I have been asked about the leading case of Arkell v. Pressdram (1971), which I referred to here.
This case is well known among lawyers and journalists, especially the phrase "I refer you to the reply given in Arkell and Pressdram".
But it really deserves to be better known, and so I set it out below.
(I have taken the text from here and background is here.)
Solicitors' letter to Private Eye:
We act for Mr Arkell who is Retail Credit Manager of Granada TV Rental Ltd.
His attention has been drawn to an article appearing in the issue of Private Eye dated 9th April 1971 on page 4. The statements made about Mr Arkell are entirely untrue and clearly highly defamatory.
We are therefore instructed to require from you immediately your proposals for dealing with the matter. Mr Arkell's first concern is that there should be a full retraction at the earliest possible date in Private Eye and he will also want his costs paid. His attitude to damages will be governed by the nature of your reply.
Private Eye's reply:
We acknowledge your letter of 29th April referring to Mr J. Arkell.
We note that Mr Arkell's attitude to damages will be governed by the nature of our reply and would therefore be grateful if you would inform us what his attitude to damages would be, were he to learn that the nature of our reply is as follows: fuck off.
No further correspondence was received.
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