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Seddons secures substantial damages for client in defamation case against Thomson Reuters

Partner Mark Lewis was instructed by Maajid Nawaz following his wrongful inclusion in the 'terrorism' category on Thomson Reuters World-Check

Leading West End law firm Seddons has won a significant libel battle against multinational media and information company Thomson Reuters. Seddons Partner Mark Lewis was instructed by Maajid Nawaz, Founder of Quilliam, following his wrongful inclusion in the “terrorism” category on Thomson Reuters World-Check. Thomson Reuters has now admitted that Maajid Nawaz should never have been listed in this category and has agreed to pay significant damages for the harm that has been caused to his personal and professional reputation.

The legal action followed a 2016 VICE News investigation which revealed the profile held on Mr Nawaz in the Thomson Reuters World-Check database included him in the “terrorism” category. Before this point Mr Nawaz had been unaware that this profile existed despite this false information being widely available to the government agencies and banks that subscribe to the database. Thomson Reuters has since removed Mr Nawaz from the category and issued a public apology.

Mark Lewis, Privacy and Defamation Partner at Seddons, commented:

“There is a very secret underworld where sensitive information is passed around by World-Check to banks, governments and professional advisors. The victims often do not know why they are treated as pariahs, yet they are refused banking facilities and accountancy and legal services without any explanation. These secret actions can have the most detrimental effects on people’s lives and the worst thing is that they do not know. Everyone in every country should make a request to World-Check to find out what is held about them. Quite often it is wrong and can be the cause of that damage which until now was mysterious.”

Mr Nawaz is the founding chairman of Quilliam, a counter-extremism think tank established in 2007 to challenge the narratives of Islamic extremists. He is also an activist, author, columnist and broadcast journalist, hosting a weekly radio show on LBC. He was a Liberal Democrat parliamentary candidate in the 2015 general election.

Thomson Reuters World-Check is a commercial database which profiles individuals and organisations, including charities, religious institutions and activists, to uncover their “hidden risk”, using open-source information. The confidential risk intelligence service is a subscription-only service, used by government agencies and banks.

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