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Defamation claims up by 70% in 2018

Inforrm, the leading independent media law blog, reported last week that judicial statistics for 2018 show a 70% increase in the number of defamation claims issued.

265 defamation claims were issued in London in 2018, compared with 156 in 2017.  This is the second year in a row which has seen a dramatic increase, and the figures would tend to debunk the oft-repeated theory that the implementation of the Defamation Act 2013 and its ‘serious harm’ test have had a chilling effect on prospective libel claimants.  However, the decision in Lachaux v Independent Print Ltd and another [2019] UKSC 27, handed down last week, clarified the proper interpretation of the serious harm test and tilted the law back in favour of Defendants.  Claimants will now be required to establish serious harm by reference to specific facts, and not simply the meaning of the words complained of.  It remains to be seen if this will, belatedly, drive down the number of claims.

The absence of statistics for related causes of action such as misuse of private information and harassment by publication, means that wider sector trends remain elusive.


Click here to find out how Brett Wilson LLP defamation solicitors can assist you if you have been defamed or accused of defamation. 


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Articles are intended as an introduction to the topic and do not constitute legal advice.