Cairns v Modi; KC v MGN Ltd

The Court of Appeal has handed down judgment in two conjoined appeals involving the assessment of damages in libel: Cairns v Modi; KC v MGN Ltd [2012] EWCA Civ 1382. Modi, the losing defendant in the first claim, had argued that the judge below, in awarding £90,000 for a libel referring to allegations of match fixing by former international cricketer Cairns, which allegations were roundly rejected at trial, had taken an insufficiently analytical approach to the setting of damages. The Court of Appeal was invited to adopt into libel cases the sort of analytical approach established in discrimination cases by Vento v Chief Constable of West Yorkshire [2002] EWCA Civ 1871, [2003] ICR 318. The Court of Appeal declined the invitation; libel cases were too complex to admit of such structured analysis. In the second appeal, KC v MGN Ltd, the Court of Appeal intervened to reduce an award made to a claimant against a national newspaper, where the highly defamatory words complained of, although published to a very wide circulation, could only have been understood by a very small number of readers as referring to the claimant.

Jonathan Price was instructed by Fladgate LLP as junior counsel to Mr Modi

15th November 2012