The transcripts of the official inquiry into the culture, practices and ethics of the press. More…

We're looking into the future, and all I'm doing is to indicate how the Inquiry should proceed, as and when it comes to the question of serving warning letters, because if the truth is that the groups are going to be defined in a way where the members of the group are so small that the allegation can be reasonably understood as referring to any individual, then we say, if you're against me on my main point about the terms of reference, that each member of the group should be served with a notice. It's in that connection that the analogy with a class libel, which fits with the way in which the common law, both as laid down in Nutfirm(?), Lord Atkin and Lord Porter in the midst of the Second World War, and in the American restatement, is most helpful, that there you have the danger, if you have a small group, such that what is said about them by way of criticism may be understood as referring to particular individuals rather than simply: all lawyers are thieves.

My last point is this: you suggested to Mr White that one way out of this quandary might be to identify all the possible criticisms that you could make, together with the evidential support. That would be, in my submission, out of the frying pan into the fire, because what would happen then is that because the evidential support is all in the public domain and can be traced back because it's on the website, it would be very easy for people to put two and two together. In other words, it would be a jigsaw with a very small number of pieces, and if you made criticisms of that sort, even if qualified by saying that they were only possible criticisms you could make, the moment that you indicated the evidential support, the cat would be out of the bag and the individuals and corporations identified --

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