Award made in first IMPRESS arbitration

An arbitrator has made an award of damages in the first legal dispute to be resolved under the IMPRESS arbitration scheme.

Dennis Rice, the claimant, contacted IMPRESS to make a request for arbitration to settle a legal claim of defamation, harassment and malicious falsehood, arising from two tweets sent out from the Byline Media Twitter account on 6th March 2017.

On 7th April, the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators appointed Clive Thorne as independent arbitrator for the case. An order for directions was made shortly afterwards on 10th April, which required the claim and publisher response to be submitted by 8th May.  A directions hearing was held on 16th May, after which the parties were directed to provide further information and clarification. An award was finalised on 6th July and published on 13th July.

In the award, Mr Thorne upheld the claim in part. He found one of the two tweets to be defamatory and ordered that damages of £2,500 be awarded to Mr Rice. The claims for harassment and malicious falsehood were withdrawn by consent following the directions hearing held on 16th May 2017.

Neither party was legally represented and no award for costs was made.

IMPRESS offers an independent arbitration service, in partnership with the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators, for legal claims of defamation, breach of confidence, misuse of private information, malicious falsehood and harassment against publishers. Claims can be made by individuals or organisations against any publisher that is regulated by IMPRESS. The arbitration scheme is designed to be a simple and straightforward alternative to going to court. The scheme is free to access for claimants, and for publishers with a turnover of less than £1M per annum, the arbitrator’s fees are paid by IMPRESS.