Highlands & Islands

Guest house owners lose appeal in bid to sue TripAdvisor reviewers

The owners of a guest house have lost an appeal in their bid to obtain the details of the writers of two bad reviews on the TripAdvisor website.

Martin and Jacqui Clark, who run the business in Kinlochleven, maintain that one report was false and that another set out events that were fictional.

The Court of Session ruled in February that Scottish courts had no jurisdiction over the US-based website.

The ruling has now been backed by appeal judges.

The Clarks, who run the Tigh-Na-Cheo guest house, wanted to sue the writer, or writers, of the reviews for defamation.

The authors of the unfavourable reviews used the pseudonyms dreckit Manchester and edna B London.

The Clarks asked the Court of Session in Edinburgh to make an order for TripAdvisor to disclose the names, addresses and other information they have on the identity of the authors.

In February, judge Paul Arthurson QC rejected the couple's move, saying: "I conclude that the approach contended for on behalf of the petitioners (the Clarks) would require the court in turn to make a rather alarming entirely global assertion of jurisdiction."

The couple appealed against the ruling, but Lady Paton, who heard the challenge with Lord Menzies and Lord Drummond Young, backed Mr Arthurson's original ruling.

Lady Paton said: "Nothing in the respondents' (TripAdviisor) terms and conditions suggests that the respondents have undertaken to be bound by the orders issued by a Scottish court.

"The Scottish courts do not have jurisdiction over the respondents, who are a company incorporated under the law of the state of Massachusetts."

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