The Classic defamation trial is always one for the ages. If a defamation case gets to trial, there is never anything ordinary about it. Ordinary issues get settled. Ordinary commercial people do not sue. Ordinary reasonable publishers don’t say things like “This is a matter of principle”. To go all the way in a defamation case, something extraordinary is almost always needed. Whether that means the characters, the issues, the stubbornness of the media, or the amount of money that the parties have. There is usually something extreme somewhere. And as a result, the defamation trial is always an extraordinary beast.
Here is the current Hall of Fame – the top 10.
- NUMBER 1: McDonalds Corporation v Steel & Morris: Defamation trial upsized
- NUMBER 2: Oscar Wilde v Marquess of Queensberry, April 1895: The Importance of Being a Colossally Bad Litigator
- NUMBER 3: Hustler Magazine and Flynt v Falwell 485 US 46 (1988): The pornographer, the priest and the parody
- NUMBER 4: Jeffrey Archer v Daily Star (1987): You could write a book about it
- NUMBER 5: Marsden v Australian Consolidated Press Ltd: An Australian epic
- NUMBER 6: Youssoupoff v Metro-Goldwyn-Maher Pictures Ltd (1934): Ra Ra Rasputin – Not the Lover of this Russian Queen
- NUMBER 7: Aitken v The Guardian & Granada Television (1997): The Simple Sword of Truth and the Trusty Shield of Fair Play
- NUMBER 8: Dr Wladislaw Dering v Leon Uris: The smallest coin in the realm
- NUMBER 9: Hore-Lacy v Cleary (2010): Melbourne Barrister Wins Big in Defamation Stakes
- NUMBER 10: Bruce Grobbelaar v The Sun  UKHL 40: Goal-keeper caught in The Sun’s net