- Improperly pleaded social media libel claim facing ‘inevitable defeat’ struck out (Webb v Jones)
- What are the practical implications of this case?
- What was the background?
- What did the court decide?
- Case details
TMT analysis: The High Court has struck out a libel claim brought regarding seven out of 382 comments and replies posted in response to a Facebook post published in a private Facebook group.On the defendant’s application to strike out the claimant’s libel claim because of several deficiencies identified in the Particulars of Claim, the judge held that the claimant’s pleading failed to disclose reasonable grounds for bringing the claim, and were an abuse of the court’s process. This was on the basis that the pleading was defective, the claim lacked substance in essential respects, and the claimant’s suggestion that her pleading could be rectified following the handing down of the judgment was both implausible (since the defamation claim was bound to fail) and irregular. The claimant’s separate harassment claim, which was not challenged in the defendant’s application notice and was only criticised in the defendant’s skeleton argument and in her written submissions following the hearing, survived—but the door was left open for a further strike out application on that separate claim. Written by Mathilde Groppo, associate at Carter-Ruck Solicitors.
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