Want to talk to an expert employment law solicitor?

You'll receive a callback from a specialist within an hour

The facts in Cairns v Modi

Mr Cairns (“the Claimant”) is an acclaimed New Zealand cricketer. He won 62 Test caps for New Zealand and captained his country 7 times in an international career of 267 games. His last appearance for the New Zealand cricket team was in 2006.

In 2008 the Claimant played for and captained the Chanigarh Lions in three international tournaments from 10 October to 16 November. He was also the coach in the third tournament. Two domestic tournaments were also held in this time period.

On 5 January 2010 Mr Modi (“the Defendant”) posted on his official “account” on Twitter that the following statement: “Chris Cairns removed from the IPL auction list due to his past record in match fixing. This was done by the Governing Council today”. This statement was (as well as being published on Twitter) re-published an article in which the Defendant’s statement was repeated.

Mr Cairns was unhappy with this statement and subsequently sued Mr Modi for his defamatory comments on Twitter and to Cricinfo.

The law on defamation

To succeed in a claim for defamation the Claimant must prove, on the balance of probabilities, three separate elements:

  1. That a defamatory statement has been made
  2. That this defamatory statement referred to the Claimant
  3. That the defamatory statement was published to at least one other third party

A defamatory statement is a statement which lowers the Claimant in the eyes of right-thinking people by exposing the victim to hatred, contempt or ridicule. There are ways in which a defamatory statement can be made – in permanent (libel) form or in inpermanent (slander) form.

Publication involves the communication of the defamatory statement to at least one other person than the Claimant themselves.

Should a case for defamation be made out by the Claimant, the Defendant has four main lines of defence open to it, namely:

  1. Consent
  2. Truth
  3. Fair comment
  4. Privilege

Should a Claimant succeed in proving liability for defamation, the court will then consider the appropriate remedy. The remedies that can be achieved in a claim for defamation are two-fold:

  1. Damages
  2. Injunction

The purpose of damages in a claim for defamation is threefold:

  1. to compensate the Claimant for the injury to feelings caused by the publication of the defamatory statement
  2. to attempt to repair the damage caused to the Claimant’s reputation
  3. to justify the Claimant’s reputation

The High Court’s judgment in Cairns v Modi

The High Court found in the Claimant’s favour. The judge believed that the statement was defamatory, that it referred to the Claimant, and that the statement was communicated to a third party. The Defendant had attempted at an earlier date to defend the claim on the basis that at the time of the publication of the statement on Twitter (in 2010) Mr Modi had too few followers in England and Wales to justify a real and substantial tort.

As a result, it fell to the High Court to consider whether any of the defences were viable. It was decided that in fact none of the defences applied. Mr Justice Bean considered that the Defendant had not proved on the balance of probabilities that the defamatory statement was true. He cited the Defendant’s failure to present sufficient evidence of the truth of the allegation to the High Court, including a failure to present witness evidence.

With liability determined, it fell to Mr Justice Bean to consider the applicable remedy. He considered that damages of £75,000 were appropriate due to the nature of Mr Cairn’s reputation and the damage that the defamatory statement had caused to his personal integrity and professional reputation. Aggravated damages of £15,000 were also awarded, taking the total compensation to £90,000. Mr Justice Bean also stated that the Claimant was entitled to apply for an injunction against Mr Modi.

Our thoughts

This is a fairly straightforward defamation case. What’s interesting about it is the fact that it is the first reported case concerning Twitter in the High Court. With social media growing ever more pervasive and powerful by the day, it looks like defamation cases concerning publication on social media (whether it’s Facebook, Linked In, Twitter, or a new service such as Tumblr) can only be on the up.

Tagged with →  

Want to talk to an expert employment law solicitor?

You'll receive a callback from a specialist within an hour

Share →

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

 

Our awards

Request a callback

Your name

Your email

Your telephone number

Contact us

Please feel free to discuss your own position and concerns. Contact your nearest office on:

T: 020 3397 3603
E: enquiries@redmans.co.uk
W: www.redmans.co.uk

Testimonials

4.76 Average

124 Reviews

Brittany

I was very grateful for Redmans to treat my case with respect and discretion. At the time, I was very new to London and it was meaningful to have someone on my side and win the case for me. Without any doubt, I would definitely recommend Redmans Solicitors to anyone who is in need of it.

Posted 2 months ago

Jake L

Chris is very professional and calm. Very attentive and patient, been a positive experience having Chris represent me, and would recommend him.

Posted 3 months ago

Anonymous

Excellent service. It was a pleasure to work with Chris H, who is brilliant at what he does and very efficient. Their Senior Associate Rana T. is also very knowledgeable and resolves any queries speedily and efficiently. My issue could unfortunately not be resolved, but that was due to my employer and not the firm. Redmans however did all they could. I would definitely recommend them.

Posted 3 months ago

Anonymous

Very pleasant and quick to deal with. Mnay thanks.

Posted 3 months ago

Anonymous

Easy to get hold of. Quick.

Posted 4 months ago

Owen J

Very helpful, efficient service.

Posted 4 months ago

Anonymous

I am very lucky that I worked with Mr. Chris Hadrill and he managed my case very progressively with an analytical approach and trustfully. Of course with a very positive result. I strongly recommend Mr. Hadrill to any one seeking for a successful result from a highly qualified solicitor.

Posted 4 months ago

Kulbir S

Amazing, quick friendly service from Chris from the start and Caroline. They made me feel at ease during a difficult time, they understood and advised accordingly and I am really happy with the outcome of my case. Will always advise anyone who needs legal advice to contact Redmans, I’m so glad that I did and can confidently say I don’t think any other firm could have handled my case any better. Well done guys, wish you all the best and please keep doing what your doing, simply the best!

Posted 4 months ago

Mark A

Excellent service - rapid and “to the point” advice given to ensure meeting the target time frame

Posted 4 months ago

Anonymous

Chris Hadrill kept me sane during the negotiations with my employer. He was courteous professional and he cared about doing the best he could for me. I will use Redmans again if ever I need an employment solicitor. Excellent service.

Posted 4 months ago

Muhammad Z

Awesome services. Professionals at their best .

Posted 4 months ago

Anonymous

Thanks for the advice and for negotiating a good outcome. Good to have the support at a very stressful time

Posted 4 months ago

Chloe F

My solicitor at Redmans was very helpful and efficient. Really pleased with the smooth service.

Posted 4 months ago

Anonymous

Chris was absolutely excellent. Clear and concise, offering sound advice.

Posted 4 months ago

Tim O

Experienced and competent advisors

Posted 4 months ago

Rachel A

Quick and expert assistance. I would highly recommend Chris for any of your legal needs.

Posted 4 months ago

Joe S

I was very happy with the service provided by Chris and the team at Redmans Solicitors. I felt very comfortable discussing all matters with Chris and am very grateful for all the help and guidance I was given throughout the whole process. I would definitely recommend Redmans Solicitors to friends and family!

Posted 5 months ago

Anonymous

I had a very good experience working with Chris Hadrill during a difficult and emotional time. This held true from the moment I spoke to him on the phone, to the end of the process. Overall, he was attentive, professional and highly supportive. He provided sound advice and clarity. It was the reviews that led me to Redmans! I was very happy to know they were all true. I highly recommend working with Redmans Solicitors. Thank-you to the entire team!

Posted 5 months ago

Anonymous

Good service

Posted 5 months ago

Anonymous

Excellent professional service. Highly recommend.

Posted 5 months ago

Rob O

Very prompt response and I could not fault the service. My solicitor listened carefully to the details of my case and I felt very confident in the advice I was offered. All emails and work done on my behalf with my former employer was of the highest standard and Redmans helped take a lot of the stress out of the situation for me.

Posted 5 months ago