Lidl must pay the legal costs of the Irish Farmers' Association over the supermarket's chain's failed attempt to prevent the republication of allegedly defamatory IFA advertisements, the High Court has ruled.
Two weeks ago the court rejected Lidl Gmbh’s application for an order prohibiting republication pending a full hearing of the defamation claim which will be heard before a jury.
Mr Justice Senan Allen ruled Lidl had not met the statutory threshold for granting the injunction sought under the Defamation Act 2009.
Lidl took the case over two ads published last March in the national media and online relating to claims about the use of Lidl’s own-brand names for certain food products which the IFA said were fictitious brands which misled customers about origin.
The IFA, along with its president Tim Cullinan and deputy president Brian Rushe, who are also defendants, deny defamation.
They opposed the injunction application and contested the meanings of the ads contended for by Lidl.
Mr Justice Allen put back the question of who should be awarded costs in order to hear argument from the parties on that matter.
On Friday counsel for the IFA argued costs should be awarded against Lidl while Lidl’s counsel urged the judge to make them “costs in the cause”, meaning costs would be decided later, having taken into account the outcome of the defamation proceedings.
The judge believed the IFA side was right in relation to the discrete issue the court had been asked to deal with, and was satisfied he could determine the injunction costs at this stage.
As the IFA had prevailed entirely, he would, for that reason, award costs against Lidl, he ruled.