McLibel case

McDonald's Corporation v Steel & Morris [1997] EWHC QB 366, known as "the McLibel case", was an English lawsuit for libel filed by McDonald's Corporation against environmental activists Helen Steel and David Morris (often referred to as "The McLibel Two") over a factsheet critical of the company. Each of two hearings in English courts found some of the leaflet's contested claims to be libellous and others to be true.

McLibel case
Full case nameMcDonald's Corp v Steel (No.4)
Decided19 June 1997
Case history
Prior action(s)McDonald's Corporation v Steel & Morris (Trial) and 3 procedural appeals (McDonald's Corp v Steel No.1 - 3)
Subsequent action(s)Steel & Morris v United Kingdom
Court membership
Judge(s) sittingPill LJ, May LJ, Keene J
Subsequent ECHR decision
CourtEuropean Court of Human Rights (Fourth Section)
Full case nameSteel & Morris v United Kingdom
Decided15 February 2005
Citation(s)application no. 68416/01
Court membership
Judge(s) sittingM. Pellonpää (President)
Keywords
Freedom of expression, libel, legal aid

The original case lasted nearly ten years which, according to the BBC, made it the longest-running libel case in English history.[1] McDonald's announced it did not plan to collect the £40,000 it was awarded by the courts.[2] Following the decision, the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) ruled in Steel & Morris v United Kingdom the pair had been denied a fair trial, in breach of Article 6 of the European Convention on Human Rights (right to a fair trial) and their conduct should have been protected by Article 10 of the Convention, which protects the right to freedom of expression. The court awarded a judgement of £57,000 against the UK government.[3] McDonald's itself was not involved in, or a party to, this action, as applications to the ECHR are independent cases filed against the relevant state.

Franny Armstrong and Ken Loach made a documentary film, McLibel, about the case.