Evidencing in court that a defamatory statement has caused harm to your reputation can be notoriously difficult. The courts in the UK have therefore traditionally proceeded on the basis that, where a statement is proven to be defamatory, harm is presumed, unless the defendant can prove otherwise. This approach was brought into doubt by the Defamation Act 2013 (the “Act”), … Continue Reading
Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales completes crowd-funding this week for his latest venture: Wikitribune, a news platform that, while not affiliated with Wikipedia, applies Wikipedia’s collaborative model to journalism. Wales intends to hire ten full-time journalists to work alongside the wiki community to author, fact-check and verify articles. This, he hopes, will provide a more reliable form of media and … Continue Reading
It is possible to set up anonymous websites with ease – but much harder to identify who is behind them. When such websites publish defamatory statements about you or your business, this can make life very difficult, particularly if you rely on clients finding you via online searches.
The High Court has recently granted … Continue Reading
The High Court has ruled that the strong public interest in the Court having before it all the relevant evidence outweighs individual rights to confidentiality.
The recent ruling comes as part of the so-called “Plebgate” incident involving an altercation between Conservative MP Andrew Mitchell, the Government Chief Whip at the time, and police officers on duty at Downing Street. Police … Continue Reading
Recently, there have been several developments in free speech protections in the United States and the United Kingdom. In a case of first impression in the U.S., the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals extended First Amendment freedom of speech protections from traditional media outlets to individual bloggers. Meanwhile, both the U.S. and the U.K. have adopted more speech protections to … Continue Reading
On 9 June 2014 – in an attempt to restore certainty to the ancient doctrine of parliamentary privilege – the Parliamentary Privilege (Defamation) Bill (the “Bill“) was introduced in the House of Lords on behalf of Lord Lester of Herne Hill, QC.
Website operators seeking to qualify for a defence to possible defamation claims in respect of comments published on their websites contained in the Defamation Act 2013 will have two days (subject to the courts’ discretion) to notify the authors of the comments of the complaint, under the recently published draft Defamation (Operators of Websites) Regulations 2013 (the “Regulations“), … Continue Reading
Two recent decisions – Karpov v Browder and others  EWHC 3071 (QB) and Subotic v Knezevic  EWHC 3011 (QB) – have dealt a blow to so-called ‘libel tourism’, that is, defamation actions in the English courts where there is only the most tenuous of links to the jurisdiction. It is well established that the Court is required to … Continue Reading
A recent defamation decision, Christopher McGrath v Independent Print Limited  EWCH 2202 (QB) provides some insight into the future availability of jury trials once the Defamation Act 2013 removes the presumption in favour of trial by jury in defamation cases.
The UK Government last week confirmed its view that the bar to local authorities suing for defamation remains intact.
Since the case of Derbyshire County Council v Times Newspapers and others  2 W.L.R. 449, it has been well-established that organs of government – both central and local – cannot sue for defamation. In his leading judgment in that case, … Continue Reading
At a preliminary hearing in the case of Fox v Boulter  EWHC 3183, the High Court considered the difference between a claim for defamation based on the “natural meaning” that words will have to an ordinary and reasonable reader, and a claim based on an “innuendo meaning”, which is only apparent to a reader who has knowledge of certain … Continue Reading