Gouldens partner wins case

A leading defamation partner from City firm Gouldens has successfully persuaded the Court of Appeal to throw out a libel claim against him.

Barton Taylor, one of London's top libel lawyers, has fought off a claim by the editor of now defunct magazine Scallywag for comments he made to a Welsh paper about it after it defamed his client.

The claim by Scallywag editor Simon Regan has been struck out after the judge ruled it was likely to fail.

Taylor was represented by London firm Russell Jones & Walker, which argued that solicitors should be given qualified privilege when answering questions from journalists about their clients.

Russell Jones & Walker partner Sarah Webb says: “We are delighted with today's decision, which may have some far reaching implications. Solicitors often have to deal with vicious attacks against their clients with no prior warning.

“This decision means that, with the agreement of their client, solicitors can use their own judgement when responding to defamatory remarks.”

Regan's solicitor advocate David Price, a leading defamation sole practitioner, says he is considering going to the House of Lords to argue qualified privilege should not extend to the defamatory personal opinions of lawyers.