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ZAM v CFW & Anor [2013] EWHC 662 (QB) - 26/03/13


C had brought a defamation and harassment claim against the Ds. C was married with grown children and had been subjected to a blackmail attempt by TFW, who was the husband of CFW. CFW was the sister of ZAM's wife. Both ZAM's wife and CFW were beneficiaries of various family trusts.

The Ds had sought to publish completely false allegations in order to secure a financial gain from the trusts greater than what they otherwise would have. The allegations included that ZAM was guilty of financial wrongdoing and was a paedophile. The number of publishees was thought to be in the hundreds.

Summary judgment on liability had already been given in favour of ZAM; this hearing was to make an assessment of damages. Tugendhat J awarded £100,000 in respect of general damages, in light of the seriousness of the allegations, to restore the injury to his reputation. The Judge also awarded an additional £20,000 in respect of aggravated damages, which were particularly grave in this case, to compensate for the distress and harassment he had suffered. ZAM could rely on the fact that the Ds continued to publish, even after the litigation had begun, to establish malice, thus also proving injury to feelings.