The new “serious harm” test for libel in England and Wales has discouraged frivolous claims, say campaigners: but with the Scottish Parliament refusing to adopt most reforms in the 2013 Defamation Act, Scotland is now being used as a back door for libel action, they say. The Glasgow Herald has complained of a “chilling effect on press freedom”. Read more
Publishers could have to pay costs for both sides in defamation cases even if they win, if Section 40 of the Crime and Courts Act 2013 is enacted. Along with “no win, no fee” actions, this could have a severely chilling effect on the ability of regional publishers to defend actions, says the HoldTheFrontPage law column. It could be challenged on human rights grounds, it says. Read more
Saying someone is gay is unlikely to be libellous these days, but it could be a breach of privacy under the Editor’s Code – especially if it’s not true, as one Sunday paper found. The fact that a priest told a journalist he refuted the claims did not necessarily mean he was willing to have his denial made public, Ipso found. Read more
The press regulator IPSO began work on a low-cost arbitration scheme to handle complaints about libel and privacy in June 2015 – through the Leveson Report said any scheme should be free for complainants. Read more
A review of changes to media law in 2014 has been published by HoldTheFrontPage. It addresses defamation and the uncertainty over the public interest test, as well as data protection. Read more
Note: this story was uploaded to Media Law Matters before the implementation of the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation directive, which toughens up data protection law, from May 2018.
A 23% rise in reported defamation cases in the UK is partly due to material published through social media and websites, says Roy Greenslade in his Guardian column. Read more