Case details

Lachaux (Respondent) v Independent Print Limited and another (Appellants)

Case ID: UKSC 2017/0175

Case summary


The proper interpretation of the "serious harm" test in s.1(1) of the Defamation Act 2013; the circumstances in which serious harm can be inferred in the absence of evidence of harm; the applicability of the common law repetition rule and the rule in Associated Newspapers Ltd v Dingle [1964] AC 371 excluding the admissibility of publications to similar effect.


In 2014, the respondent became aware of several articles in British newspapers which he contends were defamatory of him. The articles reported allegations made by the respondent’s former wife and her family that, during the course of an acrimonious divorce, he had, amongst other things, continued a campaign of intimidation and harassment against his wife, obtained a travel ban against her which trapped her in Dubai and snatched their young son from her when he found out where she was hiding from him. He commenced proceedings against the appellant publishers on 2 December 2014.

On 1 April 2015, the Court ordered that the "serious harm" test for defamation actions as contained in s.1(1) of the Defamation Act 2013 be addressed as a preliminary issue. On 30 July 2015, Warby J held that the articles had caused serious harm to the respondent’s reputation. The appellants appealed to the Court of Appeal. On 12 September 2017, the Court of Appeal held that Warby J had reached the correct outcome on the preliminary issue but disagreed on various aspects of his approach to the interpretation of s.1(1) of the 2013 Act. The appellants now appeal to the Supreme Court.

Judgment appealed

[2017] EWCA Civ 1334


  1. Independent Print Ltd
  2. Evening Standard Ltd

Bruno Lachaux


Media Lawyers Association



Lord Kerr, Lord Wilson, Lord Sumption, Lord Hodge, Lord Briggs

Hearing start date

13 Nov 2018

Hearing finish date

14 Nov 2018

Watch hearing
13 Nov 2018 Morning session Afternoon session
14 Nov 2018 Morning session