Roache v News Group Newspaper Ltd

JurisdictionEngland & Wales
CourtCourt of Appeal (Civil Division)
Judgment Date19 November 1992
Date19 November 1992

Court of Appeal

Before Sir Thomas Bingham, Master of the Rolls, Lord Justice Stuart-Smith and Lord Justice Simon Brown

Roache
and
News Group Newspapers Ltd and Others

Libel and slander - costs - after payment-in

Libel costs after payment-in

Where a plaintiff in a libel action was awarded the same sum as the defendants had paid into court before the trial, and had obtained an injunction against re-publication, for the purposes of costs it was the defendants who were in substance the successful parties since the claim for injunctive relief had not been a significant factor in the plaintiff's prosecution of his claim.

Accordingly, the plaintiff would be ordered to pay the defendants' costs after the date of their payment into court.

The Court of Appeal so held allowing an appeal, with leave of the judge, by News Group Newspapers Ltd, Kelvin Mackenzie and Ken Irwin from Mr Justice Waterhouse who had awarded the plaintiff, William Roache, the costs of his action for libel in which he had been granted an injunction restraining the defendants from re-publication and had been awarded damages of £50,000, which sum had been paid into court by the defendants three weeks before the commencement of the trial. The action was brought by Mr Roache, who played the part of Ken Barlow in Coronation Street, in respect of material contained in an article published in The Sun on November 1, 1990.

Mr David Eady, QC and Miss Heather Rogers for the defendants; Mr Charles Gray, QC and Mr Tom Shields for the plaintiff.

THE MASTER OF THE ROLLS said that two principles, habitually applied in exercising the court's discretion to award costs, were relevant: the first was that in the ordinary way costs followed the event so that the winner of the action recovered his costs which the loser had to pay.

In complex cases it was necessary to investigate with some care who really was the winner and who the loser, or as it was sometimes put, to identify the event which costs were to follow. The principle was of fundamental importance in deterring plaintiffs from bringing and defendants from defending actions they were likely to lose.

The second principle was that where a plaintiff claimed a financial remedy in debt or damages and the defendant paid into court a sum not accepted by the plaintiff which was equal to or greater than the sum recovered by the plaintiff in the action the plaintiff ordinarily was ordered to pay the defendant's costs from the date of the payment in.

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157 cases
  • Singapore Airlines Ltd v Tan Shwu Leng and another appeal
    • Singapore
    • Court of Three Judges (Singapore)
    • 16 October 2001
    ...... slight and what was not so slight?Mr Teh had sought to rely upon Roache v News Group Newspapers (Unreported) , where the plaintiff, in a libel ......
  • Grizzly Business Ltd v 1) Stena Drilling Ltd and Another
    • United Kingdom
    • Court of Appeal (Civil Division)
    • 24 February 2017
    ...wholly wrong because the court is forced to the conclusion that he has not balanced the various factors fairly in the scale." ( Roache v News Group Newspapers Ltd [1998] EMLR 161 per Stuart-Smith J. at p. 172; cited with approval in AEI Rediffusion Music Ltd v Phonographic Performance Ltd ......
  • Magical Marking Ltd and Another v ware & Kay Llp and Others
    • United Kingdom
    • Chancery Division
    • 20 March 2013
    ...the successful party has emerged from a series of Court of Appeal authorities, beginning with Roache v Newsgroup Newspapers Limited [1998] EMLR 161 in which, at page 168-9, Sir Thomas Bingham MR said: "The Judge must look closely at the facts of the particular case before him and ask: who, ......
  • Melissa Cutting v Dr Asim Islam
    • United Kingdom
    • Queen's Bench Division
    • 14 May 2014
    ...to describe this surprisingly elusive process, no description is in my view better than that of Sir Thomas Bingham MR in Roache v Newsgroup Newspapers Ltd [1998] EMLR 161:- "The judge must look closely at the facts of the particular case before him and ask: who, as a matter of substance and......
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