22 OCTOBER 1937, Page 6


THE damages for libel awarded to Lord Camrose and the Daily Telegraph—£12,500 and £7,5oo respectively— against the Fascist paper Action are heavy, and the amount of damages in such cases is normally a question worth discussing. In this case it is not worth three drops of ink, for the simple reason that if the damages had been ten times as much or a tenth as much, the result for Lord Camrose and the Telegraph would have been precisely the same. The authorised capital of Action Press, Ltd., which publishes, or published, Action, was stated in court by a representative of the Registrar of Joint Stock Companies to be Era). The company will, of course, become bankrupt if an attempt is made to exact the damages from it, but there is nothing to prevent another Do° company from being formed tomorrow to publish another Action, or the same, and nothing to prevent it from losing another libel action and going bankrupt in its turn ; and so ad infinitum. A change in the law seems clearly to be called for, but a good many difficulties not immediately obvious will reveal themselves if the attempt is made. That, of course, is not quite all the story. In this, as in all such cases, two or more other parties are involved, the writer of the article or the editor of the paper, and the printer. They may or may not be in a position to pay a large share of the damages, and it may or may not be equitable that they should.