The most recent annual Judicial Statistics – those for 2017 – show a substantial increase in the number of issued defamation claims. These are up by 40% on 2016. In 2017 there were 156 defamation claims issued in London (where the large majority of claims are brought) as opposed to 112 in 2016 (and 135 in 2015).
The Ministry of Justice no longer publishes a separate annual “Judicial Statistics” bulletin but the figures can be now be found in the Royal Courts of Justice Tables [xls] which were published on 7 June 2018.
The 2017 figure reverses the downward trend of the previous two years and suggests that the Defamation Act 2013 has not had a significant impact on the number of claims brought. The average number of claims per annum in the 3 years before the Act came into force was 164 and the average for the 4 years after it came into force was 158.
There is no separate record of the number of privacy and data protection claims against the media – they are, presumably included in the 729 “miscellaneous” claims issued. Anecdotal evidence suggests that data protection claims against the media are on the increase but it is not possible to verify this from the official statistics.
The Ministry of Justice does now publish statistics on privacy injunctions which form part of the Civil Justice Statistics Quarterly and are published every 6 months. The most recent edition containing privacy injunction statistics is October-December 2017 [pdf]. We had a post about these statistics when they were published in March 2017
More details of libel claims can be found in this table of defamation (and other) claims since 1992 – adapted from a table which was originally provided to us by media solicitors RPC.
|Claims issued in London (QB)||Defamation Claims Issued in London||% of all London (QB) Claims issued||£15-50k||£>50k||No Value Stated|