5 Raymond Buildings quartet don gloves for Ricky Hatton libel fight

Four barristers from 5 Raymond Buildings (5RB) have been fighting it out in the Court of Appeal after Random House sought to defend itself against ­proceedings brought by boxer Ricky Hatton’s former promoter Frank Warren.

The publisher had been looking to overturn three previous rulings by the High Court to strengthen its defence before a defamation case goes to trial on 1 December. But in the main its appeals were dismissed.

The libel action was brought by Warren after Random House published Hatton’s autobiography, The Hitman – My Story, which alleged that in April 2003 Warren misled the boxer Vince Phillips about the sale of the television rights to his fight with Ricky Hatton.

The publisher, which had already apologised for publishing these allegations, appealed to the Court of Appeal to allow it to amend its defence to justification. This was dismissed.

The appellant court also dismissed Random House’s attempt to reinstate in full its justification defence for alleging that Warren had lied. Mr Justice Eady had previously struck out part of this plea. However, the court allowed Random House’s appeal for specific disclosure of Warren’s contracts with Showtime and BSkyB for the television rights.

The 5RB barristers ­acting for Random House were Desmond Browne QC and Matthew Nicklin, who were instructed by Simons ­Muirhead & Burton, while Adrienne Page QC, assisted by William Bennett, were instructed by Carter-Ruck for Warren.