Twitter libel case gifts roles to QCs from One Brick Court and Ely Place

Silks from One Brick Court and Ely Place Chambers are going head-to-head in a libel claim that has been launched in response to a Twitter posting.

New Zealand cricketer Chris Cairns launched the libel claim after being accused of corruption in a 24-word Twitter message that was posted in January 2010.

The author of the Tweet, former Indian Premier League (IPL) chairman Lalit Modi, is being defended by Ron Thwaites QC of Ely Place, who was instructed by Fladgate partner Lawrence Abramson.

The case, which is currently being heard in the High Court, is being brought on behalf of Cairns by Collyer Bristow partner Rhory Robertson, who instructed One Brick Court’s Andrew Caldecott QC and Ian Helme.

According to Finers Stephens Innocent libel lawyer Mark Stephens the case is a “ridiculous” example of libel tourism as it concerns a New Zealander suing an Indian businessman in the London courts.

Mr Justice Bean heard that as few as 35 people in England and Wales read the Tweet, although Caldecott and Helme claim that the figure is more like 95 and that rumours “run and run”.

In his Tweet Modi claimed that Cairns was not accepted to play in the IPL due to a “past record in match-fixing”.

The hearing is scheduled to last for two weeks.