Science fiction or science fact?

Science fiction or science fact?That science and new scientific developments are a vital part of our modern society is reflected in one of the changes brought in to defamation law, by the new Defamation Act 2013. We now have a shiny new state of the art defence of qualified privilege in relation to peer-reviewed material published in scientific or academic journals. Continue reading

Emergency injunction to stop the Queen…

Emergency injunction to stop the Queen…The press is not a big fan of injunctions. Except when it suits them that is. And today, it suits them.

This morning, representatives of the press are off to the High Court to seek an injunction to stop the sealing of the cross party Royal Charter on press regulation, which was due to take place today. Continue reading

London calling – Libel is still alive and kicking

A judge in the defamation court this week, struck out a libel claim brought by a former Russian policeman against a UK based fund manager, Mr Browder, in respect of an English language campaign website run by him. The case has been hailed as bringing to an end London’s proud boast of being the libel capital of the world. No longer, happily say the media, will claims be brought by foreigners seeking to take advantage of our libel laws to obtain vindication here. Continue reading

Royal Charter shenanigans

Royal Charter shenanigansLord Justice Leveson argued in his report on press ethics and standards that the press could not go on ‘marking its own homework’ and that what was needed was independent regulation. Continue reading

*Innocent face*

The court has today ruled in the libel case brought by Lord McAlpine against Sally Bercow, in his favour.

Last year the wife of the Commons Speaker had tweeted, ‘Why is Lord McApline trending? *Innocent face*’. While apologising to him privately, Ms Bercow had argued that the tweet was simply a neutral question as to why he was trending and did not imply anything in respect of Lord McAlpine. It may have been mischievous and foolish, but was not defamatory.

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Damaging a corporate reputation

In a competitive market place and particularly perhaps in times of economic difficulty, a company’s reputation may be its most valuable asset. But proposals in the Defamation Bill, currently working its way through Parliament, have sought to put a spanner in the works for company’s seeking to restore a damaged reputation through the libel courts. Continue reading

Headline libel? Read the small print

Headline libel? Read the small printOn Monday, the Daily Mirror ran with the prominent headline ‘Doctor Who Sex Scandal’ with an accompanying picture of Colin Baker, the sixth incarnation of the Doctor. This prompted a tweet from Mr Baker asking “Any lawyers tell me whether the front page of today’s Mirror is Actionable? Huge headline, pic of me and tiny line saying I’m not involved.’ Our own Rupert Cowper-Coles responded ‘the question at law is whether the bane of the libel (headline and photo of you) is cured by the antidote (‘not involved’ line)’. Continue reading

The £90,000 Tweet

On Monday 26 March 2012, judgment was handed down in the first ever Twitter libel trial in England. Mr Justice Bean awarded the New Zealand cricketer Chris Cairns £90,000 in a libel claim brought primarily on a tweet published by a former Indian cricket official, which alleged that Mr Cairns was involved in match-fixing. That an award of this level was made shows clearly that the High Court will treat libels published on social media with as much gravity as those in the traditional press. Continue reading