03 May 2013 at 07:32 BST

NI libel laws need reform, says Tweed.

Defamation lawyers in Northern Ireland are campaigning to be allowed to take on libel cases on a 'no win, no fee' basis.

No libel here Janaka Dharmasena

The calls to shake up the law to allow more cases to go to court comes as the number of libel writs issued drops to an all time low–only 41 libel writs were issued between January 2012 and March 2013. Unlike the Republic of Ireland and the rest of the UK, no win no fee cases are not allowed in NI.
The group, which is headed up by Mr Justice Gillen, includes campaigners such as Paul Tweed, the man who is branded the ‘Red Adair’ of libel. 

Poor cost awards

Mr Tweed, who has represented celebrities such as Liam Neeson, Britany Spears, Jennifer Lopez and Harrison Ford,  told the Belfast Telegraph that the level of legal costs awarded by the NI courts was not enough to cover the complex work involved in successful libel actions.
‘The fact is that unless you have money you cannot bring a defamation action in Belfast,’ he told the Telegraph.


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