[2008] EWHC 68 (QB) LTL 01.02.08.

Claimant (an echo-cardiographer) brought claim for libel against Defendant, his former employer, for comments made in an email to another NHS Trust who were undertaking a review of Claimant’s work following termination of his contract due to quality of his work. Defendant stated Claimant was not trained to and did not perform echo-cardiography, and his work was adequate but not exceptional or good. It was further stated Claimant had come under suspicion over theft of an echo machine and had left owing rent.

The Court held the email in question was protected by qualified privilege. Defendant was entitled and possibly even bound to communicate to Claimant’s employers information which might be relevant to assessment of Claimant’s integrity and professionalism, where there was a very serious enquiry into matters posing a real risk of danger to patients. The material satisfied the requirement that it be reasonably germane to the subject of the enquiry and there was no evidence the Defendant made the representations maliciously or without an honest belief in the truth of the contents.