Libel Law

Libel law is about defamation. American libel law was weakened very considerably to protect politicians and such like. The French privacy law is there to protect the guilty i.e. those who make the law in the first place. English libel law was grossly repressive - in order to protect the rich & the powerful. Now, after considerable abuse by Libel Tourists it has been made more reasonable. As I write in 2015 the Freedom of Information law is being weakened in order to assist corrupt abuses of power. 

Woman Perverts Libel Law After Being Stitched Up By The News Of The Screws
'Lady' Hollins got extensively lied about by the News Of The World so she put an amendment before Parliament to rob anyone who gets sued for Libel, especially if they are not guilty. The Press Complaints Council was worthless. See e.g. Private Eye 1432/11. Her own initiative or somebody else's malice?


Richard Rampton gave rise to the Lucas-Box Rule - He represented Associated Newspapers Group plc in Lucas-Box v News Group Newspapers Ltd; Lucas-Box v Associated Newspapers Group plc and others. This case produced the "Lucas-Box meaning" whereby under modern libel practice a defendant must set out in his/her statement of case the defamatory meaning s/he/it seeks to prove to be essentially or substantially true.[3][4]


Pre-action Protocol for Defamation
Is designed to speed things up apparently. It mentions, an advertising prospectus.
Run time comment on a libel claim by comedians who allege that they knew nothing about Pakistani Perverts in Rotherham.


Defamation Act 2013 ex Wiki 
Is there to prevent abuse over trivia by corrupt lawyers and libel tourists. They have to prove actual or probable serious harm.
The Defamation Act 2013 (c 26) is an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom, which reformed English defamation law on issues of the right to freedom of expression and the protection of reputation. It also comprised a response to perceptions that the law as it stood was giving rise to libel tourism and other inappropriate claims.

The Act changed existing criteria for a successful claim, by requiring claimants to show actual or probable serious harm (which for-profit bodies is restricted to serious financial loss), before suing for defamation in England or Wales, setting limits on geographical relevance, removing the previous presumption in favour of a trial by jury, and curtailing sharply the scope for claims of continuing defamation (in which republication or continued visibility comprises ongoing renewed defamation). It also enhanced existing defences, by introducing a defence for website operators hosting user-generated content (provided they comply with a procedure to enable the complainant to resolve disputes directly with the author of the material concerned or otherwise remove it), and introducing new statutory defences of truth, honest opinion, and 'publication on a matter of public interest' or privileged publications (including peer reviewed scientific journals), to replace the common law defences of justification, fair comment, and the Reynolds defence respectively. However, it did not quite codify defamation law into a single statute.[3][4]

The Defamation Act 2013 applies to causes of action occurring after its commencement on 1 January 2014;[5] old libel law will therefore still apply to many 2014 - 2015 defamation cases where the events complained of took place before commencement.
The old, bad law still applies in Ireland where it is open to abuse by Paisley. See Private Eye 1391/13 - Internet Legal Developments For 2014
Some might be good.


ECHR Rules On Websites' Comments -
ECHR chooses to allege that on line publishers are responsible for comments posted by outsiders.


Taking Action about Defamation
Reasonable overview. Lawyer marketing the product.


American Libel Law Is Dead
There’s virtually no law of libel in the United States. The Supreme Court abolished it in order to prevent the Press and the Civil Rights movement from being sued for lying about the South. The FCC abandoned the unconstitutional “Fairness Doctrine” years ago. (Efforts to revive it are called, with good reason, the “Hush Rush Law.”)
The law is a political tool, a weapon that has been abused too much, too long.


Gutnick v Dow Jones - Defamation on the Internet
The Gutnick Case
The Gutnick conflict arose when, on 28 October 2000, Dow published on its financial journal and news service entitled Barron’s Online (Barron’s)[11] an article, ‘Unholy Gains’, in which the author, William Alpert (Alpert), alleged irregularities in Gutnick’s business dealings with religious charities and with a convicted criminal, Nachum Goldberg.

Gutnick decided to sue Dow only in relation to that part of the article which portrayed him as Goldberg’s abettor. The article, he claimed (its words, as well as the accompanying photograph, showing him and Goldberg together), imputed that he “was masquerading as a reputable citizen when he was a tax evader who had laundered large amounts of money through Goldberg, and bought his silence”.[12] Significantly, too, Gutnick narrowed his claim to Victoria, his home state, where the article could have been accessed by Barron’s subscribers, including brokers and financial advisers[13] – i.e. the circle of people in which his reputation was likely to be damaged by Alpert’s allegations. And – most contentiously, it appears – the plaintiff lodged his claim in a Victorian court.[14] Supreme Court of Victoria – 2001 Proceedings In Australia, an overseas defendant may – by entering a conditional appearance – ask the court to decline to exercise its jurisdiction. That means that by appearing in the Supreme Court of Victoria (VSC), Dow did not automatically submit to that jurisdiction.[15] This is important, because, indeed, Barron’s publisher undertook to dispute Victorian jurisdiction, arguing that the online article was not published in Victoria but in New Jersey, where Dow’s web server was located.[16]

Supported by affidavits submitted by its selected experts, the defendant asserted that it had no control over the users who might request to extract a particular article from its server. However, in his decision made on 28 August 2001, Justice Hedigan remarked that such an assertion was not “wholly accurate”, [17] as Dow had – intentionally – programmed its computers to ensure that only password holders, whose accounts had been paid up, could access its website. It was, therefore, not an innocent disseminator. [18]

Since, under the common law, in all Australian jurisdictions, “defamatory matter is published in each place in which it is read, seen (…) heard” [19] and comprehended, Hedigan J concluded that Alpert’s article had been published in Victoria. Consequently, he found the State of Victoria to be an appropriate and convenient forum to try the dispute and to entertain the proceedings. [20]


Science Writer Wins Important Victory Against Bad Law In Libel Case [ 1 April 2010 ]
Science writer Simon Singh today took a major step towards defeating a libel action brought against him by a group of chiropractors. The Court of Appeal handed him the right to use the defence of 'fair comment' over an opinion piece Mr Singh wrote in the Guardian in April 2008 suggesting there was a lack of evidence for the claims some chiropractors make on treating certain childhood conditions, including colic and asthma. He was accused of defamation by the British Chiropractic Association (BCA), which alleged that Mr Singh had in effect accused its leaders of knowingly supporting bogus treatments.

In a preliminary ruling in the dispute at the High Court last May, Mr Justice Eady held that Mr Singh’s comments were factual assertions rather than expressions of opinion and, as such, he would have been forced to prove it was his assertion were true or use the defence of responsible journalism.

Today, however, the Lord Chief Justice Lord Judge, Master of the Rolls Lord Neuberger and Lord Justice Sedley ruled that Mr Justice Eady had “erred in his approach”, and allowed Mr Singh’s appeal. The result means he needs only to prove that it was reasonable for him to hold the opinions he does, that the subject was in the public interest and they were based on fact.
Private Eye does not like Eady J. They have crossed his path too often. Nor did the very senior judges of the Appeal Court, not in public at all events. English libel law is grossly oppressive even with a reasonable judge.


Responsible Journalism
Lord Hoffman says that responsible journalism is a defence in Libel actions. Eady J did not concur. See 1256/5


Invasion Of Privacy Costs Mirror £28 Million
More than £1 million in damages has been awarded to celebrities including Paul Gascoigne and Sadie Frost over phone-hacking by Mirror Group Newspapers. The ex-England footballer was awarded £188,250 in damages at the High Court and actress Frost received £260,250. Lawyers for phone-hacking victims claimed today's payouts, totalling around £1.2 million, were "unparalleled"..........

James Heath, of Atkins Thomson, said: "The judge found that phone hacking by Mirror Group's newspapers was widespread, institutionalised and long standing. He found there to be intrusion into the private lives of the claimants, which ranged from 'serious' to 'enormous'.
Justice comes at a price. It is a rich man's luxury. The lawyers made far more out of this than the aggrieved.


Libel Law To Be Made Less Oppressive [ 13 May 2012 ]
A law to end ‘libel tourism’ and protect free speech will be published today. The Defamation Bill will shake up antiquated libel laws to prevent wealthy individuals and corporations – often based abroad – using courts here to silence critics. In recent years London has become the libel capital of the world. Critics say this is because existing regulations favour claimants and that the very high costs involved in defending a claim mean many publications are forced to settle out of court, even when they believe what they published was true. In an attempt to end trivial claims, future claimants will have to show that material has caused them ‘serious harm’...... Journalists will be allowed defences against defamation where they can show the material is based on ‘honest ­opinion’ or is in the public interest. And ­websites will be protected if they publish readers’ comments.
This is good news. The Main Stream Media will be pleased. So will people running little operations like this.


Parliament Making Bad Law To Protect Bad Men & Suppress Free Speech  [ 5 January 2017 ]
Section 40 of the Crime and Courts Act threatens the survival of journalism that exposed scandals such as Rotherham.

In the sound and fury surrounding the debate over regulation of the press, it is easy to lose sight of the many hoops that journalists already have to jump through to break the biggest stories................

Theresa May publicly praised The Times for its work on that case yet in the near future her government may enact legislation that would choke all future investigations. Those who claim that they seek to punish newspaper wrongdoers may instead succeed in muzzling us all, permanently. Lots of people hate journalists. To the far left we are the loathed lackeys of the capitalist MSM  (mainstream media); to the alt-right, a hated symbol of the liberal elite. Both extremes agree that we are all “lying scum”..............

I won’t rehash those. My concern, should the government trigger section 40 of the Crime and Courts Act 2013, is its likely impact on investigative journalism. Under section 40, any newspaper that declines “voluntarily” to join Impress would be forced to pay its opponent’s legal costs in any claim brought for libel or breach of privacy, even if it won the case...............

Since early 2011, The Times has published a series of articles about a hidden pattern of child sexual exploitation involving groups of men and young teenage girls in English towns and cities. We also addressed the repeated failure of child protection authorities in Rotherham to tackle the targeted grooming and pimping of children in the town.

For more than two years, the local council and South Yorkshire police remained in a state of almost complete denial [ Actually a determination to ignore wholesale Rape by Pakistani Perverts - Editor ]. The dam was breached in August 2013 when, on our front page, we told the story of one Rotherham girl and named a man, Arshid Hussain. We accused him of being a serial abuser of children. He had not even been questioned by police about such offending let alone charged with any offence.

The story triggered such outrage that it forced the council to order the independent inquiry by Professor Alexis Jay which found that 1,400 Rotherham girls were subjected to grotesque abuse from 1997 to 2013. It also prompted a criminal inquiry that led in early 2016 to Hussain’s conviction for multiple sex offences against under-age girls. He was jailed for 35 years but is seeking leave to appeal.
The Times exposed evil in Rotherham; the systematic evil of Pakistani Perverts imported by Her Majesty's Government. . This is HMG's response. Any criminal embarrassed by a newspaper with a lawyer running a case on speculation; No Win - No Fee will be able to screw the paper regardless. Lawyers will be there like flies on the proverbial. Shiner, a crooked shit on the make would have been happy to do it; he has already defrauded the tax payer out of millions using IHAT. But at the moment his real concern is staying out of prison.


Appeal Court Helps Chancers On The Make In Re Serious Harm [ 15 September 2017 ]
The Court of Appeal has for the first time considered the meaning and effect of the 'serious harm' test under s.1 of the Defamation Act 2013. The Court of Appeal's judgment in Lachaux v AOL & Ors [2017] EWCA Civ 1334 has held that the Claimant need only demonstrate that the alleged defamatory publication connote a "tendency" to cause serious harm to the Claimant's reputation, rather than it being more likely than not that the publication would cause serious harm.
Let's ignore Parliament and the Law. Serious Harm means what judges choose to claim. This one is a bad decision going to appeal.


Court of Appeal clarifies serious harm test in Lachaux libel judgment
That is their story. Believe it if you want. The Supreme Court might get it right.


Serious Harm Explained By The Judge After A Fashion
Less obscurantist than the previous two?




1. Law Blog - : Law and the Blogosphere

    "He began by saying that while there are few examples of libel lawsuits against ... at PBS picked up the story, along with The Wall Street Journal Law Blog, ..."

2. Law Blog - : Big Time U.K. Libel Ruling (Not Just Because ...

    "Big Time U.K. Libel Ruling (Not Just Because It Involves Us). Posted by Peter Lattman. wsj Britain’s top court sided with The Wall Street Journal Europe in ..."

3. Law lords give media shield against libel in landmark ruling ...

    "Five law lords unanimously overturned high court and appeal court libel judgments against the Wall Street Journal Europe in December 2003 and quashed ...",,1920159,00.html

4. House of Lords - Jameel and others (Respondents) v. Wall Street ...

5. Court voids Wall Street Journal libel verdict - Business ...

6. The top business news and economy articles from Yahoo! News

    "... about a possible merger with Barclays , the Wall Street Journal reported on Friday. ... Calif. farm sues Taco Bell for libel AP - Fri Mar 23, 5:22 AM ET ..."

7. OpinionJournal - Extra

8. Libel and Slander - News - Times Topics - The New York Times ...

    "Media column examines record $222.7 million libel award against Dow Jones & Co for article in its Wall Street Journal about MMAR Group Inc; ..."

9. Libel and Slander - News - Times Topics - The New York Times ...

    "Libel and Slander - Narrowed by 'WALL STREET JOURNAL EUROPE' RSS feed Libel and Slander - Narrowed by 'WALL STREET JOURNAL EUROPE' ..."

10. AOL sides with anonymous posters | Tech News on ZDNet

    "By Aaron Elstein, The Wall Street Journal Online ... been filed by individuals and companies against message-board posters alleging libel and defamation. ..."

11. Finers wins landmark libel ruling for Wall Street Journal - 11 ...

    "Finers Stephens Innocent and Doughty Street Chambers have won a landmark judgment in the House of Lords that redefines the Reynolds defence against libel ..."

12. The Scientology Problem - Wall Street Journal March 25, 1997

    "Wall Street Journal logo The Wall Street Journal Interactive Edition ... In 1996, a judge threw out the last count of the church's libel suit against Time, ..."

13. Jameel and Wall Street Journal Europe (Court of Appeal) - Press ...

    "The Court of Appeal has today upheld awards of libel damages of £30000 to Mohammed ... The Wall Street Journal Europe's appeal against the 19 December 2003 ..."

14. High Court in Britain Loosens Strict Libel Law - New York Times

    "6, 2002, in The Wall Street Journal and in its European edition, ... Under British libel law, newspapers being sued are required to prove the truth of the ..."

15. Adrian Monck online - News on the News Business

    "But today my university, City, is hosting a law seminar with the journalists behind the Wall Street Journal libel win that has changed our libel laws for ..."

16. Techdirt: Can Anyone Sue Any Online Publisher For Libel In The UK?

    "In this case, a Saudi Arabian businessman sued the Wall Street Journal over an ... he nor the WSJ are in London, the UK has much stricter libel laws. ..."

17. Media Entertainment Lawyers:: Bulletin Jameel Wall Street Journal ...

    "Media Entertainment Lawyers Jameel Wall Street Journal Europe House of Lords. ... company in that group, and its president Mohammed Jameel, sued for libel. ..."

18. Wall St Journal's online libel win brings 'much-needed clarity ...

    "Judges at the appeal court in London yesterday threw out a libel action against the Wall Street Journal's online publication because only five people in ...",3604,1405498,00.html

19. What exactly is the Wall Street Journal trying to say? - By Jack ...

    "The Wall Street Journal's opening coverage of the corporate shake-up at ... out and writing anything that 1) they can't prove and 2) invites a libel suit. ..."

20. Informed Comment

Errors & omissions, broken links, cock ups, over-emphasis, malice [ real or imaginary ] or whatever; if you find any I am open to comment.
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Updated on 08/01/2018 13:40