Judicial Statistics 2011: Number of defamation claims remains low

15 07 2012

The recently published “Judicial Statistics 2011” shows that the number of defamation claims has remained stable, near the low level of 2010.  In 2011 there were 165 issued defamation claims in London (where the large majority of claims are made) – as opposed to 158 in 2010 and 298 in 2009.

Examination of Lawtel (which notes most but not all cases in this area) suggests that during 2011 there were some 55 judgments in the Queen’s Bench Division or the Court of Appeal where one or more of the issues was an allegation of libel or slander.  This is not, of course, directly related to the number of cases issued in the year – as the large proportion of judgments will be in claims issued in earlier years.  The comparable figure for the first 6 months of 2012 is 20 judgments in cases which include a claim for libel or slander.

There is no separate record of the number of privacy and other claims against the media – they are, presumably included in the 542 “miscellaneous” claims issued.  The Ministry of Justice does now publish statistics on privacy injunctions (see our post here, identifying the cases).

There is an Excel table for all Queen’s Bench Division cases in 2011 – showing that, across the whole Division there were only195 trials concluded (with an average length of 3.6 days).

More details can be found in this table of defamation (and other) claims over the past 21 years – adapted from a table which was provided to us by Jaron Lewis of media solicitors RPC.

Defamation Actions

Year Claims issued in London (QB) Defamation Claims Issued in London % of all London (QB) Claims issued £15-50k £>50k No value stated
2011 4,726 165 3.49 28 61 76
2010 4,864 158 3.24 27 47 84
2009 5,694 298 5.23 52 62 184
2008 5,173 259 5.00 43 77 139
2007 4,794 233 4.86 43 45 145
2006 4,246 213 5.02 24 39 150
2005 3,841 252 6.56 43 70 139
2004 4,292 267 6.22 30 31 206
2003 3,514 190 5.41 22 15 153
2002 4,394 128 2.91 1 1 126
2001 5,122 220 4.30
2000 5,599 241 4.3
1999 10,317 236 2.29
1998 21,684 379 1.75
1997 23,411 452 1.93
1996 29,834 201 0.67
1995 31,737 560 1.76
1994 37,450 418 1.12
1993 56,567 336 0.59
1992 83,852 337 0.4
1991 114,904 Not available Not available
1990 127,082 Not available Not available

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3 responses

4 09 2012
Misreporting defamation research: no “drop in cases” and no Leveson effect « Inforrm's Blog

[…] (where the large majority of claims are made) – as opposed to 158 in 2010 and 298 in 2009 (see our post here).  In other words, there were slightly more claims in 2011 than in 2010 – but both years […]

19 09 2012
A dearth of data about defamation cases in England & Wales | Media law and ethics

[…] As noted above, the Ministry of Justice issues annual statistics about civil proceedings. However, it only records the outcome of cases in the Queen’s Bench overall (number of Summary Judgments, Judgment by Default, Trials, Interlocutory Applications for Master) (Excel doc, 2011). Presumably, these outcomes do not necessarily relate to the number of new claims issued for the reason noted above – they could include hearings of claims from one or more years previously. The only firm facts about defamation cases are the total number of claims issued in each claim value bracket (£15,000-£50,000 or over £50,000 or Unspecified). For a table showing the data for 1990-2011 see this post. […]

25 09 2012
A dearth of data about defamation cases in England and Wales – Judith Townend « Inforrm's Blog

[…] The Ministry of Justice issues annual statistics about civil proceedings. However, it only records the outcome of cases in the Queen’s Bench overall (number of Summary Judgments, Judgment by Default, Trials, Interlocutory Applications for Master) (Excel doc, 2011). Presumably, these outcomes do not necessarily relate to the number of new claims issued for the reason noted above – they could include hearings of claims from one or more years previously. The only firm facts about defamation cases are the total number of claims issued in each claim value bracket (£15,000-£50,000 or over £50,000 or Unspecified). For a table showing the data for 1990-2011 see this post. […]

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