Guidance on making claims for defamation
Defamation is a serious allegation and there are strict rules about how parties should make such a claim in formal legal proceedings. The court heard a defamation action brought by a litigant in person in the recent case of Mole v Hunter and gave a helpful reminder of what must be dealt with in the claim.
The claimant, Ms Mole, was a tenant of the defendant, Ms Hunter, who owned a house that she rented out on a multiple-occupancy basis. Relations between the two deteriorated, with the result that Ms Mole terminated her tenancy and issued a claim against Ms Hunter for recovery of her deposit. Ms Hunter counterclaimed, alleging that Ms Mole had published various defamatory statements about Ms Hunter in her capacity as a landlady both on the internet and via email. Ms Hunter claimed that this had damaged her reputation and made it more difficult for her to find new tenants.
Through no fault of her own, Ms Mole did not serve a defence to Ms Hunter’s counterclaim by the due date and the court granted Ms Hunter’s request to enter judgment in default on the counterclaim. Ms Mole applied to set judgment aside. She argued that the allegations of defamation in the counterclaim were insufficiently particularised and non-compliant with the Civil Procedure Rules (CPR)…
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