Richard Spearman QC succeeds in obtaining permanent anonymity for the claimant in an action for defamation and harassment

Richard Spearman QC succeeds in obtaining permanent anonymity for the claimant in an action for defamation and harassment


CategoryNews Author Richard Spearman QC Date

ZAM v (1) CFW (2) TFW [2013] EWHC 662 (QB)

Tugendhat J held that there was no reason in principle why an anonymity order should not be made in a defamation action. ZAM would be granted anonymity on a permanent basis because “the history of [TFW’s] publications on the internet demonstrates that [TFW] would be likely to use any public judgment which named [ZAM] to exact further revenge, or support further extortionate demands. The court must adapt its procedures to ensure that it does not provide encouragement or assistance to blackmailers, and does not deter victims of blackmail from seeking justice from the courts” [43]-[44]. Referring to earlier reporting of the case, the Judge said “Although the articles in national newspapers did not republish the words complained of…Regrettably, some of these articles contained…inaccurate information about the proceedings…which might well have led people to search for [TFW’s] websites when they would not otherwise have done so. If a court is alleged to have acted in a manner which major newspapers allege to be wrong, readers ought to take an interest. It would assist readers to avoid misunderstanding if newspapers were to print the hyperlink to the public judgment” [111]-[112]. ZAM was awarded damages of £120,000, including £20,000 to take account of aggravating features, and indemnity costs.

For the full judgment please click here.


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