Leader magazineASCL - Association of School and College Leaders

Online libel

'Flood v Times Newspapers' does not have much of a ring to it but it may be a useful case regarding unhelpful or damaging news stories.

The paper, quite properly in the view of the judge, published information about an allegation about Mr Flood as it was in the public interest. The item also went on the newspaper's website.

In the event, the allegation did not lead to any action. The judge ruled that although the newspaper was not under an obligation to publish this fact, it was under an obligation to remove the story from its web archive. This may be relevant to ASCL members where a local paper publishes a potentially defamatory allegation, against the institution or an individual, that is judged to be without foundation.

It will probably be pointless to sue for the original story because there will be a 'public interest' defence; but there is no defence for leaving the story available to a web search once it is known to be without foundation.

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