Disclaimer: This work was produced by one of our expert legal writers, as a learning aid to help law students with their studies.

Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the authors and do not reflect the views of LawTeacher.net. Any information contained in this case summary does not constitute legal advice and should be treated as educational content only.

Huth v Huth - 1915

294 words (1 pages) Case Summary

16th Jul 2019 Case Summary Reference this In-house law team

Jurisdiction / Tag(s): UK Law

Huth v Huth [1915] 3 KB 32

No publication of libel where butler opened unclosed letter.


The defendant, Captain Huth, sent an allegedly defamatory letter in an unclosed envelope through the post to his four children. The letter contained an implication that the children were illegitimate. The letter was taken out of the envelope and read by a butler in breach of his duties and out of curiosity. At trial, the claim was dismissed on the basis that there was no evidence of publication of the libellous information.


On appeal, counsel for the appellants contended that the defendant knew that the document was likely to be taken out of the envelope and read and he must therefore be responsible for it. The only obligation on the plaintiffs was to show that the words are susceptible to defamatory meaning. The respondent argued that there had never been a successful libel claim where the publication had been sent in an envelope. This should be contrasted with a postcard or telegram where there is a reasonable inference that the matter would be published.


The Court of Appeal was of the view that it was not right to treat a letter in an “ungummed” envelope with a halfpenny stamp as though it were an open letter. Such a letter required some act by a person before they could be read and the Court could not presume that such letters would be opened in the ordinary course of business. Therefore, the defendant could not be taken to have known that the letter would have been taken out of the envelope and there was accordingly no evidence of publication of the libel in the case.

275 words

Cite This Work

To export a reference to this article please select a referencing stye below:

Reference Copied to Clipboard.
Reference Copied to Clipboard.
Reference Copied to Clipboard.
Reference Copied to Clipboard.
Reference Copied to Clipboard.
Reference Copied to Clipboard.
Reference Copied to Clipboard.

Related Services

View all

Related Content

Jurisdictions / Tags

Content relating to: "UK Law"

UK law covers the laws and legislation of England, Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland. Essays, case summaries, problem questions and dissertations here are relevant to law students from the United Kingdom and Great Britain, as well as students wishing to learn more about the UK legal system from overseas.

Related Articles