Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog

Editor: Gerry W. Beyer
Texas Tech Univ. School of Law

Thursday, October 11, 2012

The Times Did Not Defame the Sir Elton John

Elton JohnThe High Court in England and Wales recently held that The Times newspaper did not defame Sir Elton John with the two articles that it published about the singer's taxes. More specifically, The Times wrote two articles divulging tax secrets that famous tax avoiders have allegedly used. The articles claimed that John used the services of an infamous accoutant Patrick McKenna in a tax avoidance scheme. 

The High Court ruled that the articles were not defamatory or had a defamatory meaning. Thus, the court rejected John's argument that the articles were "'severely damaging'" to his reputation. The court further reasoned that the assertions by The Times were "'so lacking any possible basis that it is obviously to be rejected.'" He concluded that this was the case because the readership of The Times is more educated and the "'hypothetical reasonable reader'" would not conclude that John was actually involved in a tax avoidance scheme.

See Josh Halliday, Elton John 'Not Libelled by Times Tax Avoidance Article', The Guardian, Oct. 10, 2012.

Special thanks to Brian Cohan (Attorney at Law, Law Offices of Brian J. Cohan, P.C.) for bringing this article to my attention.


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