Katie Hopkins Twitter Defamation Case

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High Court Considers the meaning of Serious Harm in Defamation

Last week Mr Justice Warby awarded Jack Monroe damages of £24,000 in a claim she had brought against Katie Hopkins.

On 18 May 2015 Katie Hopkins, born in Barnstaple North Devon, published two tweets accusing Jack Monroe of vandalising a war memorial. The tweets also implied that Jack would approve of or condone such behaviour. 

At the time the tweets were published Katie Hopkins had over half a million followers and was writing regular columns for The Sun newspaper.

In fact, Katie Hopkins had intended to publish these tweets about another columnist, and her reference to Jack Monroe was purely a mistake. Jack Monroe offered to settle very early on for a low damages figure, which Katie Hopkins entirely ignored. 

Ms Hopkins allowed the matter to go all the way to trial, and did not appear at trial herself. Her legal team argued that serious harm had not been caused to Jack Monroe's reputation as a result of the tweets.

Judith Thompson, partner at Samuels Solicitors says: “this case is an important indicator of how the Courts will treat the requirement to prove serious harm to reputation in a defamation claim. It suggests that the threshhold for proving serious harm may not be as high as we had previously thought.This should serve as a warning to people who regularly use social media, that tweets or posts that are misdirected or harmful to somebody else’s reputation, could mean that a high price is paid if the person you are defaming decides to take action. It also suggests that an early apology could go a long way to minimise the damages which might payable as a result of a defamatory tweet or post.”

In addition to £24,000 damages, Katie Hopkins was also ordered to pay £107,000 on account of costs within 28 days. Her final legal bill is bound to be far higher however, and could easily reach £300,000.  This case illustrates how important it is to attempt to settle this type of claim at an early stage.

Samuels Solicitors are the only firm in North Devon with a niche specialism dealing with defamation claims. We have acted for many clients in cases involving both libel and slander, and have recovered significant damages for clients. 

We act on a conditional (no win no fee) basis for clients with strong defamation cases. 

Contact us for a chat about your claim. 

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