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This morning the High Court struck out the entire libel claim brought by Johanna Kaschke against Dave Osler.
This was a stunning and indeed commendable ruling by Sir David Eady.
The case report is here. (I plan to post an analysis at the weekend.)
The claim was struck out for Abuse of Process.
She has to pay costs.
Sir David Eady also refused permission for Johanna Kaschke to appeal.
The great Robert Dougans was the solicitor "on the record" (see Press Release).
Robert also did all the advocacy.
He and I shared the six months' legal work required for the defence and applications pro bono, assisted recently by the ever-excellent William McCormick QC.
Robert and William, of course, acted for Simon Singh in his successful defence against the similarly misconceived claim brought by the now discredited British Chiropractic Association.
(Before the hearing I also received a libel threat from Johanna Kaschke in respect of my blogpost of yesterday. In accordance with good blogging practice, she can of course have a right of reply, but else I will refer her to Arkell v Pressdram (1971).)
As Robert Dougans rightly said in court, Johanna Kaschke has long "thrown libel writs like confetti". A number of bloggers and journalists have been threatened or served with libel claims by her.
Accordingly, Robert and I will be applying for a restraining order (a sort of ASBO for vexatious litigants) against Johanna Kaschke at the earliest opportunity.
This is a great victory: it is rare for an entire libel case to be struck out for Abuse of Process.
Dave Osler has two years' stress and loss of time for a blogpost which simply was not actionable.
Until today he also faced personal bankruptcy in the event of a subtantial award of damages after a full jury trial which was to take place later this year.
I repeat, today's decision shows that the blogpost was not actionable in the first place.
These two years of litigation, and the six months of extensive pro bono work (which otherwise would have cost Dave tens of thousands of pounds at least), show this to be a "fail" for English libel law.
It was only because of the expertise and time spent of Robert, William, and myself, that we were able to identify the technical bases for the application to strike out; there was no way that any lay person could have realistically done this. This case would have proceeded to trial.
Libel abuse has to stop.
So please, if you have not already done so, sign the libel reform petition at www.libelreform.org and write to your MP to demand legislative reform as soon as possible in the new Parliament.
Oh, and do send Robert Dougans a congratulatory email at Robert.Dougans [a] bryancave.com.
He deserves it.
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