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Tolstoy v United Kingdom

[1995] 20 EHRR 442

Case summary last updated at 17/01/2020 20:21 by the Oxbridge Notes in-house law team.

Judgement for the case Tolstoy v United Kingdom

P was successfully sued for libel when he published a pamphlet claiming that X had been involved in bad treatment of POWs. He was restricted from publishing material with “the same or similar allegations” and was made to pay damages of £1.5m. He claimed in the European Court of Human Rights that the size of the damages and the breadth of the injunction violated article 10 of the ECHR. On damages the court held that it was not “necessary in a democratic society” and was therefore contrary to article 10. The injunction did not contradict article 10. The court described “necessary” as meaning “a pressing social need”. In general damages do satisfy this (need to stop people defaming each other), but this award is disproportionate.  

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