Tuesday, September 17, 2013
From the Guardian: the British Ministry of Justice has issued proposals that would cut the cost of pursuing libel actions for plaintiffs considerably by ensuring that if they lose, they would only have to pay their own attorneys' costs, instead of all lawyers' fees. The Ministry is currently accepting comments (through its website) until November 8, 2013).
Reaction has been mixed. Here's the Libel Reform Campaign page. Some commentators believe the proposals, if implemented, will have a "chilling effect" on speech, because plaintiffs will feel free to file lawsuits; they would only have to pay their own fees if they lose. Currently, they have to pay both sides' fees.
Meanwhile, legislative refusal to give effect to the new Defamation Act in Northern Ireland has raised fears that that part of the UK will become a new "libel tourism capital." More here from the Guardian.