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  19 June 1997 1.30 p.m.


Paul Preston, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of McDonald's Restaurants Limited (UK), welcomed today's judgment in the High Court legal action brought by McDonald's to establish that serious allegations made against the company were libellous.

Mr Preston made the following statement today:

"We are, as you can imagine, broadly satisfied with the judgment given this morning. For the sake of our employees and our customers, we wanted to show these serious allegations to be false and I am pleased that we have done so.

There are aspects of the judgment which we will have to review and we will do so when we have been able to study the full ruling in detail. However it is clear that the judgment confirms what we have always known, that the allegations are untrue.

The fact that it has taken three years out of the lives of so many people also gives cause for concern. The length of the trial raises important issues about the cost of justice and the speed with which it can be dispensed.

We welcome the public debate over Lord Woolf's proposals to reform the Civil Justice system, especially with regard to the recommendation to allow the judiciary to limit the cost and length of civil litigation. There is, of course, a difficult balancing act between fairness and speed, but anyone who has been to court knows there is both a financial and emotional cost to litigation; this must be considered when examining now the system works.

We brought this case to protect a reputation trusted by millions of customers every day. This judgment represents a thorough audit of our business. We have not yet had time to study the full text, however, based on the overwhelming evidence given in support of our case, we believe that our employees and customers will be reassured by the judgment given today."


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McDonald's Restaurants Limited