengthened the hand of those that seek to resist defamation claims.
As to the impact of the judgment moving forward;
- it’s anticipated that more defamation claims will be successfully defended as they don’t meet the threshold of seriousness required;
- there’s likely to be greater scrutiny as to the evidence adduced of serious financial loss in claims made by companies;
- we will be closely monitoring developments on the application of the serious harm test as parties test its influence in defamation claims.
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