Byrne v Deane [1937] 1 KB 818

Defamation defamatory

Byrne v Deane [1937] 1 KB 818 is a Tort law case focusing on Libel Defamation.


  • The claimant – golf club member

  • The Defendants – the proprietors and the secretary of the club.

It was a rule that members could not put any notices or posters without the secretary’s consent in the club premises. They had gambling machines in the club for exclusive members only. Police removed the machines after they got notified about it. After that, an anonymous poem was pinned to the wall implying that the mystery informant was the claimant. The claimant brought an action in Libel as those words were implying that the claimant was disloyal to the other club members


The trial judge stated that the claim was fair and justice and saying that the words were defamatory. The defendants appealed.


It held that the words of the verse in Byrne v Deane [1937] 1 KB 818 could not be defamatory. Moreover, Slesser LJ argued that there was no evidence that any of the defendants had anything to do with the verse’s publication. Greere LJ said that the verse was defamatory. Concluded that by leaving the verse on the wall, the defendants engaged in the commission of libel.

Read our notes and other cases on Defamation for more information. 

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