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Watt v. Longsdon

King’s Bench
[1930] I. K.B. 130


Watt (plaintiff) was the managing director at the Casablanca, Morocco port of a British oil company. Longsdon (defendant) was a director of the company in England. Watt brought suit against Longsdon for three separate counts of defamation. The first alleged defamatory act was that Browne, the company’s manager in Casablanca, had written a letter to Longsdon alleging that Watt had failed to pay a liquor bill and had sexual relations with a mistress, and Longsdon showed the letter to Singer, the company's chairman of the board. The second alleged defamatory act was that Longsdon wrote a reply letter to Browne expressing his own negative views about Watt and requesting that Browne obtain sworn statements about the contents of Browne's letter. The third alleged defamatory act was that without receiving sworn statements from Browne, Longsdon showed Browne’s letter to Watt’s wife, who separated from Watt and then filed for divorce. The trial judge issued judgment for Longsdon, finding that the letters were privileged and that there was no evidence of malice. Watt appealed.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Scrutton, L.J.)

Concurrence (Greer, L.J.)

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