Misreporting defamation research: no “drop in cases” and no Leveson effect

4 09 2012

There has been widespread media misreporting of a press release setting out research by legal publishers Sweet and Maxwell.  According to this research “there were 71 defamation court cases in the 12 months up to 31 May 2012 – compared to 84 in the previous year.”   This has led to headlines along the lines of “Drop in defamation cases may be due to Leveson inquiry” (the Guardian), “Defamation cases down due to Leveson and privacy laws” (The Lawyer).  and “Defamation cases fall post Leveson” (the Financial Times).  But this is all highly dubious.  The figures do not show any “drop” in defamation cases actually brought or any “Leveson effect”. Read the rest of this entry »