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Jameel v. Wall Street Journal Europe SPRL
House of Lords
1 A.C. 359 (2006)
Shortly after the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the United States, Wall Street Journal Europe SPRL (WSJ) (defendant) wrote an article headed “Saudi Officials Monitor Certain Bank Accounts” and with a subheading “Focus Is on Those With Potential Terrorist Ties.” The article claimed that, at the behest of the United States, the Saudi government would monitor the bank accounts of prominent businessmen. The writers of the article used multiple sources and documents to verify the story. The writers tried to get a comment from the Abdul Latif Jameel Group (Jameel) (plaintiff) prior to publication, but the person answering the phone said that only the owner could give a comment and that the owner was in Japan and would not wake up prior to publication. After the story was published, Jameel sued for libel. The jury received instructions asking whether WSJ had proved the information given by the sources. A jury found in favor of Jameel, and the Court of Appeal affirmed. WSJ, arguing that it had a privilege protecting itself from such a suit, appealed to the House of Lords.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Bingham, J.)
Concurrence (Hoffman, J.)
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