Latest Judicial Statistics, 2019: Issued defamation claims up by 22%, highest number since 1998

19 06 2020

The most recent annual Judicial Statistics – those for 2019 – again show a substantial increase in the number of issued defamation claims.  These are up by 22% on 2018 and 107% on 2017.

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
2019 4,587 323 7.00 82 96 145
2018 4,439 265 6.00 48 196 21
2017 4,319 156 4.00 37 113 6
2016 4,123 112 3.00 42 60 10
2015 4,869 135 3.00 40 71 54
2014 5,417 227 4.00 52 119 56
2013 5,186 142 3.00 37 56 49
2012 5,549 186 3.00 65 60 61
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 4.30
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

This post originally appeared on the Matrix Media website and is reproduced with permission and thanks.


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