Permission to appeal decisions

Permission to appeal decision in a case relating to a defamation claim

17 March 2016

Sheridan (Respondent) v News Group Newspapers Limited (Appellant) (Scotland) - UKSC 2016/0202

On appeal from the Court of Session (Scotland)

Permission for News Group Newspapers to appeal was refused in a case relating to a defamation claim, specifically whether a new trial should be ordered following the respondent's conviction for perjury in the original trial.

The appellant published a number of articles about the respondent (then an MSP) in the 'News of the World' in 2004 and 2005, making various allegations of adultery, participation in group sexual activities, and drinking of champagne while claiming to be teetotal. The respondent sued the appellant for defamation, which proceeded to trial in 2006. At that trial a jury found in favour of the respondent, making a damages award of £200,000 (the maximum sought). Following a police investigation, the respondent was convicted in December 2010 of perjury in relation to the evidence he had given at the original trial. In light of the respondent's conviction, the appellant lodged a Minute to invite the Inner House to grant a motion for a new trial of the original defamation action. That application was refused by the Inner House, from which the appellant applied for permission to appeal to the Supreme Court.

The Supreme Court has declined to hear the appeal and the Court of Session judgment therefore stands:

The substantive text of the Supreme Court's Order reads: "The Court ordered that permission to appeal be refused because the application does not raise an arguable point of law of general public importance which ought to be considered at this time bearing in mind that the case has already been the subject of judicial decision and reviewed on appeal".