Tesla Motors Ltd & Anor v British Broadcasting Corporation [2013]

In Tesla Motors Ltd & Anor v British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) [2013] EWCA Civ 152 the matter came before the Court of Appeal. The car manufacturer had appealed against a refusal to amend its particulars of claim so as to reinstate a claim for libel and malicious falsehood against the BBC and add a claim for special damages.

The court found that the judge below had been correct to strike out the libel claim because the statement was incapable of bearing the meaning intended by Tesla.  The court then considered whether or not the judge was wrong to refuse Tesla permission to amend the particulars.  Whilst it would normally be the case that amendments would be allowed in this case, there were limits because the substantial amendments would disrupt the proceedings, add to the costs,  prolong the trial and, in any event, the case pleaded in the proposed amendment had been bound to fail.

Further consideration was the fact that the programme had been originally broadcast in December 2008 and then broadcast on numerous further occasions.

There have been numerous broadcasts of the statements which, because of the length of time, now had become statue barred.  It was therefore very difficult for the court to distinguish the effect of the statue barred broadcast and any new ones.  This would lead to considerable causation problems which the court felt had not been properly addressed in the particulars.



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