In 1993 The Free Press published a book by the American scholar Deborah E. Lipstadt entitled Denying the Holocaust: The Growing Assault on Truth and Memory. The following year Penguin Books published a paperback edition of the book in the United Kingdom. Holocaust denier David Irving complained to Penguin in 1995 about references to him in the book, and in 1996 Irving issued a writ claiming damages for libel, naming Penguin, Professor Lipstadt, and four booksellers as defendants.
Given the complexities of the case, it was agreed that it should be tried by a judge alone. Mr. Justice Gray of the High Court of Justice, Queen’s Bench Division, was assigned. The trial opened in London on January 11, 2000, with closing speeches heard on March 15. Mr. Justice Gray delivered the verdict on April 11 in favor of the publisher and the professor: “there must be judgment for the Defendants.” These words concluded a nearly 350-page document of which the Times of London wrote: “History has had its day in court, and scored a crushing victory against Mr. Irving’s ideologically motivated abuse of the intellectual discipline of which he is a master. The case has indeed been a victory for free speech, and truth as well.”