Kirkegaard v Smith

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Overview

If tl;dr, below is a summary of Kirkegaard v Smith by my solicitor:

Overview of Kirkegaard v Smith (December 7 2018 – May 21 2020). Litigation ended on September 28 2021, when the final costs certificate was served. Emil Kirkegaard owes me £35,971.67 in costs, but still refuses to pay.

Timeline

Timeline of Kirkegaard v Smith. Legal documents can be read or downloaded here.

Background

On December 14 2017, Emil Kirkegaard creepily uploaded a photo of me (no older than 13) with a caption (“pedophile”), to his blog. Aside from this copyright infringement (the image was uploaded without my permission not under fair use) the caption is a malicious falsehood. I am not a paedophile and despite smearing me as a “pedo” for years – Kirkegaard has never presented a shred of evidence, which I think speaks for itself. I soon discovered Kirkegaard uploaded the same photo to image-hosting sites including Imgur and Pinata. I subsequently sent DMCA complaints (take-down notices) to these sites and his blog with a cease and desist letter. Kirkegaard later had his accounts disabled for ToS violation, but he refuses to remove the photo from his blog. Although banned from two image-hosting sites – Kirkegaard creates new accounts on them to re-upload the same photo and was banned again (see below). I got fed up with the online harassment; in January 2018 I started to look into his internet history.

In May 2021, Pinata permanently disabled Emil Kirkegaard’s account after I sent a DMCA complaint by email.

It is often the case individuals who make unfounded allegations of paedophilia about others are either: paedophiles themselves (i.e., psychological projection), delusional (such as QAnon believers), insecure, or hold disagreeable views and are trying to hide them. In Kirkegaard’s case, I found out the latter – he has a deeply unpleasant digital footprint of claiming he wants to legalise possession of child pornography and reduce age of consent to 11-year old children. He wrote these sickening comments when he was in his early 20s (which have come back to haunt him years later). In one comment he even described age of consent a “fiction”. In 2013, Kirkegaard admitted to viewing child pornography (by accessing illegal websites on a Danish child pornography filter). In January 2018, I wrote comments about some of these distasteful posts I read which were my honestly held opinion – Kirkegaard reacted by suing me for libel. He seems therefore to be someone who ‘can dish it out, but can’t take it’ meaning a narcissist.

Letter before claim

Kirkegaard sent me a letter before claim, unsolicited by email and post in August 2018.

Kirkegaard v Smith

Kirkegaard filed a defamation lawsuit against me on December 7 2018. He had filed the case through Samuels Solicitors in the High Court of Justice (QBD) claiming £40,000 in general damages and an injunction to prevent me repeating online comments complained of. Despite being litigious, sending me legal threats by email and filing a frivolous libel suit – Kirkegaard lied on his social media (claiming he would never use “libel laws” and he’s sceptical of them):

Emil Kirkegaard outright lying on his social media he would never use “libel laws” – Kirkegaard has a history of legally threatening different people (examples here and here) and he sent me unsolicited legal threats by email. In August 2017, he legally threatened the RationalWiki Foundation over his article (see here) but he denies this (despite there are emails with legal threats in his name). His persona online says he supports “strong freedom of speech”, but this is a façade. He filed a lawsuit against me for holding a honest opinion about him he disliked.

Particulars of claim

He wrongly accused me in his particulars of claim (PoC) of saying he is a “sexual abuser of children” in four posts; one on my Twitter account, on January 11 2018, three on The Unz Review, on February 3 and 4 2018 (Kirkegaard v Smith [2019] EWHC 3393 (QB) [13, 15, 17, 19]. I disagreed with him on meanings of all the comments; it was clear to me he was taking them out of context to misconstrue their meanings to be extreme as possible and lied to his solicitor. For this reason, and the fact I am collection-proof (the money I raised for my legal costs was crowdfunded) it was evident from the outset a frivolous case filed to harass me as an adversary. On April 5 2019, Kirkegaard uploaded a letter my solicitor sent him by email (without our permission) on his blog, seemingly not aware it proves he is a vexatious litigant:

Our client does not have any significant assets and is currently on state benefits. Therefore, even if your claim were successful, our client would be unable to pay and judgment received against him. The costs your client will incur in continuing such a claim against our client would not be proportionate or justified.

The Unz Review

Two of my comments complained of on The Unz Review contained hyperlinks (Kirkegaard v Smith supra [34, 37a–c]) but Kirkegaard ignored these to distort the meanings of these posts.

Twitter

My single post on Twitter complained of, “formed part of a thread of tweets which has since been deleted” (Kirkegaard v Smith supra [32, 59]). Kirkegaard, however, failed to mention this which misconstrued its true meaning – it should have been read in context of the thread.

Preliminary issues hearing

On February 8 2019, my solicitor sent a letter to Kirkegaard requesting a preliminary issues hearing* to determine the actual meanings of my four comments since we strongly disagreed. Kirkegaard agreed to the preliminary issues hearing (to avoid a costly trial) and his skeleton argument was more or less a repeat of the untruthful claims made in his claim form and PoC.

*The preliminary hearing would determine “natural and ordinary meaning of the words complained of, which is the meaning that the hypothetical reasonable reader would understand the words bear” (Kirkegaard v Smith supra [21]).

Letter sent to Emil Kirkegaard on February 8 2019 requesting a preliminary hearing.

Adjourned hearing

The hearing on three preliminary issues took place on May 22 2019 but it was unfortunately adjourned. A careless error was made by the first solicitor firm I hired (Smith v Debenhams Ottaway) and I was ordered to pay back Kirkegaard £6,778 in costs (I hired Keidan Harrison after I dropped Debenhams Ottaway). I disputed this costs order because the adjourning was not my fault. It was the result of poor service by the firm and I subsequently complained to the Legal Ombudsman. My complaint was successful. I was reimbursed £6,778 (+ £200.00 VAT) and awarded compensation (£750.00) for distress because Kirkegaard filed an unless order against me, despite I had clear reasons to contest it; as pointed out by the ombudsman:

“Having considered these costs, my view is that they would not have been incurred if the firm’s service had been reasonable to start with. This is because the unless order would not have been required if the firm’s service had been reasonable as the costs order would have never been made.”

Preliminary hearing

Months later, the preliminary hearing was relisted and it took place on November 26 2019. The judgment was made public on December 11 2019 (but I had private access about a week earlier). Unsurprisingly, Kirkegaard lost on two out of three preliminary issues, including the meanings of my posts and whether they were written as statements of fact, or expressions of opinion. The judge Julian Knowles was unequivocal: “I reject the Claimant’s submissions and accept the Defendant’s submissions” (Kirkegaard v Smith [2019] EWHC 3393 (QB) [57]). He further noted to understand meanings, hyperlinks and the whole posts must be taken into consideration and criticised the Claimant for taking at least one of my posts out of context by ignoring the hyperlinks and focusing on only one sentence (Kirkegaard v Smith supra [63]):

“As I have explained, in order to determine whether Post 2 contains an expression of opinion or statement of fact it is necessary to consider the words complained in the context in which they appear, namely the whole post by the Defendant, including the hyperlinked material. It is artificial for the Claimant to take a single sentence out of context: cf. Greenstein, supra, [29].”

In other words, hyperlinks were important when determining meanings of my posts (as well as the issue of fact versus opinion). The judge recognised none of my posts meant Kirkegaard is a “sexual abuser of children” nor would a reasonable reader think the same. Kirkegaard’s extreme claim was struck out and since all my posts meant something less severe they would almost certainly fail to meet the “serious harm” threshold for libel (under §1 of Defamation Act 2013). In good faith, I will not repeat the actual meanings of my four comments but they can be read in the preliminary judgment (Kirkegaard v Smith supra [61, 65, 68, 71]), or 5RB.

Emil Kirkegaard lost the hearing on preliminary issues including (a) the meanings my comments complained of and (b), whether they were made as statements of fact or opinion. The judge rejected Kirkegaard’s submissions.

Provocation

My defence at the hearing mentioned provocation by the Claimant whose website contained malicious falsehoods about me that predated all my posts (Kirkegaard v Smith supra [41b]):

“The Claimant is a weird and vindictive individual due to his conduct in repeatedly smearing and attacking the Defendant on the Claimant’s website.”

Kirkegaard deceptively tried to conceal the evidence of provocation by deleting the date he began maligning me on his blog – December 14 2017 (which predated my four posts he sued me for writing), as well as changing a time-stamp on the photo he uploaded (infringing my copyright). However, I had screenshots (before his modifications), I provided to my solicitor. This did not look good for him at the preliminary hearing, especially since I had irrefutable evidence of provocation, mitigating his claims for damages. I filed a DMCA and defamation report against Kirkegaard’s blog, as early as January 4 2018 (again, predating the four posts). My solicitor wrote to Kirkegaard on May 11 2020, asking him to remove the “picture of our client with the caption pedophile”, but he refused – my only option to remove it is to sue him.

Screenshot of Emil Kirkegaard’s blog post about me showing its publication date he now hides.

(No) “serious harm” and honest opinion

The only claim of Kirkegaard’s that survived the preliminary hearing was my comments were “defamatory of the Claimant at common law”* (his other two claims were rejected) but this should not be confused with statute law – Defamation Act 2013 which requires under section 1, “serious harm” and damage to reputation. As clarified by the judge: “For the avoidance of doubt, I am not deciding the question of serious harm under s 1 of the Defamation Act 2013” (Kirkegaard v Smith supra [62]). So there was never a ruling my comments caused damage to his reputation – the meanings of my comments were not in toto defamatory (i.e., not libel under statute law). I also had the legal defence of honest opinion (Defamation Act 2013, §3) and his case had no merit for reasons my solicitor outlined in a letter, sent December 4 2019 (see below) which mentions, “our client was the successful party and your client’s claim no longer stands a reasonable prospect of success”, “posts complained of are clearly expressions of opinion” and “meaning of the words [in the posts] was much lower than you had pleaded”.

*The distinction between defamation in English common law and statute law (DA 2013) is sometimes made in case law; as an example, Corbyn v Millett [2021] EWCA Civ 567 [9–10]. The threshold for the former is much lower (and it does not require “serious harm” i.e., damage to reputation). Had the summary judgment gone ahead, I would have defended my four comments as honest opinion; §3 of DA 2013 replaced the old common law defence of fair comment.

Letter sent to Emil Kirkegaard requesting discontinuance since the judge struck out most his claims.

Defamation Act 2013

The reason for the reform of libel law under Defamation Act 2013 was to prevent trivial cases going to court (and prevent so-called libel tourism). Under English common law there is no “entirely satisfactory definition of the word defamatory” (Berkoff v Burchill & Anor [1996] EWCA Civ 564). Generally speaking, defamation under common law as understood in case law – is a publication complained of that affects in an adverse manner the attitude of other individuals towards the claimant (Berkoff supra). This says nothing about nor even requires reputational damage, which is the threshold for libel under statute law; thus an explanatory note to Defamation Act 2013, §1 makes clear the statute “raises the bar for bringing a claim so that only cases involving serious harm to the claimant’s reputation can be brought”. This was clarified in Monroe v Hopkins, “unless serious harm to reputation can be established an injury to feelings alone, however grave, will not be sufficient” ([2017] EWHC 433 (QB), [67]).

My comments were not ruled to be statements of fact but expressions of opinion (with a basis in hyperlinked sources) so the burden of proof shifted onto the Claimant to prove they were not honest. In contrast, statements of fact in libel cases are presumed false unless proven to be substantially true by the defendant (Defamation Act 2013, §2). I did not choose the latter legal defence in Kirkegaard v Smith because all of my comments were expressions of opinion and this meant they were neither true nor false and unverifiable. Kirkegaard wrongly pleaded in his PoC my posts were statements of fact (Kirkegaard v Smith supra [54]) based again on ignoring hyperlinked sources. After the preliminary hearing, he failed to prove I did not hold the honestly held opinion. On May 11 2020, my solicitor wrote to him by email pointing out he had repeatedly failed to provide this evidence – my defence of honest opinion was upheld.

Possible defences under the Defamation Act 2013 – I chose honest opinion (§3) and was successful. Diagram from Sarah Green and Jodi Gardner, Tort Law (Bloomsbury Publishing, 2021) who cite Kirkegaard v Smith.

Costs order

Costs order dated December 10 2019. Kirkegaard was ordered to pay me £13,500.00.

On December 10 2019, Kirkegaard was ordered to pay 50% of my legal costs (£13,500 out of £27,000) up to the preliminary judgment but this had to be offset against £6,778 I owed him for the adjourned hearing, leaving him with a net-sum debt of £6,722.00 (but as mentioned above I was reimbursed £6,978*). He missed the 14-day deadline to pay me but he made an application to pay installments of £500.00; an amended costs order (dated March 10 2020) was based on his application. Unsurprisingly he breached this order by more noncompliance.

*I also complained to the Legal Ombudsman to be refunded costs for the unless order Kirkegaard filed against me. I was successful and got back an additional £5,474.00 + £201.60 (Smith v Debenhams Ottaway). This means with the £6,978 reimbursement and £750.00 awarded compensation, I can in fact recover 77% of my legal costs = £20,125.60.

Unless order

For failing to pay twice, I filed on April 8 2020 for an unless order to get the lawsuit thrown out. This order was for £6,722.00. The unless order came into effect on April 23 2020 (I only have a draft copy). Kirkegaard had 7-days to pay me the total sum, otherwise the case would be dismissed pending a court hearing. He missed the deadline and breached the unless order. On September 15 2020, my solicitor wrote to him asking for the £6,722.00 debt to be paid in full and pointed out I would file an application for him to face contempt of court proceedings.

Emil Kirkegaard is in contempt of court for breaching a costs order and not paying me £6,722.00.

Summary judgment and discontinuance

I filed for summary judgment to take place on the same day as the unless order hearing. The summary judgment hearing was supposed to take place on June 2 2020, but on May 21 2020 (11-days before) Kirkegaard signed a notice of discontinuance and he dropped the case (both unless order and summary judgment hearings were cancelled). On May 11 2020, he conceded to my solicitor his claim had no merit because my comments would almost certainly fail to meet the “serious harm” threshold for libel plus I had a strong legal defence; he couldn’t win:

On May 11 2020, Emil Kirkegaard admitted his claim against me was bound to fail as my comments would almost certainly fail to meet the “serious harm” requirement for libel under §1 of the Defamation Act 2013.

No damages or injunction

Kirkegaard was not awarded any damages nor an injunction since he discontinued.

Emil Kirkegaard’s misleading claim about discontinuance

A statement on the outcome. Kirkegaard refused to post this on his blog and misleadingly says he did not lose.

Kirkegaard has put his own ‘spin’ on the outcome of the lawsuit. In November 2020 he said on The Unz Review he did not lose the case since he discontinued; this claim is misleading at best. It is actually a lie since Kirkegaard conceded to my solicitor he had no chance of success after the preliminary judgment, which he lost. Contrary to what he is now incorrectly saying online, I do not equivocate when I point out he “lost” the lawsuit – he discontinued knowing he would have lost the summary judgment, so he did lose. What he admitted to my solicitor by letter and what he claims in public are very different things, revealing how dishonest he is.

Sources relied upon for honest opinion

Looking back four years on – I do acknowledge I should have worded things less abrasively, however, a reasonable reader should grasp the basis of my opinions. There was no intent to deceive nor any maliciousness when I made them (they were honest and different individuals formed similar opinions to me; for example, Stewart Lee in The Guardian). The basis of my opinions were Emil Kirkegaard’s own writings including two blog posts on his site and a few comments he wrote on an article by Rick Falkvinge and a wiki; these remain among the most abhorrent I have read online and he attracted negative publicity in British tabloids (January 2018). In two comments I was sued for, I mentioned these newspaper sources (Kirkegaard v Smith supra [18, 34]). Kirkegaard, deceptively, went on a deletion-spree* in 2018 to remove his blog posts as he realised I could rely on them for a honest opinion legal defence. Too bad for him, there were webpage captures before deletion (see below) and my solicitor read them.

*It is no coincidence Kirkegaard deleted his two blog posts about a month before he sent me legal threats by email and a letter before claim in August – September 2018. Webpage captures of these posts can be read here, here, here and are discussed here. In the preliminary hearing, he erroneously argued a reasonable reader would not have read these hyperlinks (Kirkegaard v Smith supra [53]). The judge rejected his argument and highlighted their importance.

Emil Kirkegaard’s writings on child pornography

Disagreeable blog post #1 (which is a 3000-word PDF; the above is a snippet). Emil Kirkegaard defended legalising possession of animated/drawings of child porn in countries such as Sweden where it is banned.

Disagreeable blog post #2. Emil Kirkegaard wrote as a suggested “compromise” paedophiles could have “sex with a sleeping child without them knowing it” and it “is difficult to see how they cud [sic] be harmed, even if it is rape”. On January 14 2018, he added a disclaimer to this post clarifying it “describes hypothetical scenarios and courses of action, not any actions endorsed or recommended by me either then or now”. Note: I never read this, prior to writing the comments complained of (one was posted on January 11 2018 before it even appeared).

Kirkegaard made some further disagreeable comments on an article about child porn by Rick Falkvinge; he defended legalising its possession and also wrote he thinks age of consent is a “fiction” which he favoured reducing to “13 years old or start of puberty, whichever comes first” (puberty begins on average about 11 in girls). So to summarise Kirkegaard’s unpleasant views up to the point in time* I wrote my four comments – he suggested as a “compromise” paedophiles could have sexual intercourse with a child asleep (but later clarified this was a hypothetical scenario, not an action encouraged by him), was sympathetic to decriminalising animated and real child pornography possession and a proponent of reducing age of consent laws. It was these blog posts and comments plus an edit he made on RationalWiki (quoted in Kirkegaard v Smith [2019] EWHC 3393 (QB) [37a–b]) I mostly based my honest opinion on.

*In December 2021, Kirkegaard claimed he changed his mind and no longer supported legalising possession of child pornography. However, as recent as December 8 2019 he was still sympathetic to legalising it. His sudden change in mind has likely to do with ‘damage control’ since I mentioned his disagreeable views on this topic in my legal defence.

Emil Kirkegaard’s writings on age of consent

One of the disagreeable comments Emil Kirkegaard wrote on an article by Rick Falkvinge. Kirkegaard described age of consent “fiction” and used an abhorrent analogy of babies. He favoured reducing age of consent laws to “13 years old or start of puberty” (the “Emil”, who posted this comment is Kirkegaard because he admitted this).

Summary of Emil Kirkegaard’s distasteful views on age of consent.

Kirkegaard is known to block people on Twitter who quote his own sickening words:

Emil Kirkegaard blocks anyone on Twitter who quotes his unpleasant views on age of consent.

Emil Kirkegaard’s writings on raping unconscious women

In one of my comments (Kirkegaard v Smith supra [37a]), I partly relied on a disagreeable edit Kirkegaard made on RationalWiki to form a honest opinion; he was claiming at the time:

“My remark was simply that if you have sex with someone while they are asleep and somehow don’t wake up from it and they never discover it later somehow, it is not likely for there to be any causal effects on mental health. How would there be?”

Kirkegaard in another creepy blog post has also argued that a man who rapes an unconscious woman is somewhat less culpable because a woman sleeping can not consent nor withhold consent – in his warped mind the woman asleep hasn’t been explicitly raped against her will:

English translation of a blog post Emil Kirkegaard wrote in Danish – in the post he argues raping a female when asleep is “not nearly as immoral as having sex with someone against their will” (contrasted to if they are awake).

Bill of costs and detailed assessment

The bill of costs (£22,906.12) was served with a notice of commencement to Kirkegaard on 8 July 2020 and included my costs spent post-preliminary judgment (December 11 2019), up to the date he discontinued the lawsuit (May 21 2020). Had Kirkegaard been reasonable and discontinued on/or before May 15 2020 (a week earlier) like my solicitor requested – the bill would have been £13,000.00. Instead, he made me unnecessarily incur nearly £10,000 extra costs as a vexatious litigant. If Kirkegaard discontinued five months earlier when my solicitor sent him a letter on December 4 2019, the bill of costs would have been nominal; he would have only been ordered to pay me a net-sum of £6,722.00 in costs (the same as unless order).

Detailed assessment

Kirkegaard disputed the bill of costs (and minor concessions by my solicitor decreased the bill to £22,536.32). He offered me meagre amounts of £8,315.20 and £11,500.00 – I rejected these offers respectively and later rebutted his points of dispute in the detailed assessment. He unwisely rejected my counter-offer (£19,058.90). My replies and sensible offer were filed by October 2 2020. With no agreement between us, a costs judge would decide the sum in a provisional assessment. In my replies, I stressed his unreasonable behaviour and justifiably said he must now “accept liability for the additional costs incurred as a result of his conduct”.

A summary of Emil Kirkegaard’s poor conduct: if he discontinued immediately after the preliminary judgment he would have had to pay me only £6,722.00 in legal costs. Instead, he proceeded for another five months as a vexatious litigant to cause me tens of thousands in unnecessary legal costs and put himself £35,971.67 in debt.

More of Emil Kirkegaard’s unpleasant writings come to light

In January 2021 someone found more of Kirkegaard’s digital footprint – on a forum he made disagreeable comments about child pornography. In one forum post, Kirkegaard linked to a child porn filter of illegal websites and said he had knowledge some “are still up and actually contain child porn” so he must have viewed the indecent images himself and then he tried to excuse this, by claiming “you have to actually look at it to know what you are talking about”. On the same forum thread he wrote he favoured legalising child pornography and in another thread, supported reducing age of consent, writing: “It is a stupid idea to have rigid age of consent or sexual-minimum age laws”. There are dozens more of these unsavoury posts – I was emailed a few by several individuals during the lawsuit. For example, Kirkegaard wrote two horrible blog posts, saying he wants to legalise incest and fight against “sexual morality”.

Emil Kirkegaard once linked to a child porn filter of illegal websites (URL is blanked) and must have viewed the indecent images. He then told users to cover their real IP address with a TOR-browser if viewing the child porn.

In another disagreeable forum post – Kirkegaard questioned the extent of how harmful child sex is primarily based on a controversial 1998 study which has been criticised and debunked:

Emil Kirkegaard in the past has questioned “about exactly how harmful” child sexual abuse is and quoted from an ultra-controversial study (Rind et al. 1998). This paper has been widely criticised and is scientifically invalid.

Provisional assessment

The provisional assessment was delayed until July 22 2021 because of coronavirus pandemic. Kirkegaard heavily lost the assessment; I was awarded £19,317.52 by costs judge and leading expert on the law of costs Mark Friston (£258.62 higher than my generous offer Kirkegaard rejected). Costs judges usually award around 70% but I was awarded 84% of my costs based on the fact I highlighted the Claimant’s unreasonable conduct and the judge penalised him. Under Civil Procedure Rule 44.4(3) costs are decided based on conduct of each party “before, as well as during the proceedings” as well as other factors. Kirkegaard had 21-days to appeal Friston’s decision for an oral hearing on costs but the period for challenging the assessment expired on September 7 2021 and he never even responded to the emails sent by my solicitor.

Email from my solicitor (dated August 17 2021) concerning the outcome of the provisional assessment.

Letter to the Senior Courts Costs Office

On September 8 2021, my solicitor sent a letter to the Senior Courts Costs Office (part of the High Court of Justice) about provisional assessment and applying for a final costs certificate:

Letter sent to the court noting £2,456.24 (= £583.74 + £1872.50) interest has to be added to the costs order. There is £107.00 additional interest (the final costs certificate took 20-days to be sealed by the Costs Office).

Notice of change

On September 7 2021, Kirkegaard’s solicitor filed a notice of change which meant they were no longer acting on his behalf and he was pro se. The final costs certificate was not yet served to him – I presume Samuel Solicitors dropped him as a client because of some disagreement, possibly over unpaid costs seeming as he never has paid mine and could have more creditors.

Final costs certificate

On 28 September 2021 the final costs certificate was served:

Final costs certificate showing Emil Kirkegaard owes me £26,686.43 in legal costs. This order does not include additional interest he owes (£2,563.24), nor the unless order (£6,722.00) he breached. His debt is £35,971.67.

A break-down of the final costs certificate:

  • £19,317.52 (84% of my costs in the bill).
  • £1,931.75 (additional payment).
  • £5,437.16 (100% of my costs spent drafting the bill of costs and assessment).*

*Under CPR 47.15(5) this includes: £1,500 + VAT and £743.00 in court costs by fee remission.

Subtotal costs: £26,686.43

On top of the costs certificate there is:

  • £2,563.24 (= £583.74 + £1,872.50 + £107.00) interest.
  • The unless order of £6,722.00.

Total costs: £35,971.67.

Perjury

When Kirkegaard was served the final costs certificate it had to have his home address on it. He disclosed his supposed home address to the High Court on his claim form and this is what my solicitor copied on September 8 2021 – I checked this address and found he had lied to the court where he lives in Denmark; he did this under oath meaning he committed perjury. By the time I informed my solicitor about this Kirkegaard was pro se, but it reflects badly on Samuels Solicitors who did not bother to check the accuracy of the claim form he filled in on December 7 2018. The description by Kirkegaard of his job on the form as a “data scientist” is also dubious (he’s never provided reliable evidence for this employment) and his alma mater told him to remove exaggerations about himself being a scientist from his social media pages.

Screenshot of claim form Emil Kirkegaard filled in, falsely claiming he lives at another address (blanked above but the address can be read on the final costs certificate). The wrong address is publicly posted on Kirkegaard’s OpenPsych website (screenshot) so it is not private and I am not doxing. He may have formerly lived there (now occupied by Victor Kirkegaard, who I presume is his father) but Emil has lived at another address (screenshot) in Denmark at least a year before filing the lawsuit; there are public Danish records I have seen confirming this.

In contempt of court

Kirkegaard missed the deadline to pay my legal costs on October 12 2021 and is in contempt of court for noncompliance of a costs order. On January 20 2022, I began legal proceedings in Denmark to enforce the judgment from High Court of Justice (Smith v Kirkegaard). There are two costs orders Kirkegaard has breached and not paid (£6,722.00 + £26,686.43); these will need to be converted from pound to krone in the Danish Court, with £2,563.24 interest and post-judgment interest (see below). An EU international treaty* means some High Court of England and Wales judgments are enforceable in Denmark including Kirkegaard v Smith.

*The Brussels I Regulation (recast) was implemented by Denmark in 2013 (despite Brexit, it still continues to apply to enforcing judgments given in High Court of England and Wales legal proceedings that started on/before December 31 2020). There is possibly a separate international treaty the judgment can be enforced under – the Hague Convention.

I spent the following on legal costs:

  • £27,000.00 from December 7 2018 to December 11 2019.
  • £22,906.12 from December 12 2019 to May 21 2020.
  • £5,437.16 spent on drafting the bill of costs and costs assessment.

Total: £55,343.28.

The following sums are recoverable:

  • £20,125.60 of £27,000.00 (77%).
  • £19,317.52 of £22,906.12 (84%).
  • £5,437.16 of £5,437.16 (100%).

Subtotal: £44,880.28.

Interest and additional payment Kirkegaard owes me:

  • £1,931.75 additional payment.
  • £2,563.24 interest.

Total: £49,375.27 (89%)

On October 19 2021, I managed to recover £13,403.60 of my costs after my complaint to the Legal Ombudsman was a success; only outstanding is the debt Kirkegaard owes (£35,971.67).

Accruing post-judgment interest

He is accruing 8% per annum post-judgment interest* on the final costs certificate:

  •  £2,134.91 = £177.90 each month/£5.84 each day (since October 12 2021).

*Judgments Act 1838, §17.