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Tallbloke legal fund

Tallbloke's solicitor has written to Anthony Watts:

Roger has been publicly libelled and abused across the world to the detriment of his reputation and has suffered distress, inconvenience and damage to property. The worst such offender appears to have been a contributor at ‘Scienceblogs’.

Read the whole thing at WUWT.

A fighting fund is being set up in order to mount a proper legal response. Donate here.

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Reader Comments (94)

I have a vague recollection of some rule that, if you provide financial assistance to someone who sues someone else and costs are awarded against the person doing the suing, you then share their liability for these costs.

Is this true or just nonsense?

A comment by someone legally qualified would be welcome on this point.

Dec 18, 2011 at 10:28 AM | Unregistered CommenterMartin A

Martin A

Sake! You Poms are feardy-cats aren't you?

No of course not. If I buy a News International newspaper in open support of them, am I somehow responsible for phone hacking?

Last time I checked, you still - technically - lived in a free country. But if you have an attitude like this it's pretty much wasted on you. Get your wallet out. It might remind you of having a scrotum.

Dec 18, 2011 at 10:46 AM | Unregistered CommenterGixxerboy

No of course not (...) It might remind you of having a scrotum.

Thanks - very funny. Are you a lawyer?

Dec 18, 2011 at 10:57 AM | Unregistered CommenterMartin A

So which country do you think I live in? (Or did, last time you checked?)

Dec 18, 2011 at 11:02 AM | Unregistered CommenterMartin A

Laden has closed comments on the Tallbloke thread now. It's worth a look at his last comment (#112). The guy seems to have "issues".

Dec 18, 2011 at 11:06 AM | Unregistered CommenterJimmy Haigh

That does not sound plausible to me, Martin, but that is no infallible guide to be sure! In any event, I'll take the chance. My donation has been sent as a gesture of sympathy for Tallbloke. If he gets enough to cover the initial costs of legal actions of his own choosing, then good luck to him. If he wants to spend my gift down the pub, then that is also fine by me.

Dec 18, 2011 at 11:14 AM | Unregistered CommenterJohn Shade

Has anyone in the government considered raiding East Anglica for the files they are refusing to release under the FOIA laws? Probable the same set as in Climategate.


Dec 18, 2011 at 11:14 AM | Unregistered CommenterJim Karlock

Martin, Roger has, as does Bish, a tip jar to help with the costs of running the site. How could anyone distinguish a donation to the site as opposed as a donation to the legal fun? Simples huh!

Dec 18, 2011 at 11:37 AM | Unregistered CommenterPete H

Donation made. I hope his legal team wipe the floor with the cops.

Dec 18, 2011 at 11:40 AM | Unregistered Commenterjohn in cheshire

Martin A / John Shade
I can't trace this but it definitely rang a bell as soon as I read it. I'll do some more digging and post with anything I can find but somewhere I have read that anyone funding a civil action could be held liable for costs if the action fails.
Whether this is the case or was a judgment that has been overturned or even whether it relates to the system in some other country I'm not sure. A barrister should be able to provide a definitive answer (insofar as anything can be "definitive" in a system of Common Law like the UK).

Dec 18, 2011 at 12:18 PM | Unregistered CommenterMike Jackson

Where's Big Oil when you need them? And how is it that Michael Mann can make multiple cases simultaneously on his Professor's salary?

Dec 18, 2011 at 12:22 PM | Unregistered Commentergeronimo

@ geronimo: Going on what I've been reading, I think said Michael Mann may be finding something coming his way very soon (from re-tweeting Laden's 'allegedly' libelous comments).

I've done my bit to help. Good luck to Tallbloke and to all who are helping, including the Bish.

Dec 18, 2011 at 12:34 PM | Unregistered CommenterLuc Ozade

Donation sent. Popcorn ready. Let battle and the long overdue education of Laden commence.

Dec 18, 2011 at 12:36 PM | Unregistered CommenterAtomic Hairdryer

Is his new name Greg bin Libelling? :-)

I'll get my coat

Dec 18, 2011 at 12:41 PM | Unregistered CommenterLatimer Alder

Having read the offending post by the Laden vermin, I've just contributed to Tallbloke's fund.

These ecofascist bitches need to suffer some public and financial humiliation.

Dec 18, 2011 at 12:42 PM | Unregistered CommenterJustice4Rinka

The case that is in the back of peoples minds was I think the the case for libel brought by Neil Hamilton against Mohammed Fayed, which he lost but Fayed tried to get costs back from the supporters when Hamilton went bankrupt leaving Fayed with a legal bill of >£1m.

Haven't found the judgement yet

Dec 18, 2011 at 12:43 PM | Unregistered CommenterArthur Dent

I'm not sure whether the focus should be on going after Laden, although he did leave himself very exposed. I think it's more important to understand why Tallbloke was raided, and whether that was legal. The trigger seemed to have been FOIA's choice to post a message on Tallbloke's blog. That isn't something he solicited and could happen to anybody, so it's important to get the legalities of that out of the way. I tried creating an FOIA account on CiF earlier to try and make that point, but it's already registered so I guess the Guardian can expect a raid soon as well.

Dec 18, 2011 at 12:54 PM | Unregistered CommenterAtomic Hairdryer

Re liability, I am guessing such rules are to prevent libel "venture capitalism" , or the system from being gamed. I would be surprised if they apply in this instance.

However, I was surprised that 6 bizzies could enter someone's home and remove their life's information and without knowledge of what would happen to it once removed. So what do I know.

Dec 18, 2011 at 12:57 PM | Unregistered CommenterJiminy Cricket

Greg does have some issues.I think this from him in his comments sums him up and his absolute righteousness

I think he's a criminal for being a climate denialist. Sue me.

We are all criminals, the rest is just semantics... Nice man.

Dec 18, 2011 at 1:13 PM | Unregistered CommenterJiminy Cricket

Found it!
You're right, Arthur Dent. The most obvious case is Hamilton v Al Fayed.
s 51(3) of the Supreme Court Act 1981 gives judges the right to make "non-party cost orders" in exceptional circumstances.

the jurisdiction will not usually be exercised against "pure funders" (Dymocks at 25 and Arkin (supra)). Pure funders are "those with no personal interest in the litigation, who do not stand to benefit from it, are not funding it as a matter of business and in no way seek to control its course" (Hamilton v Al Fayed (No.2) [2003] QB 1175 at 40).
Have a look at

Dec 18, 2011 at 1:28 PM | Unregistered CommenterMike Jackson

Jiminy Cricket:"Bizzies"? A fellow Scouse?

Dec 18, 2011 at 1:31 PM | Unregistered Commentergeronimo

'I think he's a criminal for being a climate denialist.'

Someone is certainly guilty of crimes against the English Language

Dec 18, 2011 at 1:32 PM | Unregistered CommenterIan E

Comment number 112 is worth reading in full. How very different to the grandeloquence of delivery of our own blog host.

"If Tattersall knowingly received stolen goods, and it seems he did (essentially) and rather than reporting that to the authorities, passed those goods on, he would be a criminal in US law. I consider him, therefore, to have likely committed a crime. Others are more than welcome to disagree. We are awaiting news of charges being filed.

Since this happened in Britain, where apparently all the laws are the exact opposite of what we have in the US, perhaps he is a hero there. Perhaps that is why we had a Revolution and kicked Limey butt over two centuries ago, and perhaps it is why we've had to bail the British out of trouble in major wars twice.

Or, perhaps the sociopathic hoards of rat-people currently leaving the sinking ship of climate change denialism are not representative of the rest of the British people. Anyone out there from the UK who is not an insane felon-sympathizing upstanding science-respecting citizen want to chime in and defend your people?

It says something about Global Warming Denialists that the only response they can muster to me expressing this opinion ... that Tattersall did something very very wrong and that it was the end point of a series of crimes committed by outside hackers (we do essentially know this to be true) ... is to a) threaten to sue me b) tell me about all the other people who are going to sue me c) tell me about all the lawyers they are talking to who say I can easily be sued d) send me obnoxious and harassing notes every ten minutes around the clock as comments on my blog or as emails and e) send the occasional threat of physical harm, then we know something about them. And the picture this paints is not pretty.

The people who are doing this are also criminals, or at least, bullies, who have nothing useful to contribute to the problems we as a civilization have to deal with. Harassment and threats of physical violence are not OK.

I blame the press for giving enough credibility to these miscreants and misfits that they maintain the belief that they have even an iota of legitimacy. They don't.

There is an upside, however. Every several minutes I get anywhere form 50 to about 500 words of invective yammering from one or another internet bully, and I consider every one of them to be a criminal in their own sick little way, which I put in a holding bin where they will never be seen on my blog. That's a lot of "man" hours being spent by global warming denialists, criminals ... against the environment and against humanity and against the next generation of people .. every one in my view, for nothing.

And you know exactly who you are, because you are the ones writing the emails and the blog comments.

Keep it coming. The more of this you do, the more distracted you will be, and the less damage you can do in your other activities, which I assume include a certain amount of other criminal, felonious acts of unspecified nature as well.

Posted by: Greg Laden | December 17, 2011 5:24 PM"

After another post, or two, he scuttled back to the sewers and closed the comments down, perhaps realising that the First Amendment (if he knows anything about the US constitution and history, which he appears not to) allows defamation and libel cases to proceed if there is proven malice in what was said. As it happens there could, I suppose at a stretch, be a case to show that the malice in the original blog was not intended, but his responses in the posts confirm, to me at least, a clear intention of malice.

Dec 18, 2011 at 1:41 PM | Unregistered Commentergeronimo

"allows defamation and libel cases to proceed if there is proven malice in what was said" should read;
"allows defamation and libel cases to proceed if there is proven malice in what was said, or written."

Dec 18, 2011 at 1:44 PM | Unregistered Commentergeronimo

sans faire rien, € 37 on thier way Rog. I don't think there is mùuch to be gained from Laden but Mann should be a good and lucrative point of access.

Bonne chance

Dec 18, 2011 at 2:10 PM | Unregistered CommenterStephen Richards

@geronimo... yes

In his comments someone you felt should have told Greg to stop digging - someone on the alarmist side called Brain tried - but when you are so right I doubt he felt he had many worries.

Changing the top post whilst still allowing comments I think was also a mistake.

For all his amazing superiority, I think he does not understand the word 'hubris'.

Greg is definitely a "last word" type of person. Let's see if he manages the last word on this little escapade.

Dec 18, 2011 at 2:15 PM | Unregistered CommenterJiminy Cricket

"... kicked Limey butt over two centuries ago ..."

Didn't they need some help from the French to do that?
Not quite so keen on the French now, though!

"...bail the British out of trouble in major wars twice."

Have the Americans ever won a war by themselves?

These colonials really are getting above themselves :)

Dec 18, 2011 at 2:16 PM | Unregistered Commentergraphicconception

Based on the comments at WUWT, the legal fund will have many donors, and I hope enough funds to do a proper job. Climate Audit made a nice 750 GBP donation.

Dec 18, 2011 at 2:23 PM | Unregistered CommenterDon B

Re: geronimo
Re: Jiminy Cricket

Make that three...

Dec 18, 2011 at 2:26 PM | Unregistered CommenterTerryS

Done. Small donation made (too old to work apparently at 60).

Dec 18, 2011 at 2:43 PM | Unregistered CommenterJeremy Poynton

"Since this happened in Britain, where apparently all the laws are the exact opposite of what we have in the US, perhaps he is a hero there. Perhaps that is why we had a Revolution and kicked Limey butt over two centuries ago, and perhaps it is why we've had to bail the British out of trouble in major wars twice."

Oh dear. That would be the same USA that was still trading with Berlin whilst we stood alone in the free world against the greatest fighting machine the world had ever seen.

Dear, dear me. You wear your arrogance like a nappy. It stinks.

Dec 18, 2011 at 2:49 PM | Unregistered CommenterJeremy Poynton

£100 on it's way to Tallbloke. Greg Laden should know that there's a huge difference between "suspect" and "guilty" and Tallbloke is not even a suspect!

Dec 18, 2011 at 2:49 PM | Registered CommenterVieras

Minor rant. Because I'm not where Paypal thinks I'm supposed to be, they put my donation into dispute and froze my account. Bizarrely, as part of their anti-fraud process, they asked me to change my password which is something that someone who'd compromised my account would be happy to do. I can apparently enable it again with a callback to my UK landline, but that would be challenging as I'm not in the UK.. But that wouldn't necessarily be a problem because I could give them a new number. So what's the point? Their systems seem about as secure and fraud resistant as the UEA's.

Dec 18, 2011 at 3:07 PM | Unregistered CommenterAtomic Hairdryer

Martin A,

The principle you refer to is called "champerty", but re: Mike Jackson's comment and based on what I can discover of the precise circumstances in this case (i.e., non-refundable donations, etc.), the risk would appear to be extremely negligible, although not nil.

Dec 18, 2011 at 3:12 PM | Unregistered CommenterIan

The visceral hatred coming from the likes of Laden surely says more about him and his ilk than about the objects of his bile! I cannot help thinking that many warmists must have been sadly deprived of mother love in their early years. Personally, I hate some of the warmists' "crimes" against science, truth and integrity - and I'm very sorry that their mummies were not better mums!

Dec 18, 2011 at 3:22 PM | Unregistered CommenterIan E

I wouldn't bother suing anyone, tempting as it may be. Michael Mann's legal antics make him look like a desperate bully, which of course he is. So do Laden's rantings. Any sane person reading Laden's and tallbloke's blogs can only be struck by the contrast, and come to the appropriate conclusion.

Dec 18, 2011 at 3:28 PM | Unregistered CommenterNeil McEvoy

If there is indeed a tiny chance of all of us who have donated to tallbloke's fund ebing made liable for costs, then I say: bring it on!
In the first place, the number of contributors is growing all the time, and contributors are living ll over the world, not just in the UK. This would be a fine wasp's nest for the judge to get entangled in.

Secondly, the outrage would speed across the globe and would get a number of human rights people involved, on top of us evil 'denialists'. And that would become quickly an entirely different kettle of fish.

Oh - and if they should try to make us liable for payment, and we refuse to comply - hey, they can't throw all of us into jail. After all, they didn't even manage to jail all the rioters - and so many of us aren't even living in the UK.

May I take this opportunity to say again how deeply moved I am by the huge response of so many, from the top bloggers like Steve McIntyre down to those who say they usually just lurk. Great people, every one of them!

Dec 18, 2011 at 4:03 PM | Unregistered CommenterViv Evans

Please, before this goes nuclear, can we give the Norfolk police the opportunity - WITHIN DAYS - to return Tallbloke's property to him, thank him for his cooperation, and apologise for any inconvenience caused.

I am not at all sure that this is the place for the final battle of the climate wars, and that a good, honest and decent man may suffer from it.

(Note to any police reading this - the key is "within days")

Dec 18, 2011 at 4:07 PM | Unregistered CommenterRoger Longstaff

I think the primary area of focus should be to be to protect Tallbloke from the actions of the police. This is the most pressing issue. The libel incident does not seem to rise very high in the initial list of priorities. Also, its very hard to win a libel case in the US. It seems like its possible to win in the UK, but collecting a judgement in the US would then be very difficult.

Dec 18, 2011 at 4:28 PM | Unregistered Commentermpaul


"It seems like its possible to win in the UK, but collecting a judgement in the US would then be very difficult."

Indeed, recent legislation in the US against "libel tourism" makes it impossible to enforce UK libel judgments across the pond. However, a successful prosecution in the UK would be enforceable against non-US earnings and property, dependent on jurisdiction. Tallbloke and his solicitor will of course be aware of this.

Dec 18, 2011 at 4:45 PM | Unregistered CommenterIan

"Welcome to the School of Computing Sciences. We are one of the top computing science departments in the UK..."

There must be a great many extremely capable, potential whistleblowers on campus yet they persecute Tallbloke.

As to Greg saying, "...I consider every one of them to be a criminal in their own sick little way...", it seems he thinks that rewriting the dictionary would be a defence should an action for defamation be brought against him.

Dec 18, 2011 at 4:56 PM | Unregistered Commentermfosdb

I do agree that the police position is the most precarious. From whjat I have been reading over the past few years, libel has a much lower threshold in the UK than the US, but "damages" are correspondingly lower as well, e.g., most often a public apology and small fine is enacted. It seems too, that Canada has a similar low threshold as the UK, but "damages" can be as high in the US, hence Mann's choice for suing Tim Ball.

Please correct me if I'm wrong on this, however.

Either way, the potential for the abuse of power claim would fall under entirely different criteria than libel. Lawsuits in these areas can be huge, anywhere. At least in the US, juries like to stick it to the man on occasion, just out of spite.


Dec 18, 2011 at 5:08 PM | Unregistered CommenterMark T

QUITE A SHOW! Been over to WUWT, and was absolutely amazed the Greg was so stupid as to libel a contributor to his own blog.

daveburton says

Do you think that’s funny, Greg? Changing my words to say the opposite of what I wrote, and attributing them to me?
When the Tamino and the Yale Climate Forum simply delete skeptical material, to promote The Cause, it is a shame, and very telling about their (lack of) confidence in the strength of their positions, but they are within their rights. But Greg Laden is far worse. He deliberately lied about what I wrote, and I have no doubt at all that his libel of Roger was likewise deliberate.

My, my Greg. That is such a libel that can be sued in just about any jurisdiction, where ever you hide.

Not smart, not smart at all. Roger's attorney (I assume a barrister will be involved) will roast him in court with the clearly libelous action. Doing it once can be excused, but not a when such action occurs a second time like this.

Pass the popcorn Atomic Hairdryer -- this is going to be a fun show to watch!

Dec 18, 2011 at 5:13 PM | Unregistered CommenterDon Pablo de la Sierra

Mark T

I have no doubt that Greg libeled Roger, and clearly did the same to Dave Burton. In the USA, you can be sued for such action in both where it was created as well as viewed. If this case gets to a US court, which I doubt it will, Greg will have a tough time paying.

Dec 18, 2011 at 5:20 PM | Unregistered CommenterDon Pablo de la Sierra

TerryS: I hope there's not another one, else there's bound to be a fight!

Dec 18, 2011 at 5:35 PM | Unregistered Commentergeronimo

Fenbeagle's on the job!

Dec 18, 2011 at 6:18 PM | Unregistered CommenterAdam Gallon

US law sets a higher bar for libel when the plaintiff is a 'public figure'. Wikipedia says:

"Public figure is a legal term applied in the context of defamation actions (libel and slander) as well as invasion of privacy. A public figure (such as a politician, celebrity, or business leader) cannot base a lawsuit on incorrect harmful statements unless there is proof that the writer or publisher acted with actual malice (knowledge of falsity or reckless disregard for the truth[1] ). The burden of proof in defamation actions is higher in the case of a public figure.

"The controlling precedent in the United States was set in 1964 by the United States Supreme Court in New York Times Co. v. Sullivan. It is considered a key decision in supporting the First Amendment and freedom of the press.

"A fairly high threshold of public activity is necessary to elevate people to public figure status. Typically, they must either be:

- a public figure, either a public official or any other person pervasively involved in public affairs, or
- a limited purpose public figure, meaning those who have "thrust themselves to the forefront of particular public controversies in order to influence the resolution of the issues involved."

In his case against the police action, I hope that Tallbloke argues that he is a member of the press and a prominent voice in a matter of public importance. But, such an argument will establish (before a US court) that Tallbloke is a public figure. So I think a libel suit brought in a US jurisdiction is a loser.

Dec 18, 2011 at 6:35 PM | Unregistered Commentermpaul


You need to pay attention to the exception:

cannot base a lawsuit on incorrect harmful statements unless there is proof that the writer or publisher acted with actual malice (knowledge of falsity or reckless disregard for the truth[1] ).

While Greg could have claimed that he was merely assuming that the Norfork police had sufficient evidence that Roger was a thief, his subsequent actions with Dave Burton shows a tendency to act with actual malice (knowledge of falsity or reckless disregard for the truth[1] ) "

In short, Greg did real harm to his defense in a US court should the court declare Roger a public figure.

I somehow doubt that the case will get to a US court unless there is a pro bono American lawyer out there. But Greg could be in real trouble should that happen. As it is, he is not going to visit the UK for a very long time indeed because he will be in contempt of the UK court if he does not pay up the judgement.

And the whole world will know that he was found guilty of liable.

Now, Dave Burton has a real case, should he want to push the issue in the US.

Dec 18, 2011 at 7:09 PM | Unregistered CommenterDon Pablo de la Sierra

Neil McEvoy Dec 18, 2011 at 3:28 PM

I wouldn't bother suing anyone, tempting as it may be. Michael Mann's legal antics make him look like a desperate bully, which of course he is. So do Laden's rantings. Any sane person reading Laden's and tallbloke's blogs can only be struck by the contrast, and come to the appropriate conclusion.

I have to agree. I headed over to "scienceblogs" to have a look and it struck me as another desperate piece from yet another ranting climate zealot. Even more amusing was that they don't seem to have gathered any new "footsoldiers" in the comments since last I visited a zealot site. Same tired bilge from the same tired old campaigners. Seems they just can't move on.

As to legally fighting the Police, I really don't see that as a starter. I'm sure the paperwork had every 't' crossed and every 'i' dotted. Like it or not, the Norfolk Police were tasked with investigating and that is what they are doing. I'm sure they were all hoping it would just die quietly after two years and then along comes CGII.

Anyways ... I'm not in the legal profession and neither am I Tallbloke.

Dec 18, 2011 at 7:33 PM | Unregistered Commenter3x2

Oh no, in my haste I forgot to close my blockquote (end of first para)
[Done. BH}

Dec 18, 2011 at 7:35 PM | Unregistered Commenter3x2

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