McDONALD'S V STEEL & MORRIS (1994)
Ending in June 1997 after two- and-a-half years, the "McLibel" trial was the longest in English history, and is believed to have cost McDonald's pounds 10m. Two Greenpeace activists, Helen Steel and Dave Morris, were ordered to pay it pounds 40,000 compensation after the publication of a leaflet, What's Wrong with McDonald's? The leaflet said the firm's products harmed its customers and it exploited Third World countries. Mr Justice Bell ruled that although most of the allegations were libellous, some of the lesser ones were true, giving Steel and Morris a partial victory.
COUNT TOLSTOY V LOW/ ALDINGTON (1989)
In December 2000, the historian Count Nikolai Tolstoy paid pounds 57,000 damages, 11 years after branding Lord Aldington a war criminal. Count Tolstoy had originally refused to pay the full amount, and the pounds 57,000 was for a subsequent perjury action arising from the original libel trial of 1989. The "Cossacks Trial" centred on a pamphlet in which Tolstoy claimed that, in 1945, Lord Aldington, who was then Brigadier Toby Low, handed over Cossack and Yugoslav prisoners to Soviet troops and thus to certain death. Despite the judge finding for Lord Aldington and awarding him pounds 1.5m, there was a setback: Tolstoy declared himself bankrupt and Aldington never received any of the award. The European Court of Human Rights ruled in 1995 that the damages were excessive and "three …