Practice and Procedure


PUBLISHED February 21, 2003

Statement in open court made in libel proceedings following the publication of an article in the Law Society's Gazette which erroneously claimed that the claimant had been struck off the roll of solicitors in connection with disciplinary proceedings.Statement in open court made in a libel action brought by the claimant, a solicitor, against the defendant, the Law Society.In September 2002 the Law Society's Gazette, a magazine published and sent to solicitors by the Law Society, published an article about the claimant with the headline "Police charge solicitor with ?7 million fraud". The article alleged that the claimant had been struck off the roll of solicitors following disciplinary proceedings for breach of the Solictors' Accounts Rules. The claimant believed that the article could also be read to imply that he had been charged with money-laundering offences by the Serious Fraud Office. The claimant had not been struck of the list and he had not been charged with any offence. The publication of the allegations caused the claimant hurt, embarrassment and serious damage to his professional reputation.The defendant acknowledged that a serious error occurred and published a full retraction on the front page of the following week's Law Society's Gazette. Counsel for the defendant publicly apologised to the claimant for the publication of the article and the defendant agreed to pay the claimant a very substantial sum in damages as well as legal costs. The defendant has undertaken not to repeat the allegations.Leave to withdraw the record requested.