We have belatedly caught up with the most recent annual Judicial Statistics [xls] – those for 2012. These show a slight increase in the number of issued defamation claims, up 13% from 2011. In 2012 there were 186 issued defamation claims in London (where the large majority of claims are made) – as opposed to 165 in 2011.
These figures suggest that the sharp decline in the number of defamation actions between 2009 and 2010 (298 to 158) may have reversed, although the 2012 figure is still below the average number of claims for the previous 10 years (216 a year).
Examination of Lawtel (which notes most but not all cases in this area) suggests that during 2012 there were some 53 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. This number is similar to that in 2011 (55).
There is no separate record of the number of privacy and other claims against the media – they are, presumably included in the 594 “miscellaneous” claims issued. The Ministry of Justice does now publish statistics on privacy injunctions (see, most recently, Nick Wilcox’s post on the January to June 2013 figures)
There table for all Queen’s Bench Division cases in 2012 shows that across the whole Division there were only 217 trials concluded (with an average length of 3.7 days).
More details can be found in this table of defamation (and other) claims since 1992 – adapted from a table which was provided to us by media solicitors RPC.
|Year||Claims issued in London (QB)||Defamation Claims Issued in London||% of all London (QB) Claims issued||£15-50k||£>50k||No value stated|