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Defamation Law - News

Heres are some tidbits of news on Defamation law.
  • May 2001 A challenge to the UK's libel laws has been ruled admissible by the European Court of Human Rights. John McVicar, who lost a libel action brought by the sprinter Linford Christie, asserts that the fact that the defendant has the burden of proof breaches his right to freedom of speech, and a fair trial. In a fair trial, it is for the claimant to prove his case. The case will now go forward to a full determination. He also argues that the unavailability of legal aid in such actions breaches his right to freedom of speech. I suspect that he may well succedd on the first point, and fail on the second. We shall see.

    This all goes back to the very history of the law of defamation, when the idea that freedom of speech had an intrinsic value would have seemed very strange indeed. Times have moved on,and the law has not. Even so, there is clearly some value in asking somebody who prints an allegation to be called upon to prove what he asserts if he wishes to risk the reputation of others.

  • New Pre-action Protocol - March 2001 A new pre-action protocol has been agreed for defamation actions. It can be obtained from the Court service web-site at or
Important: Please note that our law-bytes are retained for archival purposes only. The law changes, and these notes are often, now, out of date. You must take direct advice on your own personal situation and the law as it currently stands.
All information on this site is in general and summary form only. The content of any page on this site may be out of date and or incomplete, and you should not not rely directly upon it. Take direct professional legal advice which reflects your own particular situation.
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18 October 2013 440 18 October 2013