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Defamation, privacy, and public statements: a warning for the Brexit debate

The High Court on Thursday 17 May accepted a statement in open court from Another Europe is Possible, an NGO campaigning against Brexit, in settlement of a defamation suit brought by Christopher Chandler, a donor to the Legatum Institute.

Another Europe is Possible had released a video accusing Mr Chandler of hypocrisy on the grounds that the Legatum Institute supported certain policies associated with a "hard Brexit" while Mr Chandler had applied for Maltese citizenship.

AEIP failed, however, to state that Mr Chandler made his application for Maltese citizenship before the Brexit referendum was announced.

This case acts as an important warning for both NGOs and individuals engaging in, what has become, an increasingly personalised and heated, Brexit debate. In a political discourse surrounded by claims of "fake news" the law of defamation can act in the political arena where facts about individuals or groups are misrepresented or offered without proper context.

All those engaging in the Brexit debate, particularly outside the established political parties, should pay special care to ensuring that claims about individuals or organisations are properly referenced and set in the proper context.

Cornerstone pupil barrister, Sam Fowles, acted for the defendant, Another Europe is Possible.

Cornerstone Barristers has a specialised Data Protection and Access to Information team, specialising in all aspects of privacy and data protection. If you have any questions about what our barristers can do please contact clerks@cornerstonebarristers.com