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Rare defamation injunction secured

Rare defamation injunction secured

An interim injunction has been granted to a lawyer, allegedly the subject of defamatory claims on a website called Solicitors From Hell. The unusual ruling applies to the man who runs the operation and orders him to remove the allegations from the site. After a brief hearing in the Queen's bench division of the High Court, Mr Justice Edwards-Stewart granted the order against Rick Kordowski.

The application was made by barrister Guy Vassall-Adams, representing Hickman Rose solicitor Anna Mazzola. Such an injunction in defamation cases is rare because of the precedent set by the 1891 case of Bonnard v Perryman. This ruled that an order to prevent publication of allegedly defamatory material must not be permitted if the defendant claims to be able to justify the allegation. However, if the defendant appears unlikely to succeed at trial, an interim order can be granted.

The general rule is intended to protect freedom of expression. Mr Vassall-Adams successfully argued that the claims made about Ms Mazzola by the website were undoubtedly defamatory, with no grounds to conclude that they could be truthful. Mr Kordowski did not offer any justification as a defence, nor did he come up with supporting evidence. He had simply argued that his website's claims might be true.

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