6 St Andrew Street
27 July 2012
Libel claimant ordered to pay £1.8m security for costs
The High Court has ordered the Tanzanian businessman, Reginald Mengi, to pay £1,868,000 into court as security for costs in the libel proceedings he has brought in London against Sarah Hermitage, who is represented by Carter-Ruck under a Conditional Fee Agreement.
Mr Mengi is the Executive Chairman of IPP Ltd, which has substantial media interests (newspapers, TV and radio) in Tanzania and owns Bonite Bottlers, which markets Coca Cola products in Tanzania.
Mr Mengi complains of five articles published on a website and two emails which relate to events in Tanzania, from where Sarah Hermitage maintains that she was forced to flee with her husband in 2008, abandoning their investment in the farm, Silverdale.
Delivering his judgment, Mr Justice Tugendhat noted that Mr Mengi’s claim for his pre-action costs alone amounted to £298,245.07, and that his total costs of taking the case to trial are estimated at £1,240,183. Directing that Mr Mengi should provide further security for Sarah Hermitage’s legal costs, including provision for a success fee under the Conditional Fee Agreement, the Judge observed:-
“All cases brought by foreign claimants from abroad engage the rights of the parties to access to the court. But where, as here, the right of freedom of expression is also engaged, it is all the more important that the parties should be on an equal footing in their ability to fund proper representation, so far as the court is able to achieve that.”
For further information please contact Andrew.Stephenson@carter-ruck.com or Dominic.Garner@carter-ruck.com