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High court orders costs against Scientologists

Title: High court orders costs against Scientologists
Date: Wednesday, 7 August 1968
Publisher: The Scotsman (UK)
Main source: link (67 KiB)

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The Church of Scientology of California were ordered in the High Court in London yesterday to pay the costs of the publishers of three national newspapers they had brought to court to face injunction proceedings.

Mr Justice Fisher also ordered that the Church could not proceed with libel actions against the News of the World, Ltd., Beaverbrook Newspapers, Ltd., and Daily Mirror Newspapers, Ltd., until the costs are paid.

At the start of the hearing, counsel for the Church, Mr Leon Brittan, said he was no longer asking for the interlocutory injunctions restraining further publication of the alleged libels.


After a 65-minute hearing in private, the judge gave permission for his judgment to be published.

He said the Church claimed damages alleging libel in articles in the "News of the World," "Sunday Mirror" and "Daily Express."

An application last Thursday for ex parte injunctions was refused. The defendants had filed evidence for yesterday's hearing, but counsel for the Church now said he no longer asked for the orders. Accordingly the application would be dismissed and the only question he had to decide was on costs.

The judge said the newspapers had asked that the costs of the hearing should be taxed and paid at once. Counsel for the Church had not resisted the application and he would make an order accordingly.

He refused to make a special order on the method of assessing costs which the defendants had sought on the grounds that the applications were vexatious and unnecessary. He said he thought the ordinary order for costs was sufficient.

The defendants also asked that the proceedings should be suspended until the costs of the hearing were paid.

The judge said that one of the Church's officers had stated that it was a non-profit-making organisation incorporated in California but also registered in this country.

"They are a foreign corporation," he said, "and I have no grounds for being satisfied that the defendants could successfully execute for the costs on property of the plaintiffs in this country." He would make the order accordingly.

The order for costs would also be against Mrs Jane Kember, an official of the Church, of Sharpthorne, near East Grinstead, Sussex, in actions where she was co-plaintiff.

After the hearing, a spokesman for all the defendants said they would strongly resist the proceedings and would plead justification, fair comment and privilege.