High Court upholds McAlpine Twitter libel claim against Bercow

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  • #uh oh

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  • Excellent news and common sense prevails. Ms Bercow is a vacuous self-publicist. Justice is done.

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  • No wonder it's a loss for Carter Ruck - they normally represent plaintiffs!

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  • Plaintiffs!! Now that takes me back.

    The correct result without any doubt.

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  • The decision was completely wrong and completely contradicts the guidance given in other libel multiple defendant cases like Smith V ADVFN about over-compensation. A one dimensional decision which will come back to bite the judges.

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  • Compensation has yet to be decided Miss Kelly. Let's wait and see what is decided. I am sure there will be a good part 36 in place.

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  • Anony 1:39pm

    Not sure if you will find out what has been agreed between the parties. The point with this case is that it should never have got to the stage where compensation was payable in the first place. An abuse of process decision should have been reached based on ALL of the considerations you would normally have in a multiple libel/defendant actions. You cannot receive compensation when you have been paid well over the odds (£300K plus) for the same libel. The contribution of this 7 word tweet has to be considered in this context and the totality of ALL the publication/broadcasts. If you think about that, no more than a nomimal sum is due. There is plenty of legal precedent about over-compensation in libel. The judge ignored it and managed the case in such a way that the abuse of process argument could not be pursued. Look at other multiple libel and defendant cases and tell me I am wrong. The judge departed from the clear legal guidance - whatever your thoughts on Sally Bercow or libel in general, that fact is hard to get away from.

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  • I think this judgment is totally wrong. The law is badly overreaching here. This was a short reference to the fact that someone was trending on twitter. The tweet does not express a personal opinion, make any offensive allegations or imply that the author has any personal knowledge of the subject or anything to contribute to the public debate.

    I think the consequences of this judgment are quite extreme. I fear that almost any discussion of current events, whether by social media or in print, could now also be seen as libellous.

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  • Anonymous (10:04am)

    Amazing isn't it? I must admit I am still getting over the shock. As you say, the consequences could be extreme for many reasons. I do not expect the majority of people to understand that because obviously very few have studied and researched the libel cases I have referred to. As concerns those other cases which were judged correctly and sensibly, I wonder whether the judiciary are going to return to the previous legal guidance and this was just a one off. Or are we entering a dark new age of confusion and the chill of libel being further compounded by equally ludicrous decisions going forward? These should be interesting times for students of law but rather worryingly nobody seems to have picked up on this at all - or done any kind of proper analysis on the outcome and obvious material inconsistencies (rather than just the decision on meaning). All the reporting of this case which has expressed any opinion has been far from objective and dare I say, wrong in law.

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  • Kelly - I entirely agree. The costs of this must be ruinous for Ms. Bercow over an admittedly misjudged but isolated and non-offensive tweet. I can only hope this gets successfully appealed.

    I think free speech and fair comment on current events is entering shaky ground here. There will surely be a significant chilling effect on public discussion through twitter.

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  • Complete load of nonsence ...the only thing Alpine will be remebered for is the ganernering in of as much money as he can.... and then what's his name the libel lawyer...well what a load of old codswallop

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  • Looks like the judge was over ruled in the Cruddas libel case. That makes quite a few now - the most notable being Waterson V Lloyd. Eady J before him was overturned alot in his last few years and now we are seeing a repeat. If Sally Bercow had appealed on the grounds I suggested I feel she would have won. The judge seems to be taking the wrong approach in law and one that defies logic and common sense. We need to go back to hearings which consider all the relevant issues and not meaning hearings which result in distorted, ill considered and disproportionate outcomes. The judiciary after finding its way after numerous libel farces of the past now seem to be descending back to the dark ages of libel. Well done Appeal Court anyway.

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