04 September 2012

Fall in UK defamation cases post-Leveson

The number of reported defamation court cases in the UK plummeted 15 per cent last year, according to a study released yesterday.

Imogen Thomas: defamation claim

The research by legal information provider Sweet & Maxwell revealed that the number of defamation cases dropped from 84 to 71 for the year ending May 2012.

Commenting on the figures, Korieh Duodu, partner at media law firm David Price Solicitors and Advocates and author of ‘Defamation: Law, Procedure and Practice’ said that public scrutiny following  the phone hacking scandal was 'leading to a lower appetite for risk for some media outlets... Phone hacking has put journalistic standards under the microscope like never before.'

Legal tools

He added that the increasing use of privacy law by high-profile individuals could be another reason for the decline in defamation cases.  
'The use of privacy law by celebrities and other high profile individuals has certainly increased over the last few years, with individuals using these new legal tools to try and stamp out negative stories before they arise,' he said.

According to the research, there were just seven defamation cases this year involving celebrities – the lowest figure for five years. Those involved include former  Smiths frontman Morrissey, Big Brother contestant Imogen Thomas and Welsh singer Charlotte Church.

Email your news and story ideas to: news@globallegalpost.com