‘A victory for fair competition’: DMGT loses libel fight against competing conference organiser

An independent aviation magazine has triumphed in the High Court after being sued by DMGT-owned Euromoney.

Airfinance Journal (AFJ) publisher Euromoney had put in a legal claim for between £25,000 and £50,000 saying it had been libelled by competitor Aviation News, which prints Airline Economics.

It came after Aviation News organised a conference to take place in the same city and at the same time as its rival’s.

The AFJ’s Airfinance Europe conference had taken place in Dublin each year for 15 years, and this year was held between 22 and 24 January at the Four Seasons Hotel.

This year, for the first time, Aviation News held a conference at the Shelbourne Hotel, Dublin, between 20-22 January.

Euromoney put in a legal claim against Aviation News and its managing director Philip Tozer-Pennington claiming that he had “intentionally harmed” AFJ in an email, an advertisement and in Airline Economics magazine.

In a claim form, seen by Press Gazette, Euromoney accused Aviation News of a “campaign… to injure the reputation” of AFJ and claimed it had caused “serious injury to its business reputation”.

But a judge last week struck out the action, saying that Euromoney had no real or substantial claim.

Euromoney has now agreed to pay Aviation News’s legal costs.

In a statement, Philip and Victoria Tozer-Pennington said: “It is a shame that we were forced down this road which has put a drag on all that we hoped to do in 2013, but in the end we see this as a victory for fair competition.

“The 628 formal letters and emails of support from across the global industry convinced us that we had to fight on to the very end.”

Anjlee Saigol, of Taylor Hampton Solicitors, said: “Our clients are delighted to have had this unmerited claim dismissed by the court. Aviation News and Mr Tozer-Pennington have been fully vindicated in their decision to fight this legal battle brought against them by one of the largest players in the aviation industry.”

Euromoney has not responded to a request for comment.

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