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McManus v Beckham

[2002] 1 WLR 2982

Case summary last updated at 17/01/2020 17:38 by the Oxbridge Notes in-house law team.

Judgement for the case McManus v Beckham

D entered P’s celebrity memorabilia shop and claimed to customers in the shop that the memorabilia was faked. This story was repeated in the press and P sued for defamation. D sought to strike out claims based on newspaper repetitions as being to remote. CA denied the striking out application, finding for P. It held that if D was actually (or a reasonable person would have been) aware that what he said or did was likely to be reported and that if he slandered someone that slander was likely to be repeated, there was no injustice in him being held responsible for the damage that the slander caused by means of that publication. A new publication doesn’t automatically equal Novus Actus Interveniens (NAI). 

Waller LJ said that a test of “reasonable foreseeability” was unhelpful as there may be cases where a foreseeable harm was nevertheless too remote. He suggests the test cited above (in the headnote). The law is concerned with what is just and reasonable.

Laws LJ: Reasonable foreseeability is still the underlying interest here, but the test formulated above may be used for clarity’s sake. 

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