In 2019 there were 323 defamation claims issued in London (where the large majority of defamation claims have traditionally been brought) as opposed to 265 in 2018 and 156 in 2017.
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 2020 (see Table 3.20).
The 2019 figure continues the upward trend which began in 2017. It suggests that the Defamation Act 2013 has not reduced 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 6 years after it came into force was 203.
A small proportion of the 2019 increase may be explained by the new CPR 53 which from 1 October 2019 required all defamation claims to be issued in the Media and Communications List in London (see our posts here and here) – meaning that in the last 3 months of the year claims which would previously have been issued in District Registries are now included in the statistics. However, this seems unlikely to account for the full increase.
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 (QB) Claims||£15-50k||£>50k||No Value Stated|
This post originally appeared on the Matrix Media website and is reproduced with permission and thanks.