The recently issued Ministry of Justice Royal Courts of Justice Tables for 2022 suggest that there has been a substantial decline in the number of defamation claims issued in London. They record that there were 233 issued defamation claims in 2022, a 60% decrease from the 2021 figure of 545 issued claims.
However, as we noted last year, the Royal Courts of Justice Tables appear to substantially over-state the number of defamation claims actually issued. On Inforrm’s analysis of issued claims in the Media and Communications list – based on data derived from HM Courts and Tribunals E-Filing Service – the 2022 figure for issued defamation claims was 130 and that for 2021 was 168.
The E-Filing Service (and Caseboard which uses it) provide details as to the solicitors instructed in each claim and the hearings which have taken place and, on the basis of our sampling, are substantially accurate. The Royal Courts of Justice Tables do not provide any underlying data for their raw figures. Our view is that the data derived from the E-Filing Service provides the best information as to the number of libel claims in fact issued and the MoJ data should be viewed with caution.
The MoJ tables were published on 1 June 2023 (the defamation figures are in Table 4.2) along with the “Civil justice statistics quarterly: January to March 2023“. The Civil Justice Statistics bulletin is published quarterly with additional data on the Royal Courts of Justice released annually in June each year and Privacy Injunctions released biannually (in March and September).
More details of defamation claims as recorded by the MoJ can be found in this table of 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|