Libel capital of the world is no badge of honour
Addressing the Society of Editors today, Lord Chief Justice, Lord Judge commented on the current debate around the need for reform of libel laws. He said he was not impressed by the number of libel cases winging their way to the High Court and being dubbed the libel capital of the world was no badge of honour for London. He said that forum shopping had no appeal and that as is the case with criminal proceedings, if a crime is committed in one city or region then it should be tried there and not thousands of miles away because a legal system entertains it.
Lord Judge also criticised the ever controversial conditional fee arrangements (CFAs) that are being exploited by celebrities to bring risk-free legal actions against the press, thereby gagging free speech. Although not going into the specific Trafigura case involving the Guardian, he did express concern over the latest incarnation of the ‘super injunction’ and the effect that had on the democratic process.
More on CFAs:
Presure to change unfair CFA regime
Plans announced to cut defamation costs
Big win big fee placing unjust pressure on the press