Banks v Cadwalladr – High Court upholds
journalist’s public interest defence
Yesterday the High Court handed down the long-awaited judgment in the libel trial brought by
businessman Arron Banks against the investigative journalist Carole Cadwalladr.
Delivering her judgment, Mrs Justice Steyn dismissed the claim, ruling that Ms Cadwalladr’s
publications were protected by the defence of publication on a matter of public interest.
Mr Banks had been a high-profile donor to the Leave campaign during the Brexit referendum.
He brought proceedings against Ms Cadwalladr over the publication of a video recording of a
TED Talk she gave, along with a Tweet sharing the recording, in which allegations were raised
about the legitimacy of the Brexit donations made by Mr Banks.
Despite finding the allegations made against Mr Banks were not true and had caused serious
harm to his reputation, Mrs Justice Steyn nevertheless held that Ms Cadwalladr’s publications
were on matters of public interest, relating to the law governing political donations, and that
Ms Cadwalladr had a reasonable belief that publication of her statements were in the public
Additionally, the judge found that the continued publication of the TED Talk and the Tweet
had not caused serious harm to Mr Banks’s reputation.