No serious harm in defamation

The High Court has found that a number of articles published by the defendants were defamatory of the first claimant, a Saudi prince.

However, the court found that the meanings were insufficiently serious to amount to defamatory allegations of the second claimant, a company, as there was nothing pleaded that could lead to a finding that it had suffered or was likely to suffer serious harm as a result of the publications.

The serious harm requirement was introduced by section 1 of the Defamation Act 2013.

In the case of a body that trades for profit, harm to its reputation is not serious harm unless it has caused or is likely to cause the body serious financial loss.

The intention of the legislation was to limit the ability of trading entities to bring actions for defamation without evidence of serious financial loss.

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