Collins v Jones
|England & Wales
|LORD JUSTICE DENNING,LORD JUSTICE PARKER
|14 March 1955
|Judgment citation (vLex)
| EWCA Civ J0314-2
|1953 G. Ho.429
|Court of Appeal
|14 March 1955
 EWCA Civ J0314-2
Lord Justice Denning and
Lord Justice parker
In The Supreme Court of Judicature
Court of Appeal
Mr. H.V. LLOYD-JONES. Q.C., and Mr. NORMAN RICHARDS (instructed by Messrs. Hampsons) appeared on behalf of the Appellant.
Mr. H. ELWYN JONES. Q.C., and Mr. E.P. WALLIS-JONES (instructed by Messrs. Theodore Goddard & Co., Agents for Messrs. D.W. Peter Williams & Co., Swansea) appeared on behalf of the Respondent.
( As revised)
Miss Collins is the Children's officer employed by the Swansea County Borough Council. She brings an action against Dr. Gwent Jones, who is a Medical Practitioner in practice in Swansea. Her claim is that he libelled her in a letter which he wrote to the Chairman of the Children's Committee of the Swansea County Borough Council. In the letter Dr. Gwent Jones had said that the Matrons of a children's home had been affected in their health by the treatment. Which had been accounted to them. The Plaintiff, Miss Collins says that the letter was a libel on her because it imputed that it was her treatment of those ladies that had caused them to be unwell. That letter was written on the 3rd October, 1952. As a result of the letter there was on inquiry before a sub-committee in September, 1955, in Swansea, and there Dr. Gwent Jones made statements orally before the committee which Miss Collins says are defamatory of her, and which she alleges are slanders. Those matters clearly have to go to trial.
The matter with which we are particularly concerned today is an allegation in Paragraph 7 of the Statement of Claim, in which Miss Collins says that Dr. Gwent Jones, the Defendant, in September and October, 1952, before he wrote to the Chairman of the Committee, wrote two letters to Dr. Meyrick, the Medical Officer of Health.
The Plaintiff says that in those letters the Defendant wrote and published the following words, which the Plaintiff sets out in inverted commas: "The Children's Officer (meaning the Plaintiff) has prosecuted the Matron of the West Cross Nursery and thereby retarded her recovery to health and systematically persecuted the Manter and Matron of the Cottage Homes with the result that they left their employment and retired prematurely".
Dr. Gwent Jones, through his legal advisers, asks for particulars of the letters. He wants the Plaintiff to specify the date, time and place of publication, and how these words occur in them. The question is whether she Defendant ought to have those particulars.
The Plaintiff, Miss Collins, has not seen those letters at all, and her advisers have not seen them. They do not know what they contain. They are guessing. They only got to know of the letters because at the inquiry Dr. Gwent Jones lot fall that he had written to the Medical Officer of Health. He said at the inquiry: "Before I wrote to the Chairman I was torn between two...
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...as a "fishing expedition" to seek out a cause of action: see Gaskin v. Retail Credit Co.,  O.WN. 171; Collins v. Jones,  2 All E.R. 145. There are, however, limitations to the strictness of pleading. Our Courts have always refused to strike out a claim where the plaintiff has re......