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The Costs of Socialism

Last Updated: 3rd December, 2022Labour Party social media post for Passover 2019 (including a loaf of bread)

Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership of the Labour Party 2015-2020 saw what had always been a long and disreputable minority tradition of the British left – antisemitic ideas derived from conspiratorial thinking around media and political elites and an anti-imperialist devotion to Israel-Palestine – burst out onto the national discourse. It was a long and difficult period for British Jews, suffering the obnoxious behaviour of people who seem to believe there would never be any consequences to their actions and they could say or do what they liked in the name of socialism. Only after Corbyn was forced to resign in December 2019 following the worst electoral result for Labour in 80 years, did it become possible to start picking up the pieces of the mess the Labour Party has gotten itself into.

Since 2015, piles of litigation has been brought by or against Corbyn supporters over issues relating to left-wing antisemitism.  Each stage of each legal action has been pored over for signs of whether Corbynism is winning or losing, with almost no regard to the material facts or how much money this is all costing the individuals and groups involved.

As a British Jew, it has been a vindication that antisemites have lost nearly all of the legal actions they have brought or which have been brought against them. As someone of the left, I am horrified at how much left-wing cash has been diverted from social justice to pursue or defend antisemitic interests.

I was once informed by a lawyer that one should avoid seeing the inside of a courtroom for libel at almost any cost, because as soon as you do, “everyone loses, whoever wins”. Every pound spent on these legal cases is a pound that is coming out of the pockets of socialists, trade unions, and Labour Party members up and down the country, and spaffed up the wall almost entirely on lawyers.

The nature of litigation is a sudden burst of publicity around a legal threat or a court hearing, followed by long periods of silence. People easily forget that court actions are very serious matters that do not go away because they disappeared from Twitter. If you find yourself caught up in one of these actions, you are looking at years of letters, lawyers and court hearings, with the risk of imminent financial ruin hanging over you throughout (unless you are lucky enough to be funded by Unite).

I therefore want to provide an overview of every legal action that has been brought over Labour antisemitism, the outcome, and, where possible, just how much money has been blown on this tragedy. I hope it will give people a brief pause for thought before they donate to the next round of crowdfunding appeals – or hit the publish button.

I have also included links to every crowdfunding appeal, as I believe that every pound given by supporters of these legal actions is a pound they cannot put towards anything harmful, such as actual campaigning on their political beliefs.

Costs of socialism so far: £4,751,000

This could have paid for:

The annual salary of 176 nurses

633,466 emergency three day food parcels from a foodbank

Please note that these can only be estimations using publicly available figures – costs orders rarely cover the full sum spent by victors, and losers never admit just how much litigation has really cost them.

Personal observations

11/9/22

After years of being stuck around £2 million, the total funds lost by the left over Labour antisemitism cases took a massive jump this summer by £1.1 million following Laura Murray’s spectacular loss to Rachel Riley. It’s looking likely there will be more to come. JVL, sensibly, decided to settle rather than go to trial and appear to scrabbling around for cash to pay for their second six figure lawsuit. The fundraiser for Corbyn has admitted that the £400,000 they have raised so far won’t even cover the costs of his own defence, promising another million pound lawsuit if Corbyn loses at his trial in November. Paddy French has a trial date for November and Rachel Riley’s libel suit against Mike Sivier currently awaits judgement.

The coverage surrounding the Forde report indicated that all three lawsuits involving the Labour leaked report will finally see court in 2023. Along with the expected results from the trials being heard later this year, 2023 may be the most expensive year for the left yet, three years after Corbyn stepped down as leader.

5/3/22

I created this page in 2020 as a way of archiving information on court cases I was having to fully research again whenever a new update hit the headlines. 2020 was really the high watermark for lawsuits brought by people who didn’t know what they were doing and thought it would all be over by Christmas, and no new cases from this category of litigants has been added in the last two years, with only Mark Howell still fighting for permission to appeal at the Court of Appeal. Jeremy Corbyn’s attempts to throw out the libel suit against him has failed and this is now heading to trial. The lawsuits over the Panorama documentary from 2019 have now mostly been resolved, with two remaining libel cases brought by John Ware both now heading to trial. Rachel Riley’s outstanding social media libel lawsuits are now before a costs judge and awaiting a final hearing on appeal respectively. The fallout from the Labour leaked report continues to drag in new defendants and become even messier and with all sides equipped with barristers and huge financial backing, I am not expecting that to get any easier to follow for a long time.  But the general trend is grinding slowly to a resolution.

This slow deflating of the malevolent energy of the Corbyn years is a welcome relief from what was a very difficult period. It is also having a substantial impact on the crowdfunders. All of the active fundraising appeals, for Paddy French, Mike Sivier, Jewish Voice for Labour, Left Fighting Fund, and Mark Howell have missed their fundraising targets by substantial margins. The most recent fundraiser, for JVL’s libel defence against John Ware, has only obtained pledges from 1,000 people, which is a steep fall from the heady days of 2021 when 4,000 people pitched in for their lawsuit against the Labour Party. It is worthy of note, I think, that in the last four years, the only Corbyn-aligned lawsuit that has achieved anything describing a win is Chris Williamson’s unspecified pre-action settlement with the EHRC. Any time the Corbynistas have seen the inside of a courtroom, they have lost, and in several cases, lost spectacularly.

It is also remarkable, but not surprising, that several of these cases are still at pre-trial stage years after they were first filed. The ongoing impact of the cuts to public justice are creating severe delays for lack of courtrooms and judge availability. Richard Millet’s libel suit against Jeremy Corbyn was ordered to trial in April 2021 and is still awaiting a court date nearly a year later. For the smaller litigants at much higher personal and financial risk, this must be an intolerable stress to manage. I have no respect for Laura Murray but she has been defending a lawsuit against Rachel Riley since May 2019 and is still awaiting a costs hearing. As the saying goes, “justice must not only be done, it must be seen to be done”, and I’m not seeing how much justice can be happening at this kind of pace.

A note on the EHRC report

I have been around the left since my student days, and, although it has gotten better, left-wing antisemitism has been an enduring presence. There is no question that it is real, that it is widespread, and that people who considered themselves antiracist have consistently failed to challenge it when it happens in front of them. I have written a guide for bewildered allies to identify and challenge left-wing antisemitism.

It was therefore of no surprise to me that Jeremy Corbyn, coming from a political tradition that has long co-existed happily with regular antisemitic outbursts from the likes of Ken Livingstone, George Galloway, and Ken Loach, would be oblivious to what his leadership had unleashed upon British Jews, and especially British Jews who were members of the Labour Party. What’s more remarkable is that, even when this scandal was destroying his public reputation and shaming his party year after year,  Jeremy Corbyn could not, and does not, believe that his actions are in any way a contributing factor. I have never experienced anyone so committed to their own white fragility.

The publication of the Equalities and Human Rights Commission’s investigation into the Labour Party’s attitudes towards British Jewry in October 2020 is the end of any debate over whether Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party harboured and tolerated antisemitism. It found not only had the Labour Party and its agents done so, but that it had done so to the extent that it had broken the law. The EHRC didn’t even look at the tens of thousands of left-wing people who are beyond their reach, but who continue to downplay, deny and distort the very real problem of left-wing antisemitism.

Jeremy Corbyn’s response, to release a statement repeating the same denials and refusing to accept some of the findings of the EHRC’s report, all minutes before Keir Starmer’s press conference accepting the findings in full, was crass in the extreme. On the morning of publication, having watched the press conference, I posted to Facebook to say that I didn’t see how, given the circumstances, Jeremy Corbyn could avoid being suspended from the Labour Party pending an investigation, if the Labour Party were serious about handling complaints properly in the future. I wasn’t expecting it to happen three hours later. Jeremy Corbyn jumped straight into that well, feet first.

Oz Katerji’s excellent podcast, Corbyn: The Post-Mortem has a special episode on the EHRC findings and the subsequent suspension of Jeremy Corbyn from the Labour Party, which I recommend for an overview of what really happened. The NEC panel subsequently unanimously found Jeremy Corbyn guilty of bringing the Labour Party into disrepute and sanctioned him, and Keir Starmer refused to restore the parliamentary whip. Where this sad story will go next, I have no idea, but Corbyn has an outraged following talking loudly about lawsuits and willing to dig deep to fund any legal defence. It’s all just more cash down the drain, as far as I am concerned.

Ongoing Legal Actions

Jeremy Corbyn vs the Labour Party - £Unknown (Update: 25/1/22)

After having the whip withdrawn, Jeremy Corbyn ignored Nick Brown’s request for a full apology to the Jewish community and lawyered up instead.

In January 2021, Corbyn’s legal team filed for a pre-action disclosure of the correspondence that they claim will prove there was a deal with Starmer’s LOTO to rescind the whip in return for a bunch of things that Jeremy Corbyn also hasn’t done. Labour argued that there was no deal and such documents do not exist. The judge dismissed the claim, and Labour have stated they intend to seek their costs.

We await further information on Jeremy Corbyn’s proposed legal action, although a year on, it doesn’t appear forthcoming. A Guardian article in October 2021 stated that Jeremy Corbyn is allegedly still considering filing a claim.

In November 2021, I filed a request with the High Court to obtain any costs orders arising from this action, which are a matter of public record, but was informed that as the lawsuit has only progress as far as a pre-action application, these are not available to the public.

In January 2022, Corbyn’s allies put a motion to the Labour National Executive Committee to try to reinstate the whip, which failed, and further implied that Jeremy Corbyn has given up on pursuing legal remedies. I will wait until the Islington North candidate selection is complete to close this case. This may take some time, as the seat will be kept open for Corbyn in case the whip is restored, so it is unlikely that anything will occur with this until the next general election is called.

The Guardian (October 2021) Labour spending more on legal battles than campaigning, say sources

The Guardian (January 2021) Court rejects Corbyn disclosure claim in Labour suspension battle

Bailli.org (January 2021) Corbyn v Evans [2021] EWHC 130 (QB)

Rachel Riley vs Mike Sivier - £289,000+ (Update: 3/12/22)

Mike Sivier, a Corbyn outrider who runs a blog called Vox Political, is being sued for libel by Rachel Riley, a television presenter, over allegations he made relating to the teenager mentioned in Rachel Riley and Tracey-Ann Oberman vs Jane Heybroek (see Concluded Legal Proceedings).

In a pre-trial hearing, Mr Justice Nicklin ruled that parts of Mr Sivier’s article “Serial abuser Rachel Riley to receive ‘extra protection’— on grounds that she is receiving abuse” could be considered defamatory and ordered the case to proceed to trial.

In January 2021, Mike Sivier’s entire defence was struck out on application. He was granted permission to appeal, which was heard at the Court of Appeal in May 2021. The court judgement dismissed two of the three grounds appealed but overturned the judgement on the grounds of public interest.

Unusually, despite the application to strike out the defence failing, Rachel Riley was awarded costs of £3000 against Mr Sivier.

The case proceeded to trial on the basis of a public interest defence. I must be clear that I am not a lawyer, and my interest in libel law was involuntarily earned from having had to defend myself against a libel claim in 2013. But it does seem to me that Mike Sivier must have surely have been given a realistic assessment of the situation by his lawyers. Which to my mind, having watched the entire Court of Appeal hearing because I am a massive nerd, is that Mike Sivier’s case was lost in January 2021 and the *only* reason that he has been given an opportunity to proceed to trial is because the judges felt that it was important that public interest defences should be heard in public and not decided summarily. If you watch the video, one of the judges comments that he doesn’t think it would take more than half a day to deal with and is worth doing to avoid setting a precedent. This is not the commentary of someone who expects a realistic prospect of success at trial, in my view.

Anyway, I comment on this because out of all of these cases, Sivier has put up the most spirited defence, and crowdfunded one of the highest price tags, which given his relatively obscure status as some guy who runs a blog that seems to have very limited readership, is worthy of respect. Only Jeremy Corbyn himself has managed to raise a larger sum to fritter away on libel lawyers on a point of principle. However, this also raises the stakes substantially – if Mike Sivier is spending £200,000 on lawyers, that means Rachel Riley has spent £200,000 on lawyers, and Mike Sivier doesn’t have After the Event Insurance. If he doesn’t crowdfund enough to pay for his lawyers, he loses the case. If he loses this case, he loses his house and goes bankrupt. Mike Sivier is a piece of work suffering the consequences of shitposting masquerading as journalism, but that is not an emotional and financial strain that I would wish on anyone. I suspect that this is why he posts such hopeful (and regular) updates about the progress of the case: at this point, he simply cannot afford to do anything else. But I must warn everyone who reads them that I think Mr Sivier’s legal commentary is highly coloured by the change he wants to see and I would not draw insight into the legal process from what he says.

Mr Sivier finally got his day in court over three days in July 2022. He posted to his crowdfunder afterwards that he thought the likely outcome would be an appeal to the Court of Appeal, whichever way the case went. In November 2022, judgement was handed down – Mr Sivier was found to have labelled Rachel Riley and ordered to pay damages of £50,000, costs to be assessed, and was issued with an injunction forbidding him from repeating the libel. This obliged Mr Sivier to delete all of his previous updates to the fundraiser and he is now calling for £7,200 to fund an appeal to the Court of Appeal.

Help Mike Sivier fight libel claim by Rachel Riley & Tracy-Ann Oberman: https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/mike-sivier-libel-fight/

Bailli.org (November 2022) Riley v Sivier [2022] EWHC 2891 (KB) 

5RB (November 2022): Rachel Riley awarded £50,000 libel damages

Bailli.org (May 2021): Sivier v Riley [2021] EWCA Civ 713 

Court of Appeal hearing (27/4/21): Livestream

Jewish Chronicle (January 2021) Rachel Riley wins libel case against blogger who said she was a ‘serial abuser’

Bailli.org (January 2021) Riley vs Sivier [2021] EWHC 79 (QB)

Jewish News (December 2019), Judge examines Rachel Riley libel claim

John Ware vs Paddy French and Press Gang - £205,000+ (Update: 3/12/22)

Paddy French, a Corbyn outrider, and his outfit Press Gang are being sued for libel by John Ware over their statements regarding the Panorama documentary in a pamplet, “Is The BBC Anti-Labour? — Panorama’s Biased Anti-Semitism Reporting: A Case To Answer”. John Ware is claiming £50k in damages.

Paddy French estimated that he would need £750,000 to pay for his defence – he has raised £70,000 from private donors and crowdfunded a further £40k. Press Gang lost the pre-trial hearing in February 2021.It is not entirely unclear what happened next – a May 2021 article in Press Gazette disclosed that a defence had been filed by Matrix Chambers (and disclosing all of its details, which would seem… unwise). Tony Greenstein stated in July 2021 on his own crowdfunder (see Dishonorable Mentions below) that he was writing an appeal on behalf of Paddy French, but what the appeal is against was unknown. Mr Greenstein commented on his fundraiser, “it is important that people help Paddy because unlike me he owns his own house”, which would imply things are not looking good for Mr French.

Paddy French’s fundraiser was updated in June 2022 to state that a court date had been set for 7th November.

In July, he updated: “The judge in this case has decided that the Press Gang article meant that “Mr Ware is a rogue journalist who had engaged in dirty tricks aimed at harming the Labour Party’s chances of winning at the General Election by authoring and presenting an edition of Panorama in which he presented a biased and knowingly false presentation of the extent and nature of anti-Semitism within the party, deliberately ignoring contrary evidence.” This was not what I meant to convey in the article so I have amended my defence to withdraw the truth defence. However, I still strongly believe that it was in the public interest to publish and I will continue to defend the case on this basis.”

In October, Paddy French posted another message to the fundraiser stating that he was now representing himself as a litigant-in-person. A couple of weeks after that, he posted a message stating that he had decided that due to new information that had come to light supporting his original statements, including the Forde Report and the Al Jazeera documentary: “These developments mean that Ware v French has become less and less relevant. As a result, I have decided to withdraw from the case and will take no further part in the proceedings.”

This is quite surprising because, as John Ware’s lawyer Mark Lewis put it to the Press Gazette, “It would not be appropriate to comment as the trial is about to start. There is no recognisable legal concept of a defendant unilaterally withdrawing from a case.” The trial began on Monday 7th November as listed. A month later, judgement was handed down and Mr French was found to have libelled John Ware and ordered to pay aggravated damages of £90,000 in light of his behaviour regarding the case. Mr Ware was also awarded his costs and a permanent injunction to prevent Mr French from repeating his libels. It was also disclosed in that judgement that Paddy French was ordered to pay costs of £15,000 to John Ware following the pre-trial hearing.

However, unlike Mike Sivier, who immediately took down all of the words complained off following the injunction. Paddy French has simply posted the outcome of the case and made no effort to comply with the injunction or negotiate on costs. I can also presume he is relying on the fact that he lives in the south of France to somehow protect him. We shall see. I will leave the case open while we await ideas of final costs.

Bailli.org (December 2022) Ware v French [2022] EWHC 3030 (KB) 

Jewish Chronicle (December 2022) ‘Record’ damages for Panorama journalist John Ware in libel suit

First crowdfunder: Weʼre raising £100,000 to defend a libel action brought by BBC Panorama reporter John Ware

Current crowdfunder: Weʼre raising £75,000 to fight Ware v French libel action

Press Gazette (October 2022) Paddy French ‘withdraws’ from John Ware libel case but trial will go ahead

Bailli.org (February 2021) Ware v French 2021 EWHC 384 (QB)

Press Gang (April 2020), JOHN WARE v PRESS GANG

Press Gazette (May 2021) Paddy French says ‘rogue journalist’ report about John Ware was ‘measured and responsible’

John Ware vs Naomi Wimbourne-Idrissi, Richard Kuper, and Jewish Voice for Labour - £68,000+ (Update: 3/11/22)

“Court papers filed earlier this month confirm that Mr Ware is pursuing action against JVL Ltd, the group’s founder member Naomi Wimbourne-Idrissi and web officer Richard Kuper over comments made in relation to last year’s BBC Panorama programme Is Labour Antisemitic?

The action centres on alleged defamatory comments made by Ms Wimbourne-Idrissi in a radio interview. During the discussion she claimed Mr Ware had a “terrible record of Islamophobia, far-right politics” and that he had been disciplined by the BBC, which had had to “apologise” for the veteran reporter’s journalism.

Mr Ware denies all of these claims, which were repeated in an article published on the JVL website.

JVL confirmed they were “defending” a libel action against two its officers in a statement this week, adding they had “been advised by our lawyers not to make further comment about the issues in contention.”

Jewish Chronicle (July 2020), Pro-Corbyn group Jewish Voice for Labour being sued for libel

Paddy French at Press Gang (see above) has disclosed that John Ware is seeking £80k in damages.

After complete silence from all parties for more than a year, which had me wondering whether to remove this case or not, a preliminary judgement on the issues was published in August 2021. The defendants argued that they were just expressing their opinion that Mr Ware is a racist Islamophobe involved in far-right politics, and the judge ruled that these comments were plainly made as statements of fact. The case now proceeds to trial.

JVL announced on their crowdfunder that their defence was filed at the end of October 2021. By July 2022, they had raised £41k of their £75k target. I did take a look at the company accounts for JVL to establish whether they actually had any money and records show that as a consequence of the pandemic and thus the suspension of all of their in-person campaigning, they actually have £50,000 in liquid funds, which is sufficient to pay for a defence if you win and will mean bankruptcy if you don’t. High stakes.

In July 2022, JVL updated their crowdfunder to indicate that a costs case management conference was held in June, and that they had now applied for summary judgement:

Since the last update we – and our excellent legal team – have been very busy preparing our defence case and have submitted lengthy witness statements as part of an application for summary judgement to end the entire case by Ware against us.

In October 2021 we submitted our defence of a “privileged right of reply to attack” in response to the very public attacks contained in the Panorama Programme against our members, the Labour Party and Jeremy Corbyn.

..

Ware’s lawyers replied in January 2022 and, inevitably, rejected our defence.

Our lawyers, therefore, have now submitted an application to the court for summary judgement on the basis that the Claimant has no real prospect of overcoming the defence of reply to attack privilege, so there is no other reason for a trial. 

Our application for summary judgement to dispose of Ware’s claim has yet to be heard and we do not yet have a date for the hearing.

In September 2022, JVL announced that following mediation, they had agreed a settlement with John Ware and that they would be issuing an apology to him in open court next month. The terms of the settlement have not been disclosed, but the crowdfunder target was increased to £200,000 and JVL also claimed to have a donor who had agreed to match any donations up to £50,000. The crowdfunder has, as of November 2022, risen from £48k to £68k.

I will close this case once we have some indication as to final costs.

Crowdfunder: Libel Case Against Naomi Wimborne-Idrissi and Jewish Voice for Labour

Jewish News (September 2022), Jewish Voice For Labour settles and apologises in John Ware libel case

Jewish Chronicle (August 2021), John Ware prevails in first stage of libel case against JVL members

Bailli.org (August 2021) Ware v Wimborne-Idrissi & Ors [2021] EWHC 2296 (QB)

27 individuals (Patron Law) vs the Labour Party - £120,000+ (Update: 11/9/22)

The Labour Party is being sued by 27 individuals represented by Mark Lewis of Patron Laws on grounds including data protection breaches and libels relating to the Labour leaked report on antisemitism.

In February 2021, Emily Oldknow, one of the named individual in the Labour leaked report on antisemitism, filed for a Norwich Pharmacal Order against the Labour Party to require them to disclose information they hold on the identity of the leakers. Five anonymous individuals represented by Carter Ruck lawyers funded by Unite attempted to intervene in the case on the grounds that this disclosure might be a breach of their own privacy (one may presume that this is because they are the leakers – the Oldknow judgement revealed there are two leakers and three others who had pre-knowledge of it). Their request was denied. However, the judge ruled that Unite itself could file as a party to the claim.

In March 2021, Mrs Justice Tipples dismissed the case on the grounds that it was a potential breach of the rights of the individuals whose names are sought if they later turn out to be innocent. Oldknow has stated her intention to appeal the order. An application for permission to appeal was filed on the 16th July, and was listed for January 2022, but this does not seem to have occurred. (this link has now become defunct): Summary Case Details for 20210578. Alex Nunns reported in 2021 that total costs for this applications were £120,000, of which £80k were the costs of Labour Party/Unite.

Please see below The Labour Party vs Seumas Milne, Karie Murphy, Georgie Robertson, Laura Murray and Harry Hayball for related case information, as these cases are linked.

The Guardian reported as part of its coverage of the release of the Forde report that this case remains ongoing.

The Guardian (July 2022), What is the Forde report on the Labour party – and why has it taken so long?

Carter-Ruck (October 2021) Seumas Milne, Karie Murphy, Georgie Robertson, Laura Murray and Harry Hayball – The Labour Party

The Guardian (October 2021) Labour spending more on legal battles than campaigning, say sources

Jewish News (April 2021) Ex-staffer sues Labour for defamation over leaked antisemitism report

Baillii (March 2021) Oldknow v Evans [2021] EWHC 1028 (QB)

LabourList (February 2021) Judgment in court case between ex-staffer and Labour delayed

Labour List (July 2020) Former general secretary Iain McNicol to sue over leaked antisemitism report

9 individuals (3D solicitors) vs the Labour Party - £? (Update: 11/9/22)

The Labour Party is also being sued by 9 individuals represented by 3D Solicitors for data protection breaches and invasion of privacy claims related to the Labour leaked report on antisemitism. We have no further information on the progress in this case.

It was, however, confirmed in October 2021 by The Guardian that this legal action is now underway.

The Guardian reported as part of its coverage of the release of the Forde report that this case remains ongoing as of July 2022.

The Guardian (July 2022), What is the Forde report on the Labour party – and why has it taken so long?

The Guardian (October 2021) Labour spending more on legal battles than campaigning, say sources

The Guardian (July 2020), Antisemitism: Labour warns of cash crisis as cases grow

The Labour Party vs Seumas Milne, Karie Murphy, Georgie Robertson, Laura Murray and Harry Hayball - £? (Update: 11/9/22)

In a fascinating turn of events, the five alleged leakers party to the Emilie Oldknow case (above), after availing themselves of who knows how much money from the coffers of Unite to pay Carter Ruck to keep their identities anonymous, decided to pre-emptively disclose their own identities before the Labour Party could do so, presumably in their defence to Emilie Oldknow’s appeal regarding the Norwich Pharmacal Order (see above).

Seumas Milne, Karie Murphy, Georgie Robertson, Laura Murray and Harry Hayball released a statement through their lawyers denouncing the Labour Party for naming them, and stating that the Labour Party is trying to claim costs against them for the Oldknow action and is bringing a separate claim directly against them.

The five also promised to defend themselves vigorously and in other outlets, even threatened to counter-sue. Unite has allegedly continued to finance these actions, putting the Labour Party in the absurd position of spending millions of pounds on legal fees in court cases brought against it by its biggest single donor.

In March 2022, a mysterious article in the BBC appeared stating that the Labour Party had indeed brought a legal action against the five seeking to hold them liable for the damages and costs incurred by the leaked report, which they are defending by claiming that actually, 12 other people including Jeremy Corbyn had access to the report and could have leaked it (what I call the Rebecca Vardy defence). The timing of this article being the day before a proposed court date for Emilie Oldknow’s appeal for the Norwich Pharmacal order would imply that all of these actions are related and being heard together, but it is very unclear what is happening.

The Guardian reported as part of its coverage of the release of the Forde report that this case remains ongoing as of July 2022, and that a prospective court date is now not likely until 2023.

The Guardian (July 2022), What is the Forde report on the Labour party – and why has it taken so long?

BBC (March 2022) “Labour anti-Semitism: Ex-staff raise fresh questions over report leak

Carter-Ruck (October 2021) Seumas Milne, Karie Murphy, Georgie Robertson, Laura Murray and Harry Hayball – The Labour Party

The Guardian (October 2021) Labour spending more on legal battles than campaigning, say sources

Ken Livingstone and Pam Bromley vs the EHRC - £45,000+ (Update: 3/11/22)

Backed by Chris Williamson’s Left Fighting Fund, Ken Livingstone and Pat Bromley, two individuals named in the EHRC report on antisemitism in the Labour Party. The nature of the legal action intended is unspecified, and the Left Fighting Fund after about eight months stuck at £20k, the fund dropped its target from £40k to £30k. By mid-2021, the fund had risen to £30k, and the target raised to £45k. As of June 2022, the fund has reached £38k, and the target has been raised to £80k. By November 2022, it has risen to £45k.

Support Ken and Pam: https://www.fightingfund.org/kenandpam

Mark Howell vs the Labour Party and Ian McNichol - £85,000+ (Update: 11/9/22)

Mark Howell, a Labour Party member, brought a claim against the Labour Party and Ian McNicol (General Secretary at the time) for breach of contract relating to the allegations that Labour Party officials deliberately undermined the Party’s 2017 election campaign to benefit the Labour right.

Mark Howell represented himself in the first round of preliminary hearings on the 19th June, lost, and was ordered to pay £23k in costs, which represents half of what the Labour Party spent on defending the case.

On the 30th July 2020, Court struck out the claim entirely as being “totally without merit” and awarded costs to the Labour Party. Mark Howell hired lawyers and filed an appeal at the Court of Appeal. The Court of Appeal has stayed a order for costs pending further arguments.

(In English, Mark Howell lost his case and been ordered to pay the Labour Party’s costs, and is trying to appeal. Mark Howell was made bankrupt in March 2019.)

On the 11th September 2020, Mrs Justice Tipples issued a Civil Restraint Order against Mark Howell prohibiting him from filing any more legal claims.

It’s difficult to follow what exactly is happening with this case because it appears to be happening in case management conferences and applications considered on the papers, and Mr Howell’s updates betray a lack of understanding of the law. However, it seems that in May 2021, the Court of Appeal threw out another aspect of the appeal, and ordered that Mr Howell pay another £10,000 in costs, which he is currently appealing. A final hearing on the full case is still pending.

In February 2022, Mr Howell posted an update to his crowdfunder attaching a summary of his case, a letter to the the Lord Chancellor, and a podcast episode explaining his position. Mr Howell confirmed that his appeal has been considered by three High Court justices, all of whom have refused him permission to appeal, which he considered improper. He has therefore written letters to the Master of the Rolls and the Lord Chancellor essentially alleging a conspiracy against him and a deliberate misapplication of the law and unintentional legal errors (he has outlined 39 of them).

In the podcast, Mr Howell explained that he has spent all of the £25,000 he has raised from the crowdfunder on his own legal expenses, of which £2,000 remains. He has three costs orders against him, none of which have yet been paid.

The purpose of these documents and podcast appears to be to support fundraising efforts – Mr Howell has stated that he requires another £23,000 to see the case through.  The fundraiser currently stands at £900.

Mark Howell for Justice: https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/mark-howell-for-justice/

Mark Howell (February 2022) Podcast on 2017 general election

John Brace.com  (June 2020) Labour Party ask the Hon. Mrs Justice Jennifer Eady DBE to keep report titled “The work of the Labour Party’s Governance and Legal Unit in relation to antisemitism 2014-2019” confidential and for 70% of their legal costs

Balii.org (June 2020), Howell v Evans and McNicol 2020 EWHC 2070 QB

Bailii.org (September 2020), Howell v Evans and McNicol 2020 EWHC 2729 QB

 

Concluded Legal Proceedings

Organised by reverse chronological order of the last update. 

Richard Millett vs Jeremy Corbyn - £1.1 million (2018-2022)

In 2013, Jeremy Corbyn hosted a talk by the Palestinian Ambassador in which he was heckled by two men. Corbyn commented on this a few days later by making his now infamous statement that these “Zionists” “clearly have two problems. One is they don’t want to study history, and secondly, having lived in this country for a very long time, probably all their lives, they don’t understand English irony either”. When a recording of these comments came to light in 2018, Jeremy Corbyn went on the BBC to defend himself, and proceeded to make other statements about how disruptive the two attendees had been. The media then sought to identify those men and spread Corbyn’s allegations widely.

One of the men was Richard Millett, who sued Jeremy Corbyn for libel.

Unite were funding Corbyn’s defence, but it would appear he is now relying on the proceeds from a crowdfunder set up in his name.

In preliminary hearings in July 2020, Mr Justice Saini ruled against Corbyn’s legal defence that Mr Millett was not identifiable, and further ruled that the comments were defamatory.

Jeremy Corbyn appealed against this ruling, and lost at the Court of Appeal in April 2021.

The crowdfunder released an update in July 2022 to say that a date had been set for trial on the 10th October and is timetabled to run for three weeks.

On the 2nd September, the crowdfunder was updated to say that Corbyn’s legal advisers had been in touch and the costs of his defence alone would be greater than the amount of the fund had raised so far. Another £20k was raised.

Two weeks before the trail was due to start, the parties agreed a settlement and released the following statement:

“The libel claim brought by Richard Millett against the Rt Hon Jeremy Corbyn MP has been settled. Mr Corbyn has paid no damages, has made no apology and has given no undertakings concerning repetition of the words complained of. No costs have been paid by either party to the other as part of this settlement save in respect of an outstanding Order of the Court of Appeal from April 2021.

Neither party will be making any other comment about the case.”

As each side will be bearing their own costs, we should have some indication from the crowdfunder as to Jeremy Corbyn’s costs.

On the 2nd November, the crowdfunder released another update, stating that Jeremy Corbyn’s costs amounted to an additional £775,000:

The total bill was originally in the region of £1,477,000. Jeremy has managed to negotiate fees charged by the lawyers but he remains liable for £900,026. We have already paid some of Jeremy’s bills in full, together with a portion of those remaining but that still leaves Jeremy having to raise a further £775,000 for the outstanding amount, including potential corporation tax.

Like me you are probably quite shocked at these costs and I believe it highlights how libel laws have, and are being used to batter down anyone without the resources to cover costs such as these. Jeremy being a case in point.

In the current financial climate it would be unreasonable to expect you, our lovely donors, to raise such a huge additional amount. We have had some discussions with Jeremy however, and he is arranging for a team of experienced fundraisers to help raise additional funds. I will let you know more when further details become available.

At the time of the update, the fundraiser stood at £400,000 – looking at the numbers provided, it would seem that the total costs paid by Jeremy Corbyn relating to the initial hearing and then the lost appeal (he would have had to have paid costs to Richard Millett in addition to his own lawyers) amounted to somewhere in the region of £250,000.

These are absolutely shocking figures for a case that never even went to trial, and I don’t think anyone looking at this can fail to see why defendants are always advised to settle even if they have a good defence.

Jeremy’s Legal Fund: https://uk.gofundme.com/f/47gyy-jeremy039s-legal-fund

Jewish News (April 2021), Corbyn fails in bid to overturn ruling after being sued by Israel activist

Court of Appeal hearing (16-17/3/21 livestream): Part 1 Part 2

Baillii (20th April, 2021) Corbyn v Millett [2021] EWCA Civ 567

Jewish Chronicle (July 2020), “Pro-Israel activist Richard Millett wins first stage of High Court libel case against Jeremy Corbyn

5RB (10th July, 2020), Millett v Corbyn 2020 EWHC 1848 QB

Rachel Riley vs Laura Murray - £1.1 million (2019-2022)

Laura Murray (a senior aide of Jeremy Corbyn, and later, Head of Complaints for the Labour Party) is being sued for libel by Rachel Riley for alleging that she supported violence against Jeremy Corbyn.

“Riley is suing Laura Murray over a message posted a short time after the former Labour leader was hit by eggs thrown by a Brexit supporter during a visit to Finsbury Park mosque on 3 March 2019.

Shortly after the incident, the 34-year-old TV presenter tweeted a picture of an earlier tweet by Guardian columnist Owen Jones about an attack on former British National party leader Nick Griffin, in which Jones said: “I think sound life advice is, if you don’t want eggs thrown at you, don’t be a Nazi.”

On 3 March, Riley replied, “Good advice”, with an emoji of a red rose and an egg. Later that day, Murray tweeted: “Today Jeremy Corbyn went to his local mosque for Visit My Mosque Day, and was attacked by a Brexiteer. Rachel Riley tweets that Corbyn deserves to be violently attacked because he is a Nazi. This woman is as dangerous as she is stupid. Nobody should engage with her. Ever.””

In April 2020, Mr Justice Nicklin ruled that the words used were plainly defamatory at common law.

This case was heard at the High Court in May 2021 before Mr Justice Nicklin, and judgement handed down in December 2021. Laura Murray was found to have defamed Rachel Riley and damages were fixed at £10,000. Rachel Riley’s costs are said by Novara Media to be £1.1million.

Laura Murray was given permission to appeal and this was heard in July 2022. Her appeal was dismissed in August.

Novara Media (July 2022) Corbyn Staffer Takes Fight Against ‘Lawfare’ to Court of Appeal

5rd (July 2022) Appeal in Riley v Murray

Evening Standard (May 2021) Rachel Riley waits for ruling in libel damages fight against former Corbyn aide 

The Guardian (April 2020), Rachel Riley wins first round of court case against Corbyn aide

Baillii, (24th April, 2020), Riley v Murray 2020 EWHC 977 QB 

5RB (December 2021), Rachel Riley wins libel action against Laura Murray

Baillii (20th December, 2021) Riley v Murray [2021] EWHC 3437 (QB)

Laura Murray vs Austin Nichols and The Telegraph - £40,000 (2021-2022)

In December 2021, Lord Austin, a former Labour MP who resigned over Labour antisemitism, published a column in The Telegraph attacking Laura Murray following her loss in Riley v Murray (see above). Laura Murray sued for defamation and seemingly obtained a settlement following pre-trial hearings. The Telegraph and Ian Austin apologised in a statement that is posted below (as it is behind a paywall) and agreed to pay £40,000 in damages.

Image

I ummed and aahed about whether to add this case as the costs involved were paid by the right, but it is only fair that Laura Murray should have credit where it is due. I have put the costs in italics and have not added them to the total above.

The Telegraph (March 2022): “Laura Murray: Apology”

The Guardian (March 2022): “Telegraph apologises for claim former Corbyn aide was ‘anti-Jewish racist’

John Ware and the Panorama whistleblowers vs Jeremy Corbyn - £? (2020-2021)

Following the settlement of John Ware and the Panorama Whistleblowers vs the Labour Party (see Concluded Legal Proceedings below), Jeremy Corbyn issued a statement that

“The party’s decision to apologise today and make substantial payments to former staff who sued the party in relation to last year’s Panorama programme is a political decision, not a legal one.

“Our legal advice was that the party had a strong defence, and the evidence in the leaked Labour report that is now the subject of an NEC inquiry led by Martin Forde QC strengthened concerns about the role played by some of those who took part in the programme.

“The decision to settle these claims in this way is disappointing, and risks giving credibility to misleading and inaccurate allegations about action taken to tackle anti-Semitism in the Labour Party in recent years.”

“Mark Lewis, of Patron Law, confirmed he was representing  the journalist John Ware in the legal action. Some of the antisemitism whistle-blowers have also joined the action.

Mr Lewis said: “I confirm I have been instructed to pursue cases.””

Jewish Chronicle (July 2020), “Jeremy Corbyn sued by antisemitism whistle-blowers and journalist Ware

It is unclear whether legal action proceeded in this case. Carole Morgan, the host of Jeremy’s Legal Fund, stated in a 28th June update that John Ware has until the 22nd July to file the libel suit, but until November 2021 to actually serve the papers. An October update claimed that the deadline had passed to file the claim.

Jeremy’s Legal Fund: https://uk.gofundme.com/f/47gyy-jeremy039s-legal-fund

Labour Activists 4 Justice vs the Labour Party - £320,000 (2020-2021)

Legal action on behalf of six Labour Party members accused of antisemitism challenging Labour Party complaints procedures. In their words:

  • The applicants were judged by the Party using an unpublished code of conduct.  It was unfair to judge people according to a code they had not seen.
  • The EHRC had condemned the disciplinary system and suggested it was unfair.  The party had accepted the findings and agreed to implement all the changes identified.  Since these had not as yet been implemented, it was unfair for the claimants to be judged under a system condemned by the EHRC. People will remember that the EHRC found that respondents received particularly unfair treatment.
  • The confidentiality clause was unfair to the claimants in that it prevented them from getting support and advising colleagues as to their situation.

In February 2021, LA4J won a pre-trial motion to add two additional parties to the case and Labour had their application for a preliminary hearing refused. The Labour Party was ordered to pay £25,000 in costs and had their own costs of £50,000. LA4J subsequently revealed that this was only half of their costs incurred.

The case was heard in June 2021, and the entire action was dismissed.

Costs were awarded to the Labour Party at 70%, coming to £110,000. It may be inferred from the update on the crowd fundraiser that LA4J themselves incurred costs of £70,000.

Labour Party total costs: £200,000

LA4J total costs: £120,000

Costs paid by the Labour Party: £100,000

Costs paid by Labour Activists for Justice: £205,000

This is an illustrative example that, contrary to popular belief, if you initiate or are subject to legal action, it is not a zero sum game where the winner gets away without having to spend a penny.

Given the crowd fundraiser has only raised a little over £100,000 so far, this may be the case that finally persuades the left to stop being quite so gungho with their lawsuits now someone somewhere is going to be paying for them.

JUSTICE FOR ALL LABOUR PARTY MEMBERS: https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/justice-4-labour-party-members/

Bailli (July 2021), Nelson & Ors v Evans [2021] EWHC 1909 (QB)

Matrix Law (July 2021), High Court Dismisses Claims Against The Labour Party’s Disciplinary Process

Jewish Chronicle (July 2021), Activists suspended over antisemitism allegations lose court challenge against Labour 

Tony Greenstein v Josh Jones - £20,000 (2017-2021)

In April 2018, Tony Greenstein, a notorious antisemite who has been expelled from the Labour Party for anitsemitism, sued a Labour councillor for Dartford for libel after allegedly calling him a Holocaust denier at a Labour Party meeting the previous year. The case was dismissed, and Mr Jones sought his costs, only to discover that Mr Greenstein lives on benefits and had no ability to pay. He therefore launched a crowd fundraiser to meet his costs and raised the full amount within four days.

Mr Greenstein noted on his own blog that he had incurred no costs himself, having taken out the case as a litigant-in-person with pro bono assistance from a barrister.

Challenging Antisemitism in the Labour Party: https://www.gofundme.com/f/joshs-legal-costs-following-antisemitism-case

Josh Jones on Twitter (June 2021), Thread: In 2018 I seconded a motion deploring Labour’s handling of antisemitism. Tony Greenstein took me the High Court claiming slander.

Jewish Chronicle (June 2021), Fury over £20k bill after failed Greenstein lawsuit

Kent Online (June 2021), Former Dartford councillor crowdfunds £20,000 costs defending failed libel case with backing of Countdown star Rachel Riley

Tony Greenstein (June 2021) 2 Years Ago I Sued Dartford Councillor Josh Jones for Slander for Accusing Me of Being a Holocaust Denier – I Lost on a Legal Technicality – However Jones was Landed With £20,000 Costs!

? vs Esther - £6,000 (2021)

An anonymised libel case brought by Zionists unknown against an individual who posted comments on Twitter that have apparently landed them in very hot water. Supported by the Left Legal Fighting Fund, who raised £6,000. This appeal was created at the beginning of 2021 and then disappeared from the website without comment. It is unknown what happened to the case, or the funds raised.

Support Esther: https://www.fightingfund.org/esther

John Ware and the Panorama Whistleblowers vs the Labour Party - £750,000 (2019-2020)

“Labour had been sued for defamation by the eight individuals following the broadcast of the BBC Panorama, Is Labour Anti-Semitic?, that had been aired in July last year and had investigated how antisemitism in the party was handled under Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership.

In statements read out before Mr Justice Nicklin, in Court 37 of the Queens Bench Division in the High Court, it was detailed  how the whistle-blowers  “had concerns there was a lack of commitment by the Labour Party in the proper and effective investigation of antisemitism within the party and the consequential application of measures to root out antisemitism within the party.”

The statement was read out in court by William Bennet QC.

But both before and after the programme was broadcast Labour had issued “defamatory and false allegations.”

One Labour press release said the seven “have always opposed Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership, worked to actively undermine it, and have both personal and political axes to grind. This throws into doubt their credibility as sources”.

One of the whistle-blowers was accused of making a false and malicious statement.

Among the news outlets that republished these false allegations were the BBC, Sky News, The Times, The Daily Mirror, The Daily Mail, The Sun, The Independent and The Guardian, as well as many Jeremy Corbyn-supporting blogs and websites including The Canary, Skwawkbox and Novara Media, and many individuals on social media platforms including Facebook and Twitter.

Confirming that the BBC Panorama , which has subsequently been nominated for  BAFTA award, was strongly critical of the Jeremy Corbyn-led party’s response to antisemitism, the statement said  Labour had “falsely accused”  Mr Ware of “deliberate and malicious misrepresentations designed to mislead the public” prior to it being broadcast.

It then published further statements attacking him after it was screened.

Lawyers for Labour said they  accepted that allegations made in press release issued by the party  that Mr Ware had “invented quotes, flouted journalistic ethics” and had “knowingly promoted falsehoods, including by misrepresentations of fact and, by fabricating facts” were defamatory of the experienced journalist.

“All these allegations are false and the Labour Party unreservedly withdraws these allegations and is profoundly sorry for the distress caused by their publication and republication,” said the statement.

“ The Defendant is here today to set the record straight and to apologise unreservedly to Mr Ware for the distress and embarrassment that the publication of the false allegations have caused him and for the damage that has been caused to his reputation. “

Reports suggest the settlement has cost the Labour party between £600,000 and £750,000, with about £200,000 in damages agreed for the eight individuals.”

Jewish Chronicle (July 2020), Labour apologises to whistleblowers and Ware

Chris Williamson vs the EHRC - £30,000 (2020)

In summer of 2020, Chris Williamson crowdfunded £30,000 for legal action against the Equalities and Human Rights Commission because he had been named in the EHRC draft report on antisemitism in the Labour Party.

The outcome of this was never made public, but as the final EHRC report basically didn’t mention him, one would imagine the “correspondence”, as he put it, was successful.

EHRC Response Fund: https://campaignforchris.nationbuilder.com/ehrc

David Collier, Rachel Riley and Tracey-Ann Oberman vs Daniel Bennett - £250,000 (2020)

Daniel Bennett, a Corbyn outrider who ran the Harry Tuttle Twitter account, was subject of a libel case brought by David Collier, Rachel Riley and Tracey-Ann Oberman for like, so much defamatory tweeting over two years it can’t be listed. Bennett, who is an employment barrister, initially denied he was responsible for the tweets, claiming it was a group running the account. After a judge issued an order to reveal who had made the tweets, Daniel Bennett immediately settled the case and paid costs of around £250,000. He has had to resign from his chambers for making numerous attacks on his own colleagues, including Adam Wagner, from the account.

Law Gazette (July 2020), Court orders barrister to deliver up tweet details

Jewish Chronicle (July 2020), Court orders the identity of author of anonymous tweets attacking Rachel Riley to be disclosed

Bailii.org (July 2020) Collier, Riley and Oberman v Bennett EWHC 1884 QB

Rachel Riley and Tracey-Ann Oberman vs Jane Heybroek - £30,000 (2020)

Jane Heybroek QC was the defendant in a libel case brought by Rachel Riley and Tracey-Ann Oberman over her retweet of an article claiming they had harrassed a teenager (this was a weird one). The case is now closed but not before Heybroek, who is an immigration barrister, spent £30k on defending the case which she is covering with crowdfunded costs and an unspecified contribution from the claimants (very weird).

Help Jane Heybroek defend a defamation action: https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/help-jane-heybroek/

The Guardian (July 2020), Rachel Riley and Tracy-Ann Oberman drop libel claim over retweet

Bailii.org (May 2020) Riley and Oberman v Heybroek 2020 EWHC 1250 QB

Justin Schlosberg vs Ofcom and the BBC - £34,000 (2020)

Justin Schlosberg, a Birkbeck lecturer and JVL member, brought an application for judicial review against both Ofcom and the BBC for their dismissal of the Corbyn Labour complaint about the Panorama documentary for which he crowdfunded £25k. This was dismissed in the High Court, and Schlosberg was ordered to cover his own costs and pay those of both the BBC and Ofcom (about £9k). Justin Schlosberg stated in July 2020 he was appealing the costs order and has not mentioned the case publicly since.

Jewish Chronicle (July 2020) Court rules against Panorama challenge

Justin Schlosberg (July 2020), End of the road?

Challenge BBC Bias: https://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/challenge-bbc-bias

Mike Sivier vs the Labour Party - £Unknown (2020)

Mike Sivier, currently being sued for libel by Rachel Riley (see above), brought a legal action against the Labour Party for breach of contract after details of a complaint against him for antisemitism were leaked to the press by someone involved in the complaints process.

Deputy District Judge Whiteley threw the case out, on the grounds that no agent of the Labour Party had been identified as responsible, and technically as they had not leaked the information in the course of their employment, the Labour Party wouldn’t have been responsible anyway under the law.

The complaint against Mike Sivier for antisemitism that formed the basis of this legal action was upheld in November 2018, and Mike Sivier was expelled from Labour for 18 months – an achievement under Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour.

Mike Sivier announcing the case (September 2020): https://voxpoliticalonline.com/2020/09/27/vox-politicals-mike-takes-labour-to-court-over-anti-semitism-breaches-of-contract/

Mike Sivier losing the case (November 2020): https://voxpoliticalonline.com/2020/11/24/shocking-verdict-in-mikes-court-case-against-labour-means-nobody-is-safe/

Jeff Samuels QC v 7 'pro-Corbyn accounts' - £Unknown (2020)

“Mr Samuels revealed he had been subjected to abuse after posting an ironic tweet last month noting how an online meeting calling for Jeremy Corbyn to be reinstated into the Labour Party was taking place on the anniversary of Kristallnacht, the night in November 1938 in which the German Nazis vandalised Jewish property.

The QC, who is no longer in practice,  was subsequently subjected to hundreds of abusive tweets in response to his post.

Some of these attacks focused on his involvement as defence lawyer for Levi Bellfield, convicted of the murder of the schoolgirl Milly Dowler, in the 2011 trial.

Other tweets noted that Mr Samuels had made aliyah. He pressed ahead with legal action using Daniel Berke at the Manchester-based firm 3D Solicitors.

In an apology aimed at preventing further action and the possibility of costs, Mr Jolly offered an apology stating: “I would like to apologise to Jeff Samuels QC for falsely claiming that he ‘fights for rapists and murders’ and that his opposition to Jeremy Corbyn was motivated by a wish to save tax, when in fact he was honestly concerned about antisemitism.”

Mr Samuels accepted that as a result of the apology he would not be taking further action against this account and suggested the other accounts sent legal letters “will surely follow.”

He added: “It is to be hoped that Ben and others like him will think before tweeting. At least he had the good sense to accept the way out offered at an early stage. He and others should be in no doubt as to my and others’ resolve. Please share so that this lesson can reach where it needs.””

Jewish Chronicle (December 2020), Pro-Corbyn Twitter accounts apologise to QC after he takes legal action

Maajid Nawaz vs Aaron Bastani - £Unknown (2019-2020)

In December 2019, Nawaz sued both Kerry-Anne Mendoza (above, in Ongoing Legal Actions) and Aaron Bastani of Novara Media, over their tweeted responses to an LBC video of Maajid Nawaz condemning Jeremy Corbyn’s promotion of Muslim Brotherhood fronts in the UK. Bastani settled out of court, paid unspecified costs and damages (last case that Nawaz won on similar lines was £40k) and issued a public apology for his statement that Nawaz is a “former terrorist” in April 2020.

Majid Nawaz on Facebook (2019-2020), “I’ve instructed my lawyer Mark Lewis to sue Aaron Bastani of Novara Media for his defamatory allegation about me being a “former terrorist”.

Maajid Nawaz vs Kerry-Anne Mendoza - £?

Kerry Anne Mendoza, a Corbyn outrider of The Canary, is being sued for libel by Maajid Nawaz, an LBC radio host, for claiming that he incites hatred at the instigation of his employer. It is unknown of the outcome of this, but as it seemingly never reached court, I am closing unless further details come to light.

Twitter (December 2019), “LBC pays men who’ve spent their entire lives inciting hatred to denounce a man who’s spent his life working for peace and justice. It’s almost as if their millionaire owners prefer mass poverty to paying their taxes.

Jewish News (December 2019), Maajid Nawaz instructs lawyer to pursue claims against Canary editor

Chris Williamson vs the Labour Party - £175,000 (2019)

In February 2019, Chris Williamson, MP for Derby North, was suspended from the Labour Party after a recording was published of him telling a Momentum meeting that the Labour Party had been “too apologetic” about allegations of antisemitism. He was reinstated with a formal warning in June 2019, but immediately re-suspended following a public outcry from the Parliamentary Labour Party.

Chris Williamson then proceeded to raise £75,000 in crowdfunded legal costs to take legal action against the Labour Party for suspending him a second time, which he actually won and was awarded costs against the Labour Party (which had its own costs of £100,000). However, he was suspended for a third time for other unrelated acts of antisemitism in September 2019, which the High Court ruled was valid. Williamson resigned from the Labour Party anyway, running as an independent candidate in the December 2019 general election, and obtained 600 votes, losing his deposit.

Chris Williamson then donated his costs to a Left Legal Fighting Fund, to fund more legal actions against the Labour Party.

Twitter, “CONCLUSIVE I defeated Labour’s broken bureaucracy in the High Court: they must now pay all my costs, which will help establish a Left Legal Fighting Fund.

Derby Telegraph (September 2019), Derby North MP Chris Williamson’s legal fight is heard in the High Court

Bindman’s, (October 2019), Court finds Labour Party treated Chris Williamson MP unfairly in reopening case and referring him to the NCC

Bailli.org (September 2019), Williamson v Formby 2019 EWHC 2639 QB

Marc Wadsworth vs the Labour Party - £30,000 (2019)

Marc Wadsworth was expelled from the Labour Party for bringing the Labour Party into disrepute, following an incident at the launch of the Chakabarti report on antisemitism in the Labour Party. For more information (it’s complicated): https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marc_Wadsworth#Comment_about_Labour_MP_and_expulsion_from_Labour_Party

Marc Wadsworth subsequently announced an intention to sue the Labour Party for racial discrimination, but was unable to fund the costs of the case.

“Mounting costs and legal technicalities have proven decisive. Because the Labour Party is a voluntary association rather than a public body, it would not have been subject to a binding judicial review even if Marc had won his case. And if he had lost he would have faced personal financial ruin. ”

Morning Star (February 2019), Exclusive: Marc Wadsworth takes Labour to court over expulsion

Labour Representation Committee (December 2019), Marc Wadsworth Forced To Drop Reinstatement Case

Labour must drop charges against anti-racist campaigner: https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/justiceforantiracismcampaigner/

Ken Livingstone vs the Labour Party - £100,000 (2016-2018)

Excerpted from his Wikipedia page, because I am just tired of this man.

Livingstone was suspended from the Labour Party in April 2016 after he was accused of “bringing the party into disrepute” following a BBC Radio London interview in which he claimed “When Hitler won his election in 1932 his policy then was that Jews should be moved to Israel. He was supporting Zionism before he went mad and ended up killing six million Jews”. Livingstone had been invited to discuss the suspension of Labour MP Naz Shah. Livingstone described Shah’s postings, which were made before she became an MP at the 2015 general election, as “rude and over-the-top” but not antisemitic, adding that he had never encountered antisemitism in Labour.

In a subsequent interview, Livingstone expressed regret both for mentioning Hitler and for offending Jews but added that “I’m not going to apologise for telling the truth”. Livingstone said there was a “well-orchestrated campaign by the Israel lobby to smear anybody who criticises Israeli policy as antisemitic”.

Corbyn announced that the decision whether to expel Livingstone would be made by a National Executive Committee (NEC) internal inquiry; Livingstone insisted he would be exonerated, saying “how can the truth be an offence?” In April 2017, Labour’s National Constitutional Committee held that Livingstone had brought the party into disrepute, ordering his suspension be continued for another year. Corbyn, disappointed in Livingstone’s failure “to acknowledge or apologise for the hurt he has caused”, said a new NEC investigation would consider the comments he made after his initial suspension. As the date for the end of his suspension approached, in March 2018 the National Executive Committee extended Livingstone’s suspension indefinitely.

Livingstone announced his resignation from the Labour Party on 21 May 2018, saying the issues surrounding his suspension had become a distraction. His lawyers concluded that if he had been expelled, it would take at least two years to lodge an appeal.

In October 2020, the Equality and Human Rights Commission found that Livingstone’s comments regarding the Shah case constituted unlawful harassment under the Equality Act 2010, and that Labour were legally responsible for the harassment because, as a member of NEC, he was an agent of the party. The Commission also found that his disciplinary case had been subject to interference from the leaders’ office.

In total the Labour Party spent approximately £100,000 on legal advice and fees, before Ken finally resigned.

John Ware (May 2020), Panorama, Labour antisemitism and the facts that Novara Media won’t publish

 

Dishonourable mention

Excluded from the costs above, but included due to the sheer scale of stupidity on the part of many of the same actors.

Anna Turley vs Unite the Union and Stephen Walker (Skwawkbox) - £2 million (2017-2021)

In this case, Unite the Union, having breached data protection and briefed Skwawkbox, a Corbyn outrider, against Anna Turley MP, managed to turn a spiteful move into a series of extremely expensive ones.

“The case related to Turley’s application to join Unite, which is Labour’s biggest donor, in December 2016. She submitted it a day before the announcement of a Unite election for general secretary. The incumbent, Len McCluskey, one of Jeremy Corbyn’s most influential advisers, was facing a possible challenge from a moderate candidate, Gerard Coyne.

An article appeared on Skwawkbox in April 2017 claiming that Turley had broken the rules by joining Unite’s community section, which was supposed to be exclusively for unwaged members, and that she had made a false declaration to do so.

A Unite spokesperson was quoted in the article as saying: “Anyone joining on a fraudulent basis will prompt an investigation. A complaint has been received and is being investigated.”

According to Turley’s counsel, she joined as a Unite community member and was told by Unite in March 2017 that she should move to become an “industrial” member. Turley replied days later apologising and asking how she should transfer her membership.

Kate Wilson, for Turley, said the Skwawkbox article in April 2017 conveyed the meaning that Turley acted dishonestly in submitting her application.

A barrister representing Unite and Walker told a judge that Turley had been dishonest and “regrettably” was not fit to be an MP. Anthony Hudson QC told Mr Justice Nicklin that Turley’s dishonesty “permeates through every part of the case”. He claimed she had been “deceiving people so she could vote against Mr McCluskey and oust Jeremy Corbyn””

The Guardian (December 2019), Ex-Labour MP awarded £75,000 libel damages over union story

Skwawkbox (December 2019), Court-ordered statement

 

Unite rejected an offer to settle, and were ordered to pay £75,000 in damages, bear their own costs of £600,000, and pay Anna Turley’s costs.

Shiraz Socialist (January 2020), Unite wastes more of its members’ money defending the indefensible

 

Unite responded to this by stating they would appeal, and then refused to pay the costs order against them. They were given a 10% fine for the delay.

PoliticsHome (January 2020) Former Labour MP threatens to call in the bailiffs in row with Unite union

 

Unite lost its application to appeal in May 2020.

Hamlins (May 2020), Anna Turley v Unite the Union and Stephen Walker: Unite Refused Permission to Appeal

Bailli.org (November 2019), Turley v Unite the Union and Walker 2019 EWHC 3547 QB

 

Unite continued to argue the toss and were finally ordered by the Costs Court in May 2021 to pay Anna Turley £1.3 million in legal costs.

The Guardian (May 2021): Unite and blogger must pay £1.3m libel case costs to ex-Labour MP

 

Anna Turley ultimately lost her seat in the 2019 general election, and gave this great interview to the Corbyn Post-Mortem on life in the Parliamentary Labour Party under Jeremy Corbyn, in which the libel case is briefly discussed.

Tony Greenstein vs Campaign Against Antisemitism - £35,000+ (2018-2021)

In February 2018, Tony Greenstein filed a claim against the Campaign Against Antisemitism for libel and breach of data protection and privacy laws, on the basis of five articles they had published about him, calling him a notorious antisemite and noting that he had previous convictions for theft.

Original crowdfunder: Weʼve raised £9,286 to fund an action for defamation against the so-called charity the CAA

Current crowdfunder: SAYING NO 2 THE ANTISEMITISM LIBEL

A preliminary hearing in October 2018 saw the preliminary issues ordered to trial. These were determined in the High Court in February 2019:

Bailii (February 2019): Greenstein v Campaign Against Antisemitism [2019] EWHC 281 (QB) 

Mr Greenstein filed an appeal against the judgement, which was dismissed without a hearing.

For the nerds: “Having determined the preliminary issues, on 15 February 2019 Nicklin J gave directions for the service of amended statements of case and, in accordance with the directions timetable set by the judge, an amended particulars of claim, amended defence and amended reply have all been served. Further, on 16 July 2019 the defendant served a Part 18 request for further information upon the claimant, which was answered on 12 August 2019.”

Excitingly, Mr Greenstein actually broke down these costs on his crowdfunder:

“I have spent £19,717 to date:

This includes
Cost of launching original claim £2,400
Engaging new solicitor, preparation for interim hearing and costs of attendance etc. £7,440
Appeal to the Court of Appeal £1,200
Reply to the defence £7,200

there are also associated costs of the crowdfunding sites of £1,100 and I have incurred costs of £366 in travel expenses to file claims, a couple of coffees and refreshments for those attending the interim hearing!”

In April 2020, Mr Greenstein filed for summary judgement. In November 2020, his request was granted – with his claims of libel summarily dismissed. The CAA’s application to strike out claims for breach of data protection was also dismissed.

Bailii (October 2020): Greenstein v Campaign Against Antisemitism [2020] EWHC 2951 (QB)

Costs were awarded to the CAA for £68,000, which represented 85% of their costs.
Mr Greenstein acknowledged having spent £28,000 on his own costs by this point.

Mr Greenstein filed an appeal against the dismissal and was granted one ground of the three, that of malice. The appeal was heard in June 2021, and also dismissed.

Bailli (June 2021): Greenstein v Campaign Against Antisemitism [2021] EWCA Civ 1006

Costs were awarded to the CAA for an additional £13,968, making a total of £81,854.
Mr Greenstein reported costs of £6,000 for the appeal, which he crowdfunded.

Mr Greenstein’s application to appeal to the Supreme Court was denied. He intends to apply for permission to appeal directly to the Supreme Court. He did so on the 6th August.

Mr Greenstein has stated that the claim for misuse of private information and breach of data protection still stands and he will take legal advice on how to proceed with these.

On 14th July, 2021, Mr Greenstein was declared bankrupt by the Insolvency Court. This will have limited effect on his daily life, but he will be forced to step down as a charity trustee for the The Brighton Trust, and he will find it very difficult to file future lawsuits (he is legally unable to instruct counsel). The enforcement process continues.

The application for bankruptcy cost the CAA £14,683.

Mr Greenstein claims that this is money well spent, because the Campaign Against Antisemitism is funded by “Zionists”, to the point that he gave away £9,500 of the funds raised to a variety of pro-Palestine campaigns and some antisemitic groups to prevent it being taken by the CAA as assets. However, the fact remains that Mr Greenstein spent £35,000 of left-wing activist money pursuing a personal libel claim that he clearly thought he was going to win, and will be spending the rest of his life paying back a costs order. Costs not paid can accrue interest at 8%.

Times of Israel (July 2021) Tony Greenstein loses appeal over being called a ‘notorious antisemite’

Campaign Against Antisemitism (July 2021) Judge grants CAA petition to declare Tony Greenstein legally bankrupt over legal costs in his humiliating failed “notorious antisemite” defamation claim

Jewish Chronicle (July 2021) Greenstein bankrupt after failed ‘antisemite’ libel suit

In November 2021, Mr Greenstein deleted his fundraiser without comment. One assumes that his appeal was thrown out.