The Vardy v Rooney case has inevitably stirred public interest in defamation litigation, coming - as it does - hot on the heels of the highly publicised Depp v Heard decision in the US in June.
The judgment, which stretches to 75 pages, was handed down at the end of last week, following a seven day trial in May.
Ultimately, the case centred on the question of whether Coleen Rooney's social media post in October 2019 was substantially true and, thus, whether her primary defence to the action of defamation raised against her (the aptly named "truth" defence) had been established.
In an earlier decision of the Court, Ms Rooney's post was held to bear the following meaning:-
"Over a period of years Ms Vardy had regularly and frequently abused her status as a trusted follower of Ms Rooney's personal Instagram account by secretly informing The Sun newspaper of Ms Rooney's private posts and stories, thereby making public without Ms Rooney's permission a great deal of information about Ms Rooney, her friends and family which she did not want made public."
Following a detailed examination of the factual evidence - including the credibility and reliability of the witnesses who had given evidence - the Judge concluded that the statement was substantially true and so was not defamatory of Ms Vardy. And so, Ms Vardy's claim was rejected.
Whilst the decision did not involve any novel point of defamation law, the episode really does illustrate an age old conundrum of reputation management. Whilst it can be tempting to litigate in an attempt to restore or protect one's reputation, there is almost always a tricky balancing exercise to be carried out. The risk of defeat must be carefully considered as must the inevitable additional publicity about the allegation that is the subject of the complaint. Often, an attempt to clear one's name will actually end up exacerbating the reputational damage caused.