Monthly Archives: May 2019

Collyer Bristow promote five in its latest promotion round

Law firm Collyer Bristow has announced five promotions across the firm, two new Partners and three new Senior Associates, demonstrating the firm’s strong commitment to further growth and to developing internal talent. Samara Dutton and James Cook are to become …

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Cross-border dispute

Our Commercial disputes team is acting in a on-going and complex cross-border fraud dispute in claim for over £40 million.

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UK Supreme Court considers ‘ordinary reader of Facebook’ in Defamation claim

The UK Supreme Court has overturned a decision of the Court of Appeal, and held that the judge erred in law by using the Oxford English dictionary definition of a word as a starting point and not taking its context …

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The Rose Report: navigating funding options

Last year, HM Treasury commissioned an independent review into barriers to female entrepreneurship in the UK to Alison Rose, the Deputy CEO of NatWest Holdings and CEO, Commercial and Private Banking. The Rose Review has now been published and revealed …

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UK Supreme Court considers ‘the ordinary reader of a Facebook Post’ in Defamation claim

The UK Supreme Court has overturned a decision of the Court of Appeal, and held that the judge erred in law by using the Oxford English dictionary definition of a word as a starting point and not taking its context as a Facebook post, into consideration. The Supreme Court looked to how an ordinary reader of a Facebook post would have interpreted the post.Mrs Stocker’s use of the phrase ‘he tried to strangle me’ was considered, by the lower courts, to mean that Mr Stocker had tried to kill her, and was found to be defamatory. The Supreme Court found that the dictionary definition of ‘to strangle’ should only have been used as a check, and ‘a realistic exploration of how the ordinary reader of the post would have understood it’ was more appropriate. ‘Anyone reading [the] post would not break it down in the way that Mitting J did by saying, well, strangle means either killing someone by choking them to death or grasping them by the throat and since Mrs Stocker is not dead, she must have meant that her husband tried to kill her – no other meaning is conceivable.’ The Supreme Court decided that when reading Mrs Stocker’s post, and knowing that the author was alive, the ordinary Facebook reader would have interpreted the post as meaning that Mr Stocker had grasped his wife by the throat and applied force to her neck rather than that he had tried deliberately to kill her.The Supreme Court underwent an interesting analysis of the context of social media and its users. They considered the recent decision in Monir v Wood [2018] EWHC (QB) 3525 where Nicklin J said, “Twitter is a fast moving medium. People will tend to scroll through messages relatively quickly.” and the Supreme Court cited that ‘Facebook is similar’. They noted the importance of context when determining meaning in social media posts, as people “do not pause and reflect”, and ponder possible meanings. “Their reaction to the post is impressionistic and fleeting.”The ‘ordinary reader of Facebook’ appears to have been considered, much like the well established ‘passenger of the Clapham Omnibus’ . The effect is likely to be that in future Courts will look to the context of Facebook to determine meaning and effect of words used when considering defamation claims. It is unlikely to cause a flood of cases in regards meaning, nor remove the use of the dictionary when considering meaning in the Courts. 

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GDPR anniversary to be marked with big fines

The first anniversary of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) on 25 May is likely to marked with big fines, says data and privacy law firm Collyer Bristow. The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has to date announced just 127 enforcement …

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Major banks fined over €1bn for FX spot trading cartel

The Commission started its investigations in the FX market as early as September 2013 and has only now made findings of anticompetitive behaviour in two settlement decisions. Interestingly, the Commission said that they will continue with other ongoing procedures concerning …

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Major commercial restructure

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High Court injunction against former employees

We acted in an emergency High Court injunction against two former senior employees, who had misappropriated our client’s commercial data and software, and  attempted to set up a competing business. Our quick and decisive action removed the threat to the …

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Cryptocurrencies enlisted in the sanctions war

The use of sanctions against Russia and Iran is not a new development in the fight to curb their respective rogue geopolitical initiatives, but sanction use has certainly been on the increase in the past two years. In response, those …

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