Lisa Pryor settles defamation case against Financial Review and Mark Latham

Author and journalist Lisa Pryor has settled her defamation case against The Australian Financial Review and controversial former Labor leader Mark Latham over a column he penned entitled "Why left feminists don't like kids".

Lisa Pryor has settled her defamation case against the AFR and Mark Latham.
Lisa Pryor has settled her defamation case against the AFR and Mark Latham. Photo: Steven Siewert

Dr Pryor, a former opinion editor and columnist at The Sydney Morning Herald who is now a doctor, took legal action against the newspaper and Mr Latham in March last year after the column was published in November 2014.

Her legal team had argued the column conveyed a number of defamatory meanings, including that "the plaintiff, a mother, does not love her children".

Former Labor leader Mark Latham, who was being sued by Lisa Pryor.
Former Labor leader Mark Latham, who was being sued by Lisa Pryor. Photo: Rob Homer

Mr Latham's piece was a response to a column by Ms Pryor for the Good Weekend magazine, in which Dr Pryor wrote that her response to questions about how she balances raising two small children and studying medicine full-time was: "Caffeine and antidepressants".

The trial was slated to start on April 18 before a jury and run for a week. But after a mediation on March 1 the parties reached an undisclosed settlement and the Financial Review published an apology on Tuesday.

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"A number of people, including Dr Pryor, understood the article as unfairly criticising her as a mother," the Financial Review wrote. 

"No such meaning was intended. The Financial Review acknowledges that the article caused her substantial hurt and distress and sincerely apologises to her for that."

Dr Pryor said in a statement that the proceedings had been "settled to my satisfaction at a mediation".

"I am pleased with the outcome and the apology I have received from Fairfax."

The Financial Review said it was pleased the matter had concluded.

In a preliminary ruling, Justice Lucy McCallum had said in her view it was "generally expected that a mother should love her children" and the jury should determine whether the column "goes so far as to attribute Ms Pryor with the unmotherly state of mind identified" as well as "whether to say that of a mother is defamatory".