The Daily Mail has today paid £100,000 damages to Sir James and Lady Dyson and a statement in open court was read on the claimants’ behalf.
The claim brought by the Dysons against Associated Newspapers followed articles published on 12 and 13 July 2019 in which it was alleged that the Dysons made their housekeeper suddenly redundant, that she brought an unfair dismissal claim against them, and that the Dysons counterclaimed in retaliation against her which, the articles alleged, put her at risk of losing her house in the legal battle.
The Dysons issued a claim for libel on 19 July 2019 claiming that three versions of the article contained false statements and were defamatory. There was a preliminary hearing on meaning in January 2020 in which Mr Justice Nicol determined that the words complained of did contain imputations which were defamatory at common law, disagreeing with the Defendant that the allegations were statements of opinion. Nicol J held that the articles meant that the Claimants had behaved oppressively towards their former housekeeper by using their immense wealth to bring High Court proceedings against her in retaliation for her unfair dismissal claim (in fact her employment tribunal claim was brought after the Dysons civil proceedings).
The case was proceeding to trial but following the Dysons’ acceptance of an offer of amends in relation to the false claims, the case was settled and a unilateral statement in open court was read today before Mr Justice Nicklin.