UK libel reform – a view from Australia – Tom Westbrook

31 03 2011

The UK Secretary of State for Justice, Kenneth Clarke recently released his government’s Draft Defamation Bill.

The draft bill, which is accompanied by a consultation paper, proposes significant reforms to English (and Welsh) libel law that would make it more difficult to sue for defamation. Read the rest of this entry »

Libel, Blackmail and Anonymity: ZAM – the super injunction that never was

31 03 2011

An article by David Leigh in yesterday’s “Guardian” entitled “Superinjunction scores legal first for nameless financier in libel action” led to a flurry of online discussion about the case of ZAM v CFW. This is a case in which – as we discussed in a post earlier this month – Mr Justice Tugendhat granted an interim injunction to restrain the publication of defamatory allegations and also made an anonymity order.  The online interest was generated because, in his article, David Leigh wrongly described the order as a “novel extension of controversial super injunctions“.   Read the rest of this entry »

Defamation Update: Part 2 – Heather Rogers QC

30 03 2011

This is the second part of a three part post dealing with the key libel cases over the last twelve months or so in England and Wales.  Part 1 was posted on 29 March 2011.

The fiction at the heart of defamation claims: the “single meaning rule”

In order to work out whether a publication is defamatory, it is necessary to work out what it means. The world of defamation is run on the basis of the “single meaning rule”: Read the rest of this entry »

Statements in Open Court in Privacy and Malicious Falsehood Actions

30 03 2011

Recent “Privacy” Statement in Open Court

The 55th Update to the Civil Procedure Rules, which comes into force on 6 April 2011 makes an important change to the provisions relating to “statements in open court”. At present, the right to apply to make such a statement before or after the acceptance of a Part 36 offer or other offer to settle is only available in when a party in relation to a claims for libel and slander (PD 53, para 6.1). Under the amended practice direction two further subparagraphs are added to cover malicious falsehood and privacy claims (see the PD Update document).
Read the rest of this entry »

News: Conditional Fees – the Government Responds to the Consultation

29 03 2011

The Government has published its “Response to proposals for reform of civil litigation funding and costs in England and Wales”. It has decided to implement the reforms to no win no fee conditional fee agreements (CFAs), proposed as a package of measures by Lord Justice Jackson.   Under these proposals “success fees” and “After the Event” (ATE) insurance premiums will no longer be recoverable from the other party to litigation.  Instead, any success fee will be paid by the CFA funded party.  Read the rest of this entry »

Defamation Update: Part 1 – Heather Rogers QC

29 03 2011

Libel reform is in the air.  The Government’s Draft Defamation Bill was released on 15 March 2011.  The purpose of this post, which will be three parts, is to note some of the key cases over the last twelve months or so in England and Wales.

Defamation claims – some data

The number of libel claims started in 2009 was 298, up 15 from 284 in 2008. The Read the rest of this entry »

News: Awdry Bailey & Douglas v Kordowski – another “Solicitors from Hell” case

29 03 2011

Summary judgment was entered yesterday against Mr Rick Kordowski in another “Solicitors from Hell” case yesterday.  The Devizes firm of Awdry, Bailey and Douglas and the head of its family law department, Adrian Bressington, applied for summary judgment and to strike out Mr Kordowski’s defence.  Read the rest of this entry »

Analysis: Schoolboy scandals and defamation in South Africa. Quo vadis? – Dario Milo and Greg Palmer

28 03 2011

The recent South African Constitutional Court judgment involving a schoolboy prank and the computer manipulation of their headmaster and deputy head, has raised some very tricky issues around laws of defamation. Dario Milo and Greg Palmer, who represented the “Klofies three” examine the judgment. Read the rest of this entry »

Law and Media Round Up – 28 March 2011

28 03 2011

In this regular feature we draw attention to the last week’s law and media news and next week’s upcoming events. If readers have any news or events which they would like to draw attention to please add them by way of comments on this post.


Liberal Democrat MPs continue their parliamentary activity in the field of media law.   On 17 March 2011,  John Hemming MP – who recently disclosed information covered by a High Court injunction Read the rest of this entry »

Freedom of Information Blogs and Websites

27 03 2011

Issues concerning access to government information are important for the media and of increasing concern to media lawyers.   The right to receive information is an integral part of the right to freedom of expression and the two are expressly linked in most international human rights instruments. Read the rest of this entry »