UK: Goodman Derrick Act For Successful Defendant Stephen Lloyd MP
Last Updated: 6 August 2013

The High Court has handed down its judgment in the long running defamation action brought by the former Conservative MP for Eastbourne, Nigel Waterson, against Stephen Lloyd MP, Liberal, and his election agent, Miss Rebecca Carr.  The High Court's decision is attached.

Nigel Adams of Goodman Derrick LLP acted for Mr Lloyd and Miss Carr in their successful defence of the defamation claim brought by Mr Waterson.

The case concerned statements made in election leaflets issued by Mr Lloyd and Miss Carr in the run up to the General Election in 2010 – statements which criticised as "a scandal" certain aspects of Mr Waterson's expenses claims which he made while he was in office.  Mr Waterson objected to the adverse characterisation of his expenses claims in the leaflets as he stated that his expenses claims were within Parliamentary rules.

Building on the successful appeal to the Court of Appeal made by Mr Lloyd and Miss Carr earlier this year, the High Court found today that an honest person could have held the view that it was a "scandal" for Mr Waterson to have claimed nearly £70,000 from the taxpayer for a family home 60 miles from his then constituency in Eastbourne.  The Court went on to rule that Mr Waterson's claim ought not to proceed to a full trial and gave judgment in the case to Mr Lloyd and Miss Carr.

Nigel Adams, Dispute Resolution partner at Goodman Derrick LLP, commented:

"I am delighted at the outcome for my clients Mr Lloyd MP and Miss Carr. The previous decision in the Court of Appeal was focussed on the meaning of the words complained of by Mr Waterson, now the High Court have made their final judgement which hopefully brings this case to a close for all parties  and which demonstrates the Court's policy of supporting open political campaigning in this country.  In striking a balance between free speech and protection of the individual, the Court have understood the context in which the statements are made and the mood of the public as regards the subject of MPs expenses. My clients' comments were made in the midst of an election campaign and the Court has supported the right to make challenging statements."

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