Laurence Fox Ordered to Pay £180k Libel Damages

Judith Thompson  25-04-2024

Laurence Fox, member of the famous acting family dynasty who in recent times has turned his attention to seeking a following on social media, has today been ordered to pay libel damages totalling £180,000. Mr Fox had previously indicated that he would appeal the decision which found him guilty of libel, but as yet, does not appear to have done so. 

In this case, the allegations only appeared online for a very short period of time. If they had been published for longer, the likelihood is that the award of damages could have been higher. There was also some doubt about whether the allegations had been widely accepted as true by those who read them. 

Fox was sued by two individuals, who he had called paedophiles in a rant on X (formerly Twitter), after they had accused him of being racist. The claimants will split the damages equally between them. 

It is likely that he will have to make the payment within 14 days, and if he fails to do so, he could face bankruptcy. 

This case gives a strong indication that the Court will not tolerate seriously damaging insults of this nature being published online, as jokes, or to make a point. The claimants in this case were able to prove that the defamatory allegations against them had "real world" consequences, and that the harm caused to them was felt in their real lives, not just online. 

Calling someone a paedophile is probably the worst allegation that can be made against an individual in our society. If the allegation cannot be proved by the person who makes it, they can face a claim for defamation. For most people, an award of damages at the level which Mr Fox has been ordered to pay (in addition to the costs he will have to pay) would be financially ruinous.

If you have been called a paedophile by someone online, or if you have had other damaging allegations made about you, you may well be able to bring a claim for damages. 

Contact us today to speak to an expert libel lawyer, about how we can help. 

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