In contrast to the position in the United States and many other common law jurisdictions, the English Courts make very little material available online. For a discussion of these issues generally see the UKSCBlog here.
The wide interest in the case of British Chiropractic Association v Singh, which was heard by the Court of Appeal on 23 February 2010, makes it especially important to gather all the relevant materials together so that interested readers can form their own views as to the issues. As we have said on several occasions, this is not a case about “scientific debate” it is – like all libel cases – a case about the meaning of word. The question is whether the words which were published make a defamatory allegation about the claimant and if so, what kind of allegation and how the maker of the allegation is entitled to defend himself. The law seeks to balance the expression rights of the writer against the reputation rights of the person written about: in the end it is a question of balance. How that balance is to be reached depends, in each case, on looking carefully at what was said and on the nature of the “defences” being advanced.
In order to fully understand a case of this kind, a reader will need at least five sets of documents – three of which we are able to make available:
The Statements of Case: Particulars of Claim, Defence and Reply – these are not available
The first instance judgment of Mr Justice Eady (not available on the usual “case sites” but has been available on the web for some time).
The Grounds of Appeal – these are not available.
The Skeleton Argument of the Appellant, Simon Singh (made available here for the first time)
The Skeleton Argument of the Respondent, the BCA (made available by us last week).
In addition we have been sent a copy of the Court of Appeal hearing transcript – which shows the points which shows the line of questioning pursued by the members of the Court and how the two Counsel dealt with it.