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Particulars not required where allegations clearly set out in pleadings

By: Mark Tottenham BL

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High Court, in defamation proceedings arising from an allegation by the UK state broadcaster (the BBC) that a well-known politician had sanctioned and approved the murder of an associate: (a) makes a limited order of discovery of documentation held by the broadcaster about the politician, on the grounds that the broadcaster had been covering the politician for over 50 years, and that a broad order of discovery would be unduly onerous; and (b) refuses to order particulars of allegations that the politician was a member of a proscribed organisation, on the grounds that the allegations were clearly set out in the defence, and particulars were not necessary for the purposes of a fair hearing.

Defamation proceedings - discovery - particulars - allegation that politician had sanctioned and approved a murder - claim for damages - aggravated and exemplary damages - defence of fair and reasonable publication - s. 26 of the Defamation Act, 2009 - allegation that plaintiff was member of a proscribed organisation - discovery - relevance and necessity - whether allegation published in good faith - whether on a subject of public interest in the course of a discussion for the public benefit - whether publication in issue - editorial guidelines - source material - documents evidencing the plaintiff's involvement with the proscribed organisation - particulars - whether particulars necessary to enable the plaintiff to plead, or for the purpose of a fair hearing.

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